Friday, July 29, 2011

Keep it up!

Condition,...ambition, ....tough training, ... and fighting spirit in every
discipline of comic-sport ... shaped this body.
Thanks to Franziska Junior!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sailing a course for London 2012

Skandia Team GBR sailor Chris Grube and Laser Coach Chris Gowers both have strong connections to North Wales. They took time out of their hectic schedule to tell Sport Wales about their preparations and hopes for an Olympic sailing legacy.

Sailor Chris Grube, 26, is a member of the Skandia Team GBR Performance Squad. Hailing from Chester, the 470 crewman actually honed his skills at Bala Sailing Club after his dad first took him on the lake at the tender age of ten.
“With a year to go until the games I think the perspective is very different from an athlete’s point of view compared to looking in from the outside. We as a team are very much heads down and focussing hard on our own selection events as part of our Olympic trials.

“The Sailing venue was one of the first to be completed which has been great as we've had so much time to get used to using the facilities down here in Weymouth. One of the main things you notice is the amount of interest from not only the media but the British public, you really get the sense that everyone is behind the team which makes it a very special event to compete in.
Nick (Rogers) and I are both really happy with our progress. We are a very new team having joined forces only last December. I have to admit the last six months have flown by, with us having a very intense programme to get us on the pace quickly.

“We have a great coach in Nathan Wilmot, who won the Gold last time round for the Australian team in Beijing, and he's already turned us into one of the fastest teams in the World. We still have a lot to learn but having won the selection for the test event at Skandia Sail for Gold regatta we are very confident we can do it.

“When Nick and I teamed up in December I already knew who would coach us without even asking! Nathan is one of the most successful 470 sailors ever and we knew he'd be a great coach for us. Nick gave him a call and he agreed to come over from Sydney where it was summer to Lymington where it was snowing! His knowledge of the boat is amazing. We wouldn’t have got this far so quickly without Nathan and so in that respect we are really grateful to him.

“I think the main benefit of being the host nation is that it raises participation in Sport. Watching athletes at the top of their game is a great advert for sport and a healthy lifestyle (a hot topic in the media at the moment). Sailing is seen as an expensive sport, and once you get to Olympic level it is, but you can pick up a boat for club use for as little as 300 pounds.

“I've been involved as a coach in supporting grassroot programmes in North Wales, and at my home sailing club at Bala, and I think if we can make it easy and inexpensive for people to go sailing at their local clubs then the sport can really benefit from a growth in people taking part. It’s also important to make it a family activity to see continuity beyond 2012.”

Chris Gowers, 43, is the Laser Coach for Skandia Team GBR’s sailing team. This vastly experienced former Olympic sailor, turned coach, hails originally from Southmead but currently calls Y Felinheli home.

“We always hold a trial regatta the year before an Olympics. Once the test event is finished it’s then suddenly very hard to ignore the fact that the Olympics are on their way. We hope to do well (at the test event) but our priority is to learn as much as we can about how the regatta is going to be run next year.  Over the next six months we’ll select the team and then work hard to build up our knowledge base to make sure we get the best possible results.

“Having the Olympic races here in Weymouth should probably give us somewhat of an advantage. But if you look at the amount of time other countries are spending there then the margin is narrowing because at the Olympic Test Event alone we’re expecting around 57 countries to compete. On the other hand we’ll also have the intense media exposure to deal with, so there are pros and cons.

“Our hope is that people will get enthused by London 2012 and want to give sailing a go and get hooked for life. The Welsh Yachting Association (WYA) use Pwllheli a lot for competitions and have suggested it as an Olympic training venue. So that centre alone should provide better race training for budding elite athletes and hopefully increase participation in general.”

Visit to find out more about sailing opportunities near you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Olympic Memories by Andrew Morris

It was a time of trophies and travel when gymnast Andrew Morris spent years at the elite level of sport.

