Community Games returns home
A grassroots sport and cultural activities programme born in the West Midlands but rolled out nationally will be making a poignant pit stop home this week.
Community Games was launched back in June 2010 in the West Midlands as one of the main programmes of activity in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has already inspired communities to come together in parks, sports clubs and community centres across the country to hold community festival and sports days.
The programme was inspired by the unique Olympic heritage of the region, the Wenlock Olympian Games – which have been held annually since 1850 and were the inspiration behind the modern Olympic movement.
Now Community Games, which is delivered by the County Sports Partnership Network and the YMCA, reaches more than one million people each year, and attracts around 36,000 volunteers to help organise its 1,500 plus events.
This year to mark the one-year-anniversary of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Community Games is celebrating the legacy London 2012 has left behind in communities all over the country through the Community Games programme.
The Community Games Relay is re-tracing the steps the Olympic Torch took in England last year, and kicked off on May 19 in Land’s End.
It is shining a spotlight on each part of the country the Torch visited, 12 months on.
Today, on day 40 of the Relay, it arrives back in the West Midlands and the Birmingham Sport and Physical Activity Partnership (BSPAP) are marking the occasion.
The partnership is holding an event at the once derelict Walkers Heath Park in the south side of the city, which has been transformed from forgotten wasteland to a thriving part of community life – thanks to the Community Games programme.
Tomorrow the Relay heads to Coventry’s Transport Museum – which is where the Olympic Torch started its tour of the region.
A Community Games event will be held on the day with a host of sporting and cultural activities.
Each day of the Relay a Community Games volunteer called a ‘Shining Light’ is awarded for the role they have played in helping to keep the spirit of London 2012 alive through the programme.
Each Shining Light will be presented with a commemorative jersey. On day 70 of the Relay, July 27, all 70 Shining Lights will be invited to a special ceremony in London to celebrate the one-year-anniversary of the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Nikki Enoch, Programme Manager, said:
“It is brilliant to see Community Games returning to the West Midlands, where the programme was born.
From what started out as a small programme of sport and cultural activities, it is great to see how successful and popular it has become in helping to bring more than one million people together each year in the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Community Games Relay is a great way of recognising our fantastic volunteers and celebrating the one-year-anniversary of the Olympic Torch’s arrival in the West Midlands and reflect on the legacy the Games have left behind through Community Games.”