February saw the official launch of Get Berkshire Active (GBA) at its headquarters, at Bisham National Sports Centre near Marlow. GBA is a member of the national network of County Sports Partnerships and is made up of a team of professionals with expertise in the development of sport and physical activity.
A host of representatives who have worked in partnership with GBA, along with others keen to find out more, were at the launch. They included people from sporting organisations, local authorities, public health, schools and further education, national governing bodies of sport, the voluntary sector, local companies and politicians.
With exactly five months until the opening ceremony of London 2012,they heard award winning Olympian Jonty Clarke, a member of Reading Hockey Club and GB International, who is currently training for the London 2012 Olympic Games, outline the many benefits of sport and physical activity. He said they not only improved health and fitness but brought other big benefits to communities.
The elite athlete, who has achieved sporting success at a host of national and international tournaments, told guests: “the best part of my sporting career has been the friends I have made along the way, and the role models who have shaped the person I have become.”
He added: “It’s absolutely fantastic we now have an organisation like Get Berkshire Active tasked with bringing all these benefits, and much more, to our local area.”
Chair of the GBA Board, John Bolan, said their key priority was to establish new partnerships to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity. “We can offer added value - people and organisations can come to us and we will help them make the connections with others to help them promote and develop the sport and activities they offer. We will build up a network of like minded people in sport across the county.”
GBA’s Chief Executive, Mark Lawrie told guests his team would be making contact with a wide range of local organisations to ‘share their expertise and discuss in detail what will have the greatest impact on developing sport and physical activity in Berkshire.”
He added: “We believe that one of the key building blocks of success will be effective joint planning. To effect change we have to play together with our partners to deliver better together.
“We’re very keen to hear from organisations, sporting clubs and other businesses who feel we could help them,” he added.
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Note to editors
Sport England’s Bisham National Sports Centre is a world-leading sports facility that supports performance and community sport. It offers both an outstanding training environment for emerging athletes from a wide range of sports to develop their potential and for elite athletes to prepare for Olympics, Paralympics and commonwealth Games. It also provides excellent amenities and services for the local community to play and enjoy sport. Bisham Abbey is a key site for the English institute of Sport who support 1,700 elite athletes and is the home of several national governing bodies of sport and sporting associations.
Jonty Clarke’s sporting career has seen success in national and major international tournaments including the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the 2006 and 2010 World Cup, 2006 Commonwealth Games, European Championships and the Champions Trophy.