Andrew, from Treboeth in Swansea, competed in two Olympic Games – in Los Angeles in 1984 and four years later at Seoul in 1988.
That was on top of numerous Welsh and British titles and a career that took him across the globe.....
“I was born in Swansea and I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve travelled all over the world with my sport but I still remain in Swansea because it’s a fantastic place to live.
“I started gymnastics when I was eleven - which is quite late for a gymnast - at Penlan Comprehensive  School. My PE teacher encouraged me. His name was Leigh Jones and he was a competitive gymnast himself at the time.
“He inspired me. He must have seen something in me. At the time I was doing other sports, like playing football, but I went to gymnastics because I enjoyed the variety that it gave me.
“Gymnastics is an individual sport. Everybody wants to be the best so, even though you are competing in a team, you still have to do an individual performance.
“It’s not like a sport such as rugby where you can have a bad game but still win or have a good game and lose. With gymnastics it’s what you do as an individual. You are friendly with all the other competitors and you want your nation to do well, but you also want to do better than the others. That’s where the competition comes in.
“My first major memorable occasion was winning my first British Championship. The second one was being selected by my country to represent them at the Olympic Games.
“I won 10 Welsh Championship titles in a row, five British titles in a row.
“My first major competition, out of Britain, was the World Championships in Moscow in 1981. I’ve also done Commonwealth Games, European Championships, and, of course, the biggest of them all – the Olympics.
“One of my biggest memories is walking out for the opening ceremonies and seeing all those people in the stadium – it was an amazing sight.
“With the boycotts in 1984, Great Britain qualified a full team and we had six gymnasts competing. In 1988 there was just the two of us, which made the experience quite different.
“I think the Seoul Olympics was probably the most difficult competition for me. It was a major Olympics and all the countries were there. It was big after the boycotts of 1980 and 1984. I got injured in training when I was out there and three days before I was suffering. It was a case of recovering and trying to get ready for the event.
“You always get nervous at the events. All I used to do when I was stood on the podium in a major event was to think ‘well, I’ve done all the training, I’ve done all the work in the gym, done all the routines. If it goes wrong then it’s going to go wrong. Just go with the flow’.
At those Games, Andrew performed well.
He finished 24th in the overall standings, the top British placed competitor, as his team finished in ninth place in Los Angeles. It proved tougher in Seoul, with qualifying round finishes in all disciplines in a competition dominated by the Soviet Union.
“When I was competing and winning competitions, my personal trainer had a job so he could only be with me in the evenings. I used to train in the mornings for three hours and then another three hours every evening. We did that five or six days a week, which is quite rigorous. It takes alot of work,” said Andrew.
“Food is really important. Whatever you do in gymnastics you’re carrying your body weight around all the time. You are lifting your body weight, so if you are eating the wrong foods and too heavy then it’s more difficult to compete and train. What you have to do is have a balanced diet that gives you a lot of energy without giving you a lot of starch and food that’s going to sit on you.
“If you’re going to do the sport you do it 100%. There’s no point doing it 50% because you’re wasting your time. So you do it 100% at the time and then you look at your career and you decide when you’re going to finish. You concentrate 100% until that time.
The sport, and Swansea, hasn’t lost Andrew’s experience and knowledge. He’s is now a Sports Development Officer for Swansea Council and runs the City of Swansea Gymnastics Centre on Fforestfach Industrial Estate.
He is a fully qualified International Performance Coach in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics and oversees the technical programme, performance planning and funding for technical disciplines in Wales.
He added:
“My dream is to introduce as many people as possible to the sport that has given me such a good lifestyle and great memories.
“It’s a very technical sport. It’s difficult to come from outside of gymnastics and learn how to provide the skills for the kids without having felt it yourself. Physically feeling the sport and being in fear when you are upside down.
“I’ve had three gymnasts who have gone to the Commonwealth Games and one of those gymnasts actually coached another gymnast to go. You’ve passed on skills to your performers and they are carrying it on. That is something I’m very proud of to be honest.
“I would say to parents, put your children into pre-school gymnastics – what we call tumblies. They can do that from one year-old up to three years-old so they can learn how to handle their body and how to be co-ordinated. It’s a foundation for all other sports.
“We have taken on a recreational gymnastic co-ordinator who is going to schools and leisure centres to introduce children to gymnastics as early as possible and some competition.
“Nationally, gymnastics has never been higher profile. It’s never going to be one of the main sports like football or rugby but it’s definitely increasing in popularity.”
Thanks to Phil Cope and the Follwing the Flame exhibition for access to materials:

Ferien auf dem Lande

Balmy summer evenings
Exotic animals
Spectacular and remote beaches
Sigh... finally vacation!
Thanks to Susi Sorglos !

