The Central Bedfordsire Council leader’s monthly column
As the curtain has come down on the London 2012 Games we can all share in a huge sense of national pride that our country has risen to the challenge and has succeeded in putting on what can justifiably be called the greatest show on earth.
There is also enormous local pride in the achievements of Victoria Pendleton, our local Olympic Champion and silver medallist. We are looking at ways to mark her success.
Now that the athletes have done their bit and delivered performances to inspire a generation, the baton has passed to national and local government to make sure that the London 2012 Games really do leave a lasting legacy.
Promoting health and wellbeing is one of the council’s key priorities and we need to harness the upsurge of interest in sport in the months and years ahead. Before the Olympics, participation figures in Central Bedfordshire were fractionally above the national average of 22 per cent of adults taking part in sport and physical activity. It will be interesting to see how the Olympics affect that but as a council we must be ready to respond to interest from people of all ages – and particularly younger people.
We are already working on a leisure strategy to help increase take-up in sport and physical recreation - focusing on our leisure facilities, greater use of our countryside, supporting active lifestyles and improving public health.
The strategy will be closely linked with our emerging development strategy because it will plan provision in the context of new homes, negotiating with developers to fund new facilities that will help build healthy communities. Further details will emerge in the coming months and there will be a full public consultation that will give everyone the chance to shape our sporting future.
As well as our astonishing athletes recording the UK’s best performance in over a century, the amazing atmosphere of the Olympic Games owes much to the overwhelming support of the spectators and the volunteers who embraced their role as Games Makers.
London 2012 shone a spotlight on the importance of volunteering and the huge satisfaction gained by those involved. We already have a strong volunteering community in Central Bedfordshire – like the hundreds supporting our Village Care Schemes that help our older and vulnerable residents with day-to-day essentials like trips to the shops and doctors. However, these and other charity and community schemes will always benefit from more help. If the Olympic Games have inspired you to volunteer, contact your local volunteering centre to find out about opportunities in your community.
Time will tell if the London 2012 Games will deliver on their aim of inspiring a generation. Nationally and locally we need to build on the Olympic buzz – the sense of pride and identity, the enthusiasm of the volunteers and the interest in sport.
We now have a few weeks breathing space before the Paralympic Games begin at the end of August. During that time our next generation will receive the results of their GCSEs and A Levels and other qualifications. I wish all of our students the very best and whatever your ambitions, I hope you get the results that will take you a step further to fulfilling them.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Bedford
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West