Community Games celebrates the inspiring personal journeys driving their volunteers
This summer, Community Games continues to recognise standout volunteers across England for the positive contribution they make to community life by announcing them as the Shining Light within their local communities. One exceptional volunteer will be rewarded with a once in the lifetime prize – four tickets to this summer’s biggest festival of sport, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Community Games is an Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy programme and delivered by the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) and the YMCA. It aims to inspire communities to come together through cultural and sporting events to keep the spirit and passion of London 2012 alive in their local area. An important part of this year’s celebration was honouring the volunteers working hard to make these Community Games events happen bringing together friends, family and neighbours together to create more active and happier communities.
To evaluate the regional Shining Light finalists, Community Games has assembled an esteemed panel of judges chaired by Dave Moorcroft, Olympian and Community Games ambassador and including Andrew Honeyman, head of Olympic and Paralympic legacy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Charles Runcie, the BBC head of sport for English regions. They will decide which of the finalists will receive the grand prize of Commonwealth Games tickets generously donated by England Athletics and a contribution to travel costs funded by Community Games.
Chris Jones, chief executive of England Athletics Chief Executive says:
“Community Games volunteers do a tremendous job of giving people opportunities to be involved in sport. We would like to thank each person who devotes their time, energy and expertise in this way and are pleased to be able to be a part of giving recognition to the contribution that they make.”
Commitment, a positive contribution to encouraging sport and exercise in the community and role model potential – these are the qualities the judges are looking for from the winner. And this year’s Shining Lights definitely tick all these boxes.
Lee Mason, chief executive of the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) says:
“Community Games Shining Lights highlight the fantastic influence local volunteers are having on community life through the sports and cultural events they enthusiastically organise. The motivating stories of these individuals show the spirit that is keeping the London 2012 Olympic legacy alive in our communities and will hopefully inspire others to take part in sport and activities for years to come.”
The reasons that drive the Shining Lights to volunteer for Community Games are many and varied. For some it’s a desire to share with others the benefits they’ve felt personally from sport.
Mat Power, 2014 Shining Light for Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent says:
“My enthusiasm for sport came from playing it just once. I was going through a bit of a rough patch at home and everything seemed like it was going against me when my friends invited me to take part in a college sport event. So I did. At that time playing sport made me happy and put a smile on my face; something I hadn't done in a while. Now, when putting on these events I can see the participants smiling and laughing. This is what makes me want to continue.”
For others, it’s about offering local people the opportunity to take part in events that they may not otherwise be able to experience.
Rolf Cooley, Cumbria’s Shining Light says:
“The Community Games event I organise is a children’s triathlon. Until three years ago, a child interested in triathlon would have to leave the county to compete in an event, travelling at least 100 miles in the process (and probably more). Our Community Games brings children’s triathlon into West Cumbria’s backyard.”
Whatever their reason, it's the volunteers ability to motivate communities and keep the spark of London 2012 alive that’s making Community Games such a success.
The winner of the national Shining Light grand prize will be announced on Monday July 21. For more information and help on how to run your own Community Games please visit www.communitygames.org.uk.