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week

Richard Dando

Senior Officer at Sport Wales

Richard talks through the highlights of the recent week of activity in Wales.

The 2011 Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week has come and gone with over 4 million young people across the UK trying to achieve a Personal Best in a variety of Olympic and Paralympic themed activities.  The week uses the excitement of the London 2012 Games to inspire young people to do more sport.

With a chance to win an official Torch Bearer place at next year’s Torch Relay the Sport Development network across Wales has rallied round their local primary and secondary schools to drive registrations.  In total 560 schools across Wales (391 primary, 152 secondary and 15 classed as both) registered to take part in NSSW which is an increase of 190 schools on 2010.  When schools registered they were asked to input how many pupils would be taking part in their NSSW activities and the total figure across Wales is 169,805, up nearly 50,000 on 2010!  This is an amazing achievement by all involved and by exposing this many young people to sport we stand a better chance of getting more of them hooked on sport for life.

Events and activities for NSSW have happened up and down the country and many young people have achieved personal bests.  Sport Wales are currently working with partners to capture some of the good news stories across Wales but here’s a little taster:

·         At Prestatyn High School pupils achieved personal bests in a one mile Olympic run or walk and a series of Olympic challenges, including designing their own Olympic mascots.  The school’s Young Ambassadors were heavily involved in organising the event.
·         At Ysgol Glan Y Mor local primary school children had a chance to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings by taking part in a variety of Olympic sports like hockey, table tennis, badminton, basketball, archery ad cycling.  The day was supported by the PE department, 5x60 Officer and by local clubs and coaches
·         To round off the week a high profile event featuring Olympian Jason Gardener, the Olympic mascot Wenlock and the Olympic Torch took place at Llanishen High School in Cardiff.  Around 300 primary school children took part in a transition event and aimed for personal bests in a variety of activities including boccia, indoor rowing, long jump, football and netball.

Schools who took part in the 2011 Lloyds TSB NSSW will be waiting to find out whether they have won tickets to the Games or official Torch Bearer places so good luck to them.  Schools that took part in NSSW can also use it as evidence towards joining the Get Set Network where they can access even more prizes and opportunities to inspire young people through London 2012.

However, no sooner has the 2011 week finished than planning for 2012 NSSW has begun!  In 2012 NSSW will take place Monday June 25th to Friday June 29th and with registration opening for school in September 2011, they have plenty of time to start planning how they will host their own mini Olympic event.

For more on the events highlighted above visit

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The big questions around the future of sports provision

