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Corona Cycle

Everything we do, we do for you. And we did it on two wheels, with a charity bike ride!  Our World in 2020 has been turned upside down with the pandemic of  coronavirus (Covid 19).  Of course, we have religiously clapped for the front-line workers, the NHS, who put their lives on the line day-in, day-out, for the health of the Nation.  To that end it was only correct that the first beneficiary from Stockport-businessman, Adrian Stores and Son, Kaya, pupil of Cheadle Hulme High School (Laurus) should be Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund (Critical Care Unit – and also Tree House Paediatric Unit [Registered charity number 1048661]).

As well as families and lives being decimated by the virus – individuals and communities nationwide have felt isolated and in fear of lockdown, as they anxiously await for some kind of normality to resume.  Volleyball clubs thoughout the Country have naturally ceased all activities, and we have witnessed the social-exclusion and damage to health and welfare, when for some volleyball is their escape and only social interaction in daily lives and routines.  The landscape has suggested that some clubs may never return from this challenge, as it was both unexpected and unprecedented for any organisation.  Thus, Volleyball England Foundation [Registered charity number 1138864] is the second beneficary.

Finally, continuing the theme of keeping it local, we have selected our very own, not for profit enterprise, Stockport Volleyball Club, started by Adrian and Kaya in 2015, as a recipient of an equal share of any funds.  It is one of the fastest growing clubs in the Country, uses four venues throughout the Borough, bringing exercise and recreation to children and adults of all ability, people of varying genders, ages and ethic origin.  A phenomenal ‘vehicle’ for bringing joy and structure in lives in Stockport and Manchester.

The monies raised were through Adrian Stores and Kaya Stores embarking on an estimated forty mile commitment (around 20 miles each) this Weekend. Neither are cyclists, so this ‘My Corona Challenge’ really was that, a challenge!

The route was topical and embraced a start at Cheadle Hulme School where our National Volleyball League (NVL) Men and Women train. From their we travel to The Seashell Trust. The locality where Stockport Volleyball all started in 2015, and still home to our comunity adults and juniors.  A bit of a trek follows to Edgeley Park (Home of Stockport County), a logical stop given its pivotal position as the main sporting venue in the Borough.  The challenge reaches its peak, at least in height, with an ascent up to 475 feet to Life Leisure’s Brinnington Park Leisure Comples, where our NVL and Local League Teams compete. Life Leisure was generous sponsor to the cycle ride.

Then on the homeward-straight via the ‘real heroes’, Stepping Hill Hospital, before completing the circuit where we started.

All proceeds, 100%, will be forwarded to the three beneficaries without any deduction for administration or transaction fees.  Do please remember every little really does help.  Still time to make a donation to these worthwhile causes.

Donate via: http://www.crowdscrum.co.uk/projects/my-corona-cycle/

Time for Change?

This Week, I was fortunate to be granted an invitation, to one of the workshops, on the new “Local Delivery Pilots” by Sport England. I was delighted to be accompanied by Client, Metro Swimming Club and local sports trust, Life Leisure, both from Stockport. Here I reflect on some lessons learned and deliberations having thought about the content and discussions.

For those unaware, as I guess many sports practitioners may be: Three or four location-based physical activity projects will be funded by Sport England in March 2017 as part of its local delivery pilot scheme. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s arms-length body has set aside £130m (US$162.2m, €153.5m) of Exchequer and National Lottery funding to encourage physical activity in specific areas over the next four years. A handful of pilot projects will be selected next spring before Sport England begins work on 10 further projects that will “require further development” during 2017.”

The outcomes that are sought from this changing regime are consistent with former hierarchies, namely: physical and mental well being, individual development, social and community development and economic considerations. There is no hiding from the fact that the prime objective remains trying to counteract the remaining substantial inactivity in populations in the United Kingdom (UK). Such inactivity also to recognise and affect the ‘under represented’ groups .

25.6% of us do less than 30 minutes of exercise a week. The under represented include evidence of: socio-economic shortcomings (i.e. higher = higher uptake), disability or impairment, with some additional variations by ethnicity and gender. Thankfully the new strategy starts with an evaluation of recognition that we are all ‘individuals’ with life cycle factors that impinge upon our uptake of exercise. The desire is to move more away from the treatment of markets as homogeneous groups or market segments without an acceptance of variations. ‘One size doesn’t fit all’. Taking this interpretation, naturally a geographical or spatial evaluation follows this same hypothesis. Hence, ‘local’ should in theory lead to better understanding and better results in sports strategy.

Unfortunately, many involved with sports will not have had the benefit of this workshop. Though, all clubs should be involved and try to understand when funding recipients are announced, how they might play a part in developmental plans. In addition, my opinion is that Sport England, should not ‘throw out the baby with the bath water’. The spokespeople announced that county sports partnerships (CSPs) would not expect to be applicants. In my opinion, they should be allowed to, as in some areas, not all, the CSP might be the best suited to create new models. In other areas, ‘localised’ could be a Borough-wide initiative. That same ‘baby’ might be wise to stay in place with adoption or growth of existing tactics that work. Witness for example, the Sportivate and I Wish I’d Tried in my Home Town of Stockport that has led to my successful projects of tacking inactivity and increasing sports participation in rugby and volleyball.

