Seven years after the announcement of London as the successful host city the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is now just four days away and will be followed by a spectacle of sport for everyone to enjoy. However the question remains about how this fantastic opportunity is realised as a legacy that will benefit the whole country for generations to come.
The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, run by national charity Fields in Trust, aims to safeguard outdoor recreational spaces in perpetuity to ensure that communities will always have access to places for sport and play to mark the great events of 2012. Parks, playing fields and playgrounds continue to be threatened by development and, without these spaces, participation levels in all kinds of physical recreation would be severely reduced.
The Duke of Cambridge is Patron of the Challenge and is committed to the importance of outdoor spaces: ‘We take it for granted that children like to run and to play games and most people agree that leaving children to be cooped up inside all day is bad for them. If we are serious about that, then we must be serious about preserving the fields and parks on which children can play. If parks and fields continue to disappear at the rate at which they have done for the past few decades, many communities will have nowhere for their young people to enjoy. Some of my happiest memories as a child were those times I spent outside playing games, and I think that is true for most people’.
Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust said ‘Parks and playing fields are often the place where are elite sports people first identify their talent. As well as ensuring the general health and well-being of the nation by giving everyone the chance to participate in healthy outdoor activities, these spaces are also the first stepping stone towards sporting success. Without access to local facilities we face the possibility of a decline in the diversity of home grown athletes and sports people.’
This is echoed by The Duke of Cambridge who is also an Ambassador to the London 2012 Games ‘As we cheer on athletes at the Olympic Games, we should remember how so many of them started their career on local green spaces.’
Delivery of this wide ranging legacy programme was made possible by the support of Asda and the Asda Foundation. Paul Kelly, External Affairs Director at Asda said ‘Asda shares Fields in Trust’s commitment to ensuring 2012 brings lasting benefit to communities across the UK and so we are proud to have worked in partnership to deliver a programme that will give opportunities for participation in sports and activities well beyond the Olympic Games’.
For further information please contact:
Helen Griffiths, Director of Communications at Fields in Trust on 07946 188 371, 0207 427 2112 email@example.com or Kathryn Cook, Communications Manager on 07931 392 176; 0207 427 2117; firstname.lastname@example.org
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The toolkit is a one stop guide to help you ensure the success and sustainability of your outdoor spaces.