Sport Wales Chief Executive Dr Huw Jones recently contributed to ITV Wales’ Wales This Week programme which investigated the future of sports facilities across Wales and whether local authorities will outsource leisure.
In our latest blogpost, Huw explains that who is going to run facilities is not the big question....
Local authorities face significant challenges across all the services they provide. Leisure is just one of them – how can they work differently? Is it the most effective and efficient service? These are the questions that local authorities are asking - and that’s absolutely right.
In many ways, who actually runs facilities doesn’t really matter – whether it’s the public, private or the public sector. The most important and biggest challenge is what the level of service should be. In other words, how many facilities do we need? Where should they be? And how should we actually configure them?
It’s a very difficult political challenge for local authorities to address. But it needs addressing and we want to help support them in that decision making.
There are all sorts of different types of leisure facilities – the question is, what is it that is actually going to make a difference? Where is it going to make a difference? Do we need a standalone leisure centre? Or should more of our leisure centres be on school sites in the next ten years?
We need to have cross departmental discussion at a local authority level - how can leisure facilities be configured with education? Should we have more dual use facilities on school sites?
And that’s going to mean the development of a joint vision. Not just education doing what it thinks is best, or planning doing what it thinks or indeed leisure doing what it thinks is best.
Would that be more economical and would that be more efficient? And also should we have libraries in that configuration? Or youth centres or older people centres?  So we actually utilise facilities for more than one purpose so we make it more efficient in terms of its usage.
What type of activities do we want to see people doing? Traditionally, we looked at leisure in terms of football, rugby and so on but we need to make sure we’re actually proactively consulting with young people – what is it that would make you more physically active? And then provide for that need.
Every time we have a difficult situation in terms of public sector funding, people tend to immediately react and say that facilities are going to close. I’ve been through three recessions and I’ve heard the same thing over and over.  But I have confidence that local communities and local councillors value sport and the contribution it makes in terms of health, social wellbeing, community cohesion and so on. Sport has huge power and impacts on people’s lives. I believe that local decision makers realise that.
What we need to be concerned about is: “what is the configuration going to be in the next five or ten years?” so that we can actually ensure that we have the best facilities that satisfy public demand and that are being provided in the most efficient way.
We accept that no one size fits all. Different areas will have different answers and solutions. But the questions need to be asked and the questions need to be answered if we’re to get every child hooked on sport for life and create a nation of champions.
You can view the Wales This Week programme here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Auch wenn ich nichts lieber tue, als den ganzen Tag im Dunkeln meiner unbezahlten Kreativ-Maloche zu fröhnen, so lässt sich doch irgendwann ein Urlaub nicht mehr vermeiden...
Glasklare spiegelnde Seen im Abendrot, Abendbrot mit deftiger Hausmannskost nach einem aufregenden Tag an der frischen Luft, Meditieren auf der Veranda eines Luxus-SPA...
Ja, ich werde die nächsten 2-3 Wochen durch Abwesenheit glänzen, habe es jedoch nicht versäumt, Euch ein erstklassiges Ferien-Unterhaltungsprogramm zu organisieren. Ihr dürft Euch freuen auf Blogbeiträge von Susi Sorglos, Franziska Junior und Jeff Chi!
Also, stay tuned, schaltet Dienstag oder Freitag oder auch an anderen Tagen ein, entspannt Euch nicht zu sehr... und ich hoffe, Euch im August dann wieder als frustrierte und kritische Leser begrüßen zu dürfen!
I'm going on vacation for the following 2-3 weeks. But there's a fine entertainement-program with the german Bloggers Susi Sorglos, Franziska Junior and Jeff Chi.
So stay tuned and see you in august!
(the lady in the picture thinks: "Nirvana?!...The only thing that I'm hearing are those stupid cicadas!... Relaxation is absolutely overrated!")

Monday, July 18, 2011

Llysgenhadon Ieuainc: Ysbrydoli Drwy Chwaraeon

Gyda blwyddyn i fynd tan yr Olympaidd 2012 yn Llundain, mae un o’r rhoddion y Gemau yn talu I ffwrdd yn barod yma yn Nghymru.  Ffurfiasant y symudiad Llysgenhadon Ieuainc, mewn partneriad gan adidas, Youth Sport Trust, LOCOG a Chwaraeon Cymru, i rhoi mwy o lais i bobl ifanc ac i galluogi gwirfiddolwyr ifanc addas i rhannu negeseuon yr Olympaidd a Paralympaidd efo pobl ifanc eraill i ysbrydoli nhw i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon.  

Clywson ni gan dau o’r
Llysgenhadon Ieuainc ysbrydoledig yma, o Rhondda Cynon Taff, am eu profiadau hyd at nawr.

Mae Llundain 2012 yn prysur agosáu ac mae’n ymddangos bod mudiad y Llysgenhadon Ieuainc wir yn mynd o nerth i nerth. Fel Llysgenhadon Ieuainc, rydym ni’n gweithredu fel modelau rôl i bobl ifanc eraill yn ein hysgolion a’n cymunedau ni, i’w hysbrydoli nhw i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon ac i greu mwy o ymwybyddiaeth o Lundain 2012 a’r Gwerthoedd Olympaidd a Pharalympaidd.      
Gyda thua 300 o Lysgenhadon Ieuainc Aur ac adiStar i’w cael ledled Cymru, mae enghreifftiau o straeon llwyddiannus yn dod i’r amlwg ar hyd a lled y wlad, ac enghreifftiau o bwysigrwydd rhoi grym i bobl ifanc i ddod yn amlwg, gan arwain at ymestyn ar draws pob sector o chwaraeon yng Nghymru. Mae’r wythnos ddiwethaf hon yn arbennig wedi dangos angen cynyddol am roi pwyslais ar ddylanwad pobl ifanc mewn chwaraeon, yn enwedig Llysgenhadon Ieuainc.    

