Monday, 16 January 2012

Sign up now for Community Games and bring London 2012 to your neighbourhood

With just over six months to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, now is the time to sign up for Community Games and create a special moment to celebrate London 2012 in your own neighbourhood.

Community Games provide a great opportunity for individuals or organisations to bring their community together by organising a day of sporting and cultural activities inspired by, and in celebration of, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A community can organise its Games in a way that works for them: they could take place in a park or inside a community centre, at any time of year, and with whichever activities they choose. Whatever the focus, Community Games provides everyone with the chance to get involved with London 2012.

Since the programme launched in 2010, 222 Community Games have taken place in our region involving over 165,000 people. It is expected that 500 games will have taken place by the end of 2012.

Community Games is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Community Games programme forms part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands.

Plenty of inspiring Community Games have already taken place around the region:

In Worcestershire, volunteer Sue Jenkinson organised a Community Games as part of the British Asparagus Festival held in the Vale of Evesham in May 2011. Entitled Asparalympics, games included aspara-spear throwing – with green javelins - and asparabaton relay races, using green batons.

In the Birmingham suburb of Erdington a Community Games event included a Land's End to John O'Groats Cycle Challenge (711 miles covered by a cycle relay team around the clock for almost three days). A Community Games in Halesowen in the Black Country inspired one local man to source secondhand bikes to do up and pass on to children in the community

In Staffordshire, the Oakmoor and South Moorlands Games included football, tag rugby, tug of war as well as displays of dance and art.

In Shropshire, Community Games organiser Bill Longmore, 73, recently won the title BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero 2011. He has worked to develop sporting facilities in Hanwood during 12 years in the village.

In Coventry, 530 children at Stivichall Primary devised and performed their own opening and closing ceremonies and took part in over 26 different sporting activities from sprinting and long jump to javelin and football.

David Moorcroft, Chair of the West Midlands Leadership Group for the 2012 Games and former 5000m World Record holder said: “With only six months to go until London 2012, now is the time to think about how you are going to get involved. Organising your own Community Games is a great and meaningful way to be part of the London 2012 celebrations.”

Moira Swinbank OBE, Chief Executive of Legacy Trust UK said: “Community Games has grown from strength to strength and we are delighted that so many local people have already taken part. This fantastic project is set to engage many more people in 2012 and will leave a lasting legacy for organisers, participants and communities right across the West Midlands.”

For more information on how to stage your own Community Games visit http://www.communitygames.org.uk/

Over 905,000 people have already participated in a range of culture activities as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands, generating £21.8 million worth of economic activity within the region. Businesses across the West Midlands are also making the most out of London 2012 having won over £520 million, half a billion, worth of tenders supplying the 2012 Games and related projects. To find out about events and opportunities and how you can get involved visit http://www.wmfor2012.com/

People who are already involved in London 2012 inspired activities in the West Midlands can share their stories, pictures and list forthcoming events on www.facebook.com/thegamesandme

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