By Katie Crozier, senior development officer, Merseyside Sports Partnership
Some weeks ago Merseyside Sports Partnership (MSP) was contacted by Lindsey Chapman from BBC Radio 5 Live as they needed some help. They had invited Steve Parry to host a panel debate at the event and Steve recommended that someone from MSP should be on the panel. I looked at the options available from the team and asked Andrew Wileman to take part.
The event was designed to provide up to 120 16 – 25 year olds with an interactive experience exploring the world of sport. They had secured LFC and EFC coaches to deliver sessions to the young people attending and were looking for some lesser-known sports to be involved in taster sessions. So I contacted people from the world of Handball and Dodgeball with details of the event.
At the event, young people were engaged in fitness testing at the Redmonds Building of LJMU, which has amazing facilities for Sports Science students. During the afternoon there were several fitness tests you could try. One was a cycle against Sir Chris Hoy, Steve Parry did try his hardest to keep up with Chris’s time until he broke the strap on one of the pedals!
There were media facilities, allowing young people to try commentating on sport for radio and reporting on camera too. The girls from Merchant Taylors School were very talented at describing the scene at a football match on air.
Before the panel debate we were back in the green room with Rebecca Adlington – multiple Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Gold medal winner and Martin Stamper, current World and European medalist. He came fifth in the London 2012 games. It was like being back stage on the Jonathon Ross show!
We were then led to the theatre where all the young people took their seats for the panel debate. Also on the panel were Helen Crowley who works for Us Girls, part of the Street Games and Ian Kennedy, sports editor and broadcaster at Radio Merseyside.
Joe from Positive Futures talked about his own experiences having left school without qualifications. He joined a football club, volunteered, got coaching qualifications, built up his confidence and now he is applying to join the army.
Ian Kennedy from Radio Merseyside said: “Sport can lead to a career even if you aren’t in the top level. If you have ambition and a passion for sport it can take you as far as you want to go.”
Steve Parry discussed the question of legacy, what has been the legacy of London 2012, is there enough happening?
Rebecca Adlington said: “To measure a legacy is so difficult, we will see in 10 years time athletes taking part in interviews and saying that they were inspired by London 2012.”
Zoe from Positive Futures explained her story. At 11 years old she was often walking around her town bored and up to no good before she joined a football club. She was the only girl, but that didn’t stop her, instead she convinced some of her friends to join her until a girls team was set up. Zoe is now a level two qualified coach and takes a sports mobile to light up areas so that football can be played on Friday and Saturday nights – to keep young people in areas of deprivation engaged in sport.
All in all a very interesting, enjoyable and educational afternoon – some great insight and I’m happy to have been invited.