Aeth y ddau ohonom i Gynhadledd Rhanddeiliaid Chwaraeon Cymru a chyflwyno gweithdy yn dwyn y teitl, ‘Cael pob plentyn i wirioni ar chwaraeon am oes – Sut mae gwneud hynny!’ Roedd hwn yn gyfle gwych i ni ddylanwadu ar y bobl allweddol sy’n gwneud penderfyniadau ledled Cymru, ac yn her y gwnaethom ei mwynhau’n fawr iawn.

Cawsom gyfle i egluro sut rydym ni’n dau’n brysur yn ein hysgol a’n cymuned, yn debyg iawn i bob Llysgennad Ifanc arall, ac yn cymryd rhan mewn gweithgareddau amrywiol fel gweithgareddau 5x60, hyfforddiant cymunedol a gwaith gwirfoddol arall yn ein hysgolion a’n hardaloedd lleol.     
Hefyd, roedd Natalie Davies, Llysgennad Aur arall o Ysgol Gyfun Maesteg, yn bresennol yn y Gynhadledd a rhannodd ei llwyddiannau rhyfeddol hi fel LlI. Ar ddechrau’r flwyddyn, sefydlodd ysgol ddawns yn ei chymuned leol, sydd wedi denu mwy na 60 o blant bob wythnos. Cystadlodd yr ysgol ym Mhencampwriaethau Hip-Hop Prydain yn ddiweddar, gan ddod yn drydydd, sy’n golygu eu bod nhw wedi cymhwyso ar gyfer Pencampwriaethau Hip-Hop y Byd yn Las Vegas. Roedd hi wir yn ysbrydoliaeth i ni ac os nad ydy hynny’n amlinellu effaith pobl ifanc ar gynyddu cyfranogiad mewn chwaraeon ac annog pobl ifanc eraill i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon a’u mwynhau, yna dyn a ŵyr beth sydd!  
Yn ein barn ni, roedd y gynhadledd yn gyflawniad gwych. Roedd yn gyfle i grŵp mawr o bobl sy’n meddwl mewn ffordd debyg, nid yn unig o’r sector chwaraeon, ond o’r sectorau iechyd ac addysg hefyd, i ymgynnull a rhannu syniadau a gwybodaeth ynghylch gweithredu’r ‘Weledigaeth ar gyfer Chwaraeon yng Nghymru’. Hefyd, roedd y Gynhadledd yn gyfle gwych i Natalie ac i ninnau gyflwyno’r cyfrifoldebau y gall y Llysgenhadon Ieuainc ymgymryd â nhw a sôn am ein llais unigryw sydd â grym i gael effaith ar chwaraeon yng Nghymru. 

Efallai bod rhai’n cwestiynu dibynadwyedd a photensial pobl ifanc i gael effaith ar chwaraeon ond mae’n dod yn fwy a mwy amlwg bod gennym ni allu i ysbrydoli eraill mewn ffordd gadarnhaol. Drwy ddefnyddio Llundain 2012 a’r ‘Weledigaeth ar gyfer Chwaraeon yng Nghymru’ fel catalyddion, mae ein swyddogaeth ni fel Llysgenhadon Ieuainc yn dod yn adnodd hanfodol er mwyn cyrraedd nod uchelgeisiol Cymru o gael ‘Pob Plentyn Wedi Gwirioni ar Chwaraeon am Oes’.

Er bod y mudiad LlI yn dal i ddatblygu a gwneud cynnydd, rydym ni angen pobl i wrando arnom ni o hyd, ac i roi’r grym yn ein dwylo ni. Felly cymerwch risg os gwelwch yn dda a rhowch gyfle i ni ddangos beth gallwn ni ei gyflawni!

Adam Anzani-Jones ac Ollie Smith,
Llysgenhadon Ieuainc Aur, RhCT

Young Ambassadors: Inspiring Through Sport

With a year to go until the London 2012 Olympics nearing, one of the legacies of those Games is already paying massive dividends here in Wales. The Young Ambassador movement, in partnership with adidas, Youth Sport Trust, LOCOG and Sport Wales, was set up  to give young people more of a voice and to empower suitably proactive young volunteers with the opportunity to share the Olympic and Paralympic values with their peers to inspire them to take part in sport.

We hear from two such inspiring Young Ambassadors, based in Rhondda Cynon Taff, about their experiences so far.

London 2012 is fast approaching and it would appear that the Young Ambassador movement is truly in its stride.  As Young Ambassadors we act as role models to other young people in our schools and communities to inspire them to participate in sport and to raise awareness of London 2012 and the Olympic and Paralympic Values.