Sport England has announced that it seeks a ‘whole system approach’ with applications for funding to clearly illustrate: the individual, social environment, organisations, physical environment and policy. All to be expanded upon in the publication: “Sport England – Towards An Active Nation”. It remains to be seen if the funding decisions allow real innovation, as I feel is needed, and if decision makers have the cahoonas to award finance to new and inspirational ideas and new recipients in cases, rather than be influenced by ‘political’ motives and present ‘loudest voices’.

This could be a great opportunity for change – and I for one don’t want to be sat here in the next ten years’ describing once again how we are no further forward.

Make A Splash this Christmas

Just take a minute to consider how you can actually help a local club to try and achieve its dreams of making the Olympics in Rio next Year. Stockport Metro Swimming Club has just launched a fundraising appeal to help bring in the necessary money to take its talented and aspiring athletes to a dedicated training camp in the New Year.  The campaign is live NOW and will run until 3rd January 2016 only, by which stage the minimum target of £2,400 has to be pledged.

Coach, Richard Blackshaw said:

“This Appeal is to help our swimmers attend a 4 week training camp based in Pretoria, South Africa. This camp is a specific Altitude camp and will allow the swimmers to make a physiological adaptation that can make a huge difference at International levels where 100th of a second divides 1st from 4th. Training at altitude is impossible within our own Country hence the reason to travel to countries abroad.”

Stockport Metro has enjoyed a long history of podium success across all age groups at County, Regional, National and International levels, breaking countless British and Commonwealth records. Since moving to Grand Central Pools fourteen athletes have qualified for the Olympic Games, and the Club has produced four Olympic medallists, making it the most successful in British history.

As with all sports, reward is measured on performance and following the London 2012 Olympics the governing body suffered funding cuts, the cuts have been significant and since 2012 Stockport Metro funding has been cut until in 2015 we are no longer receiving any funding at all – which in the past has enabled our athletes to have the best environment and attend altitude camps.

All the successful athletes in its history attended altitude training camps during their 4 year Olympic cycles. Steve Parry and Graeme Smith both won bronze medals in Athens and Atlanta respectively. Adrian Turner was a semi-finalist in Atlanta. James Goddard, a Commonwealth Triple gold medallist, narrowly missed out on a medal in Athens.

Five Metro swimmers competed in Beijing: Keri-Anne Payne who took the silver in the inaugural 10K Marathon Open Water event, Cassie Patten took the bronze in the same event, Michael Rock, James Goddard and David Carry. A further five Metro swimmers competed in the London 2012 games, Keri-Anne Payne, Michael Rock, David Carry, James Goddard and Sophie Allen.

Stockport Metro’s key objective is to develop the next generation of World Class Athletes and give them the opportunity to be successful on the senior international stage. With the current group of swimmers coming through the pathway times are extremely exciting. If anyone watched the recent European Championships in Baku, seeing Holly Hibbott, aged only 15, becoming Champion in the 800 freestyle beating the best of Europe or Katie Matts winning a Bronze at the World Junior Championships in Singapore will have seen the potential and what an outstanding achievement it was, but the ambition, philosophy or track record is not to produce successful junior athletes but to produce successful senior athletes. Metro seek to achieve this with your help. Holly and Katie are but two of the talents among the British National Champions of 2015. Director of Performance, Sean Kelly, former Head Coach of the Stockport ITC, has been on the GB coaching team for the past two Olympic Games. He is one of the most successful coaches in British history in terms of podium success, and has twice been honoured with the GB Coach of the Year award.

The Fundraising Appeal is being conducted on the website link: https://uk.sponsorise.me/en/project-stockport-metro

Donations are being accepted from as little as £1 so everyone can help the cause.  For donations, each person will receive a range of exciting rewards including: messages from our swimmers on social media, personalised letters from a swimmer, signed swimming caps, signed t-shirt, entry to a select raffle, personalised tuition with a member of the Stockport Metro Performance Squad, advert in the events programmes for a full twelve months or all of the above.

Please contribute whatever you can – or maybe make a donation instead of buying and sending out Christmas Cards this Year or you can even buy one of the superb offerings as a present. 

Let’s put Stockport on the map again in Rio.

Note to Editor:

  1. Photo of Fundraising Appeal website at Sponsorise.Me (web site address: https://uk.sponsorise.me/ enclosed)
  2. More information: Julie Bennett, Swimming Development Manager 07919 004070
  3. Anyone interested in sponsoring Stockport Metro can contact adrian@fcsportsmarketing.com

Christmas Cheer – Come On County

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is for YOU and your Family, Friends and Contacts to go to http://www.littleorangechristmastree.co.uk/stores-family/ and click. PLEASE.

For every response @StAnnsHospice will get between 10 and 50 pence! x ‪#‎LOCT‬ A beneficiary that we have previously supported and worthwhile, local cause.  Come on County!