With around 300 Gold and adiStar Young Ambassadors around Wales examples of success stories are springing up all across the country and the importance of empowering young people is becoming prominent, with the results stretching across every sector of sport in Wales. This past week in particular has displayed the growing need for emphasis to be placed on the influence of young people in sport, especially Young Ambassadors.

We both attended the Sport Wales Stakeholder Conference and delivered a workshop entitled, ‘Getting every child hooked on sport for life – How we do it!’ This was a great opportunity for us to influence key decision makers across Wales and a challenge which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We explained how we both have very active roles in both the school and community setting, similar to every other Young Ambassador, and participate in various activities such as 5x60 activities, community coaching and other voluntary work within our school and local areas.

Natalie Davies, a fellow Gold Ambassador from Maesteg Comprehensive School, also attended the Conference and shared her amazing successes as a YA. At the start of the year she set up a dance school in her local community which has attracted over 60 children every week.   They recently entered and came third in the British Hip-Hop Championships which means they have qualified for the World Hip-Hop Championships in Las Vegas.  She certainly inspired us and if that doesn’t outline the impact of young people in increasing participation in sport and enthusing other young people to take part and enjoy sport then we don’t know what does!

In our opinion the conference was a great accomplishment. It was a chance to allow a large group of like-minded people from not only the sports sector, but also the health and education sectors, to congregate and share ideas and information regarding the implementation of the ‘Vision for Sport in Wales’. Also, the Conference was a brilliant chance for Natalie and ourselves to present what responsibilities Young Ambassadors can undertake and how we have a unique voice which has the power to impact sport in Wales.

Some might question the reliability and potential for young people to impact sport but it is becoming more and more evident that we have the ability to positively inspire others. By using London 2012 and the ‘Vision for Sport in Wales’ as catalysts our roles as Young Ambassadors are becoming a vital tool in achieving Wales’ ambitious aspiration of getting ‘Every Child Hooked on Sport for Life’. 

Although the YA movement is constantly developing and constantly progressing we still need people to listen and empower us. So please, take a risk and give us the opportunities to show you what we can do!

Adam Anzani-Jones and Ollie Smith,
Gold Young Ambassadors, RCT

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shoe Sale!!

1 Aug 2011 Update
Due to popular demand, we are extending the 20% discount on DVS, LAKAI, ES and EMERICA shoes till Aug 9th 2011.

We are having 20% discount off all our DVS, LAKAI, ES and EMERICA shoes from Monday 18 July till Sunday 31 July 2011. This promotion will run throughout all 3 outlets.

Terms and Conditions below.
-Promotion only applies to Nett priced products.
-No reservation during this period
-No *SCAPE/GOSSIP vouchers allowed
-Only Cash payment acccepted at *SCAPE for this promotion.
-No exchanges allowed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New This Week!

Lizzy Mercier Descloux = Style icon

Sometimes it's hard to imagine, but: every trend will dissappear and will be "out" some day.
"What? No way!"
"Sure, Darling!...And when the beautiful peep-toe-booties-trend will pass away, there will be sung..."
* But the gazelles- where did they go?

and here's the song to sing along ; )

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

9 steps to getting schools to sign up to School Sport Survey

Andrew Honey Jones, Active Young People Manager at Caerphilly County Borough Council, has been busy encouraging schools to complete the School Sport Survey – Sport Wales’ biggest ever census of school sport.
Here he describes his nine point step-by-step plan to ensure that schools in Caerphilly are on board:

·         First of all, I emailed all Headteachers to highlight the importance of the survey and how it fits in with the inspection framework. I also sent them the sample report so they could have a good idea of the data that would be collected.

·         It’s a mistake to email the generic school email addresses. It’s also a mistake to send blanket emails. Be personal and your email will be less likely to end up in deleted items!
·         In Caerphilly, sport sits in the Education & Leisure team so we work closely with School Improvement Teams We issue a weekly bulletin to all Headteachers so we used that to communicate the importance of the survey and asked them to get in touch if they required any assistance
·         We also met with the Education Advisory Group so they could push it during their visits to the schools

·         We’ve also offered to come in and administer the surveys. This helps the school spread the workload. Within an hour of that email being sent, 10 schools quickly responded. Now, we have 30 schools where we are going in to manage the survey process for them.
·         Next week, we’re presenting at the Joint Headteacher meeting for all Headteachers – primary and secondary. This will be another opportunity to push the survey. We will highlight the schools that have already done it and hopefully that will encourage those that haven’t.
·         We will also send the School Sport Survey updates to schools so they can see how they compare to others in their area

·         We have also told schools that we will only support ActiveMarc Cymru applications if they complete the survey. In my opinion, you can only be recognised as a high performing school for sport if you understand the importance of collecting this information.
·         My top tip is to get Headteachers on board. Their buy-in is absolutely critical.

For more information on the School Sport Survey visit Schools have just until the end of term to complete it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Is it possible, that god exist, when he allows
that every last mouthful of beer is insipid?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My week at Sport Wales

Hi my name is Charlie Baines, and this week, for my work experience, I have had the amazing opportunity to visit various areas of Wales and learn what happens ‘behind the scenes’.

In started my week with a visit to Plas Meni; National Water sports centre for Wales, where I helped out with jobs that instructors at the centre needed help with. These tasks gave me a feel for what the instructors jobs involve. I learnt that being a water sports instructor doesn’t just involve teaching people how to use specific equipment, instructors also play a big part in organising the activities and checking equipment  to make sure that the experience of learning a water sport is an enjoyable one.
In contrast to my first day of Work experience, my second day involved PR and Marketing type tasks at Deeside’s Sports Wales office. Day two was also a great experience, where I began writing my press release for the Wrexham Bradley Raiders; a newly founded Rugby club dedicated to coaching youngsters of ages twelve and onwards. Simon Grant, PR and marketing officer at the office provided me with some document to help me with the PR tasks. This also gave me an insight into and what methods Sports Wales use to promote their sports and sports communities in Wales and how they do it. Later that day I attended a meeting with Jo Clay from the Deeside office where various sports related representatives who were deciding on ‘the way forward’ for sports activities in Wales. Many ideas were brought up, however the panel was unanimous in deciding that if they are to achieve their goal, and conform to Sport Wales’ Vision for Sport, all aspects of sport will have to unite to form one incredibly strong sporting association.
Wednesday was another amazing day, where I visited the National Sports Centre for Wales. I started my day at Wrexham train station, where I boarded the train to Cardiff and a few hours later, we arrived in the stunning Welsh capital. After a short walk through the park, we arrived at the national Centre; the building looks fantastic and is in an amazing location next to the river. A short walk through the winding corridors found me in the ‘meeting area’ where I met Brian Davis who kindly took me round the facility and let me observe some of the work that goes on within the National Centre. I had an amazing day seeing all that goes n and although I couldn’t change the PowerPoint successfully, it was a very inspiring visit.
Yesterday, I was based in the Deeside office again where Simon helped me finish my press release and correct my blog. I was also invited to attend a meeting with Simon and the communications team and what their big plans for promoting 2012 are (amazing plans which would give an equally amazing result when used).
On my final day, I was again in Plas Meni, where I was involved with the water activities. This further broadened my insight into what the instructors do at the facility.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my week, and experienced many different career types. Everyone I have met this week has been welcoming, friendly, encouraging and inspiring. My placement was secured by Graham Williams who has been brilliant and taken me to all my placement locations, despite the inconvenience I may have been to have to ‘look after’. Once again thank you to everyone, I have felt like a part of each organization and have been included in many different opportunities.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Laura's five conference highlights

Prof Laura McAllister
 Last week, we held our annual Stakeholder Conference – designed to unite key stakeholders from across sectors over a day and a half to discuss, debate and identify practical ways to deliver our shared agenda. Here, our Chair - Prof Laura McAllister - blogs about her conference highlights:

1.      New advocates for sport

Talking to people that either are new to the sports sector or new to our conference was a definite highlight. If we are to deliver the Vision for Sport in Wales, we need to reach out to new sectors - like education and health - that can use the leverage of sport. I believe that we cannot afford not to spend on sport – it helps community cohesion, improves health, skills & confidence. We need more people championing sport – whether it’s across local authority departments, in business or different government organisations.

2.      Keynote from Peter Keen, UK Sport’s Director of Performance

Peter reiterated a key theme of the conference: calculated risk-taking. He said, “The fear of failure needs to be your constant companion in the pursuit of excellence.” I think that this is relevant whatever sector you work in. The sports sector needs to be more edgy. It needs to be more comfortable with trying new ways of working and taking those calculated risks.

Only by trying new ways of working and applying the lessons can we begin to reach our aspirations. It was also useful that he was able to gain an increased understanding of what we’re doing in Wales and where we want to be (the no.1 nation on the basis of medals per capita at the Commonwealth Games!)

3.      Address from Huw Lewis, Minister responsible for Sport

We’re entering a hugely exciting time for Welsh sport. Not only do have two home Games on home soil - London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 – but we also have a Welsh Government whose programme links with our shared Vision. . This provides us with an unrivalled opportunity to drive sport forward. The Minister was clear that the focus is very much on outcomes and delivery and this will be their challenge to us. I was particularly pleased that the Minister stated that physical development is as important as reading and writing, which is going to be something that we will need to push with our colleagues in education.

4.      Natalie Davies, Young Ambassador & Panel Member

All of our speakers and panelists were first-class, but I must reserve special mention for Natalie Davies. In my opinion, she was the best panelist of the day. At 17, she is one of many Young Ambassadors across Wales that are encouraging their peers to take part in sport. And they’re doing a brilliant job! I have been so impressed by our Young Ambassadors and Natalie showed us how important it is to actively listen to young people. Her enthusiasm was boundless and she spoke from the heart. See for yourself in this film clip!

5.      Synergies

We were delighted to welcome Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Jewell and Children’s Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler onto our panel. There are so many synergies in our work. We have a shared agenda and we need to make the most of that. I want the sports sector to focus on creating new alliances with different sectors because I honestly believe we all want the same thing.

And as Keith Towler said, “If Wales can’t collaborate – who can?”

A strong theme of the conference was that sport needs to be more entrepreneurial. It needs to try different things. Chris Brindley talked about the importance of customer service if we’re to get every child in Wales hooked on sport for life. We need to think about we can reach new potential customers, what’s getting in the way of them consuming the product (sport!). How do we communicate? Are we maximising social media to reach our audiences? Do we have the data and information we need to judge our performance?

On a final note, I would like to thank everyone who attended and to those who contributed via our Twitter debate. If you’re not already on board the Twitter juggernaut, get involved! It’s a great way to raise the profile of the sector and to debate the important issues. You can follow @sport_wales to keep up to date and you’ll find me @LauraMcAllister.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Don't Miss Out!

Osian Williams is the Climbing Higher Programme Manager for Conwy County Borough Council’s Education Department.
As the deadline fast approaches for Welsh schools across Wales to get their pupils to fill in the national School Sport Survey, Osian talks about the benefits of taking part in the Survey.
The benefits of taking part in the School Sport Survey is that schools will get an in depth report of how many children are taking part in sport and physical recreation. So from a school perspective they’ll see how healthy their kids are.
They’ll also be able to get evidence of their school’s overall wellbeing.
"Linking with the new Estyn inspection process, the results of the survey can contribute to exemplifying pupil and whole school wellbeing, which are integral parts of the Estyn framework."
In terms of Conwy Council’s planning, here within Sports Development, without the data available we wouldn’t know where we needed to focus our efforts the most. Without the survey we can’t plan or shape our programmes and it becomes a guessing game.
This level of data lets us make informed decisions and gives us a very clear picture, within Conwy itself and within the areas of deprivation, of where we need to focus our resources the most.
We have been having partnership meetings with all the schools in our cluster and have made sure that the Survey is on the agenda. Also School Improvement Officers have raised the Survey with Head Teachers to help get them more engaged. That’s been very useful because we have had lots of calls from Heads asking for more information.
I’ve been undertaking that liaison role with schools directly but we have offered the services of 5x60 Officers if schools need further help. So far we have found that no schools have needed that assistance, which is encouraging.
"The feedback that we’ve had has indicated that a lot of schools can see the value of having their own school report. Yes, there was an acknowledgement that a lot of work was needed but the outcome was considered so beneficial that it outweighed the time expenditure."
Going forward it would be good to have training for local authorities prior to next year’s survey. We could then point people in the right direction and train school staff to see in advance what the survey looks like, so that it becomes a less time consuming process for pupils during class time.
The deadline for survey entries is 20 July. For more details about the school sport survey visit: