newham & gb's next generation
Patrick Diai - British Universities Boxing Champion
The success of Team GB’s incredible athletes at this summer’s Olympic Games has inspired me and given me great excitement for the future. As a boxer the achievements of our boxing team give me particular inspiration as I know I can emulate them with hard-work, dedication and funding.
The Games have shown me that success is possible. Take Anthony Joshua, a fellow Londoner, who only started boxing at age 18. Now at 22 he’s an Olympic gold medallist. That being said it was not an easy victory. In fact he lost the first two rounds, but gave his all in the final round which proved to be enough. His story reiterated an important message in sport and life which is ‘keep on going, stay positive and fight till the end’.
As a kid sport gave me something to do after school and even during the weekend, aged 14, I was a member of Newham Essex Beagles, one of Britain’s leading athletics clubs. I ran mainly cross country races and I completed the London Mini Marathon in 2005 and 2007. I was also boxing recreationally with Omnibus Kids Gloves mainly to keep busy and because I enjoyed the feeling of hitting a punch bag. Now I am a British Universities Boxing Champion. In hindsight my involvement in these two activities improved my fitness, but moreover gave me psychological discipline, respect and social skills.
There are a lot people in my area who are stressed and have a lot of tension and anger inside them which is not good for their health or the society. Boxing puts you in that zone where you are burning off and releasing all that is built up inside.
Having more young people participating in sport will mean that there will be increased social interaction between them, a growing population which is mentally and physically healthier. It also leads to a reduction in the amount of self-destructive and delinquent young people, as sport contributes to a more disciplined attitude.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @PatrickDiai
Give and go in pictures: 9th august 2012 »
Jacques Rogge meets StreetGames: 7th august 2012 »
LOCOG's official Inspire video in which StreetGames is prominently featured, was shown at a media briefing attended by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge at the Main Press Centre in Olympic Park. Media from all over the world attended the briefing and watched the video which highlighted the wonderful work which StreetGames is doing to enhance the legacy of the London Games.
For today’s 2012 Voices we continue our profiles of some of the 60 young StreetGames participants who are working for Coca-Cola at London 2012. Today, Rebecca Napier and Lizzie Stanfield are in the spotlight.
Rebecca, 18, from North Tyneside, says she is really excited.
“It’s a once in the lifetime opportunity, to be given the chance to be involved in the Olympics is just thrilling.
“I hope the Olympics will spread the message of sport and will help get more people involved. With people watching the games, especially the swimming, athletics and gymnastics, it’s a great opportunity to spread the word about sport. You need to keep the legacy of what the Olympics stands for – friendship and commitment.”
Rebecca has been a StreetGames volunteer and young advisor in Newcastle for nearly two years and she says it has done wonders for her personality.
“It has helped build my confidence, before I began volunteering I kept myself to myself. Volunteering has given me more confidence, I communicate better with people. I also coach now and am a casual sports coach.
“Sports is so important to help get kids off the street, it does reduce anti-social behaviour ratings. StreetGames gives kids the chance to participate in sport, which is something they may not have been open to before, or open to them before,” she said.
Lizzie, 18 from Pendle in Lancashire, said she had to pinch herself to see if it all wasn’t a dream.
“I have dreamt of being a part of London 2012. It is a bit unreal, I sat watching the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony last night and I had to pinch myself to see if I am really here, it’s like a dream. It really is incredible being here,” she said
Lizzie is a volunteer with StreetGames in Pendle and part of the sports development team. She has been a volunteer since the age of 11 and has a huge passion for gymnastics.
“When I heard about the opportunity to volunteer for London 2012, I didn’t think I stood a chance, nothing very exciting happens around where I live but I put my name forward then heard I was shortlisted but still didn’t think it would happen so forgot about it, I didn’t hear anything for a while then got an email telling me I was chosen!”
As a youngster, Lizzie was diagnosed with severe asthma and was in and out of hospital most of her childhood.
“When I was about seven I was told that I would never be able to participate in sport and I had to sit out PE lessons at school as the teachers were so worried that I’d end up in hospital if I ran around too much.
“As I got older I got involved in gymnastics – thought this is what I want to do – and through my volunteering I managed to pick up my coaching badge. So now I coach gymnastics and this has really helped me.
“Sport has changed my life. If I hadn’t discovered gymnastics I don’t know where I would be. I wouldn’t have a job or my health, it has helped my asthma tremendously.”
Lizzie, who was an Olympic torch bearer in Burnley, talked passionately about the importance of sport in the life of young people.
“I live in quite a deprived area and the kids there would not get a chance to do any sport at all if it wasn’t for StreetGames. It really does bring it to right outside the door, so they don’t have to travel and parents don’t have to drive them anywhere and give them money – they can go to their local park or sports centre and it’s there for them,” she said.
Asked what she is hoping will come out of the Games, Lizzie said: “I really want the Olympics to inspire kids to see what they can achieve. They can achieve something they can do something instead of hanging out on the streets.”
working at london 2012: 6th august 2012 »
“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents, former US President, the late John F. Kennedy once said.
How right he was. Opportunity is something that is scarce among many inner-city young adults; sport also has been not given equal opportunity to the UK’s most deprived areas. So since 2007 StreetGames has carried the baton of using sport to reach out and empower the young, to get them off the streets and into sport.
The London 2012 is also a prime opportunity to break down barriers, reach out to young people and ensure that an Olympic legacy embraces communities most in need. The ultimate aim: to make sport more accessible to all regardless of social circumstance and help change the face of community sport.
Through StreetGames more than 60 young people from our network of over 250 projects have been given the chance to be directly involved in London 2012.
Jonny Gilberthorpe, 21, can’t wait to get started. Chosen from thousands of applications to be a volunteer at the Games, he said it is “truly inspirational” to be a part of things.
“I still cannot believe that I’m here, it is truly inspirational, something I cannot describe For the last year I’ve waited for this and it has inspired me and helped show me my direction and what I want to do with my life,” he said.
“It has been a wonderful experience so far, I’ve learnt so much and met some really great new people,” said Jonny, who turned 21 last week and celebrated his first birthday away from home.
“I had an amazing birthday, I shared it with people from all over the country, who like me are volunteers, I felt as if I had known them for years,” he said.
After getting involved in StreetGames in his native Sheffield – through a placement with Rounders England, the sport’s governing body – Jonny says he totally understands the importance of sport and wants the London Games to motivate his generation.
“I believe in sport as a powerful way to provide for a way out and help disadvantaged people. Sport can bring out the best in people.
“[I] am involved in coaching and the Olympics will help put sport in the limelight and get people trying new things, taking on new challenges. It helps people out.
“It can also get kids from different communities and troubled backgrounds into sport. I really believe this. The Games can certainly inspire people to do more, to get off their backsides and into sport,” Jonny said.
Jonny has recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University, where he did a degree in sport development. He is now looking towards a career in coaching.
“My time at the Games will be great on my CV and to be able to tell people when I’m old that I’ve was involved with the Olympics, and an organisation like StreetGames.”
For Kerry Ferguson, 19, from Perth in Scotland, working at London 2012 is one of the best opportunities she has ever had. She hopes that the Olympics will encourage young people to get active and use sport to see what it can do for them.
“I am in shock,” Kerry said. “To be a small part of something so massive, it’s just amazing. It still hasn’t hit me that I’m here! I can’t get over being here, it’s one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had, all my friends are jealous. I am sure that being here will help me with my career decisions and with my life.”
Kerry has been coaching at gymnastics at college and at a local centre. She has also done a lot of volunteering at sports events.
“The idea of using sports to encourage kids to get active and away from trouble is amazing; it breaks down all the barriers such as class and status.”
For Kerry, the Olympics can be the starting point for young people to get out there and see what they can achieve through sport.
“The Olympics is such a high level but grassroots opportunities for people to get stuck in to can show kids where the starting point is. They may never know what they can achieve. If they go to one football game through StreetGames, they might find they are good and can go on to see what they can achieve. Then hopefully they will progress from there and who knows where they may end up,” she said with enthusiasm.
“With the Olympics, and with the torch ceremony, it educates the people and with Olympic themed events at schools, it has opened kid’s eyes to sports. So it really broadens people’s ideas of what they can do.
“The Olympics can grab people’s attention, even if they’re not interested initially in sport. They might see an athlete they really admire, and make them want to emulate them and try hard in their life. It can install that message – to try hard, even if you don’t win you can be a part of something,” she said.
Greg Rutherford leaps his way to Olympic long jump gold
girls leading the way: 3rd August 2012 »
I have heard people refer to London 2012 as the ‘Women’s Games’ and as I reflect on the very public face worn by the Games, the description seems fitting. As far as female participation in the Games goes there have been some great leaps forward.
This is the first Games to include female athletes from every country and the Opening Ceremony that celebrated the suffragettes provided a fitting curtain raiser. IOC chief Jacques Rogge also recognised this achievement at the inclusive and inspiring curtain raiser. Team GB has an almost equal number of female athletes (48%) to male and with women’s boxing debuting and women’s football being given the honour of kicking off the Games, the picture is very positive.
There are fantastic role models in all sports and many high profile names. Jessica Ennis, Rebecca Adlington and Victoria Pendleton are undoubtedly the biggest names. However, in my opinion, the real star turns are Zoe Smith and Nicola Adams, female athletes making it in the traditionally male worlds of weightlifting and boxing. The reason these women are so important is that they challenge the perceived views of femininity. We need to get behind them and celebrate their strength, fitness, dedication and engaging personalities. These are the qualities that should matter most and we need to make being fit as important, if not more so, as being thin-as a personal goal.
Body image issues are complex and deep-rooted but we know they play an important part in influencing women to take part in sport. Too often we see young women too embarrassed to get involved in sport, worried about how other people will view them. Feeling not good enough and out of place in sport settings are unfortunately commonplace, with wome often more likely to be watching than playing themselves. The situation is particularly pronounced with 15-19yr olds who are very influenced by celebrity culture. Looking ‘good’, being on trend and having their lives governed by the ‘Facebook phenomena’ means they are constantly on show. The resulting pressures are huge.
Us Girls is trying to make a difference in the long-term and, alongside its day-to-day work of getting 30,000 young women more physically active, is pushing ahead with the following important new developments:
An Action Research project in Bristol is taking place to look at practical ways in which negative body image feelings can be addressed through taking part in sport
A new project that seeks to understand girls’ ability to motivate each other to become involved in sport and stay involved
A new role model/champions programme that seeks to put female role models into community sport settings to inspire belief and confidence amongst young women.
So, with the success of Team GB’s female athletes and the progress of Us Girls, there is much to be positive about and a real sense it being our time.
If you've been inspired by our female athletes, please join our campaign #girlstimetomakeithappen
Karen Keohan, Us Girls National Programme Manager
What is Us Girls?
Us Girls is the Sport England-funded, ground breaking initiative that provides sport and fitness opportunities to young women living in deprived communities.
It aims to get 30,000 young women more physically active under the banner Fun, Fitness, Friends.
How to join Us Girls?
If you are interested in joining Us Girls, please visit the Us Girls website to find out more.
sammy on track cycling & wiggo: 2nd august 2012 »
Aaargh! How’s a squirrel supposed to get any sleep around here? I was woken up this morning by a strange whirring noise, droning on and on. I rubbed my eyes, popped a breakfast nut in my mouth – it’s part of my balanced diet, you see, nuts in the morning, nuts for lunch, then nuts for dinner – and scooted out from under the cover of the little bush I have found among all this concrete.
The droning appeared to be coming from another upturned saucer of a building – like the one in which the humans have been splashing about in water for a week, but this one is brown on the outside not white. I’m not sure why they keep putting up saucer-shaped buildings. Or maybe they actually are saucers, full of milk on the roof with thousands of cats up there. No, you’re right, I won’t go there.
It certainly wasn’t the sound of cats that woke me up so what could it be? I would have peered through the windows but there were no windows so I scuttled up a grassy bank and in through an open door at the top. Even then I couldn’t see anything yet, the noise was deafening in there. Round the corner I went and suddenly I saw them - lots of humans sitting on chairs with wheels attached. Funny wheels they were, too. All different colours to match the shiny hats the humans were wearing that had a pointy bit at the back.
They were moving their legs and going round and round in a circle and that was what was making the noise. I got dizzy as I watched them but for the first time in my life I actually felt sorry for a group of humans. They were going round and round because they had no way of getting off the odd-looking roundabout. There were no exit roads to take so they had to keep going. And because the roundabout had steep sides, even when they tried to go up to the top of them, there was nowhere to go except back down again.
Mind you, the bank looked as if it would be a brilliant slide. I put my paw out to feel it but it was so smooth that if I had gone down there, I might not have been able to climb back up again – a bit like the humans on their moving chairs with wheels attached.
In the middle of the circle, there was one human standing up who was attracting a lot of their attention. He looked like Uncle Sid Squirrel with big tufts of brown hair sticking out from the side of his face and he had a big shiny button on a ribbon that hung from his neck that everyone else kept pressing. That must be it, the way of opening the circle so that the other humans could exit it. Only it didn’t seem to be working. No matter how many of them tried to press the shiny golden button, the circle remained intact and the humans sitting on their chairs with wheels attached kept going round and round.
And kept making the fearful noise. If they are still at it tonight, I’ll have to move on again…
olympic profits for streetgames: 1st august 2012 »
Walk up the ramp that leads into the Coca Cola Pin Trading Centre at the southern tip of Olympic Park and the chances are that you will find the sunny features of Selina Zaza smiling back at you and welcoming you into the world of pin badges.
Selina is one of the StreetGames Coca-Cola Venue Ops staff who has been given the opportunity not just of sampling the Olympic atmosphere on a daily basis but of enhancing the experience of the public.
“It's wonderful how lovely, loud and cheerful people are,” said Selina. “And there's also the fact that we're making people smile and educating them about StreetGames, too.”
The StreetGames logo is everywhere in the Pin Trading centre. As part of Coca-Cola Great Britain's commitment to StreetGames, all of the profits made on selling pins during Olympic fortnight are being donated to StreetGames to help more young people enhance their lives through the power of sport.
Selina is a case in point. When she moved from Yorkshire to London, she found that sporting opportunities were scarce. That was until she discovered the Us Girls project in Lambeth run by Richard Wilson, the person who nominated her to become a StreetGames Coca-Cola Venue Ops member.
She added: “I was excited when I heard there were netball sessions I could attend. There I met other girls who took me along to a Zumba class. I wanted to find some martial arts classes too and when I saw how much Us Girls and StreetGames were doing for young people in the area, I volunteered to help and started doing some coaching. I never thought it would lead to me working at Olympic Park, but I'm so grateful to Richard and to Coca-Cola Great Britain for giving me the opportunity.”
goughie on the opening ceremony: 31st july 2012 »
“That opening ceremony was the best sporting event I’ve ever been to! It was fantastic and made me so proud to be British. Favourite bit was the part about the Industrial Revolution, but that, those drummers - it literally made the hair on your neck stand up. Bond was funny too - bringing the best of British out there for the world and I think that’s why it all worked sowell. It brought our humour to the rest of the world. It focused on our great history and our great people. There was no way we were going to beat Beijing, but ours had so much of usin it.
“It inspired me and my own kids as well. I was in the stadium and they were watching it on TV, but I was being texted every two minutes about how great it was. And I think that’s what’s great about the Olympics and kids. Every four years, kids are given the chance to see something that normally doesn’t get the airtime other sports do and think ‘I didn’t know about that, I’d like to give it a go.’ All it takes is one kid watching something like archery and canoeing and we could have the spark of a next champion there. The Olympics pushes other sports to get a fair bit of attention and that can be magic for a kid.
“It also made me sit up and take notice of other sports as well. I like cycling, but normally stick to velodrome events. However, since the ceremony, I’ve been jumping from channel to channel to see as much as I can. That road race yesterday - I was hooked on that for four hours straight. I couldn’t get enough of it; the tactics, the breakaway. It was just magic!”
“Like most people across the country and indeed the world, I waited in excited anticipation of what to expect from the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
“I’ve seen a fair few Opening Ceremony’s in my time, having competed in four Olympic and four Commonwealth Games. Mind you, of those eight Games, I’ve only ever attended one ceremony live (and that was a practice ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand). Yep, it was amazing. I sat watching as thousands of dancers, acrobats and artists paid tribute their heritage and I left the stadium feeling fully entertained and ready to perform my own opening act on track some days later.
“What I enjoyed about London’s opening act was that it was original, entertaining and was able to relate to all age groups.
“The first hour told the story of the Industrial Revolution and the country’s contribution to what makes us a great and proud nation - the NHS and multi-culture, whilst the second part of the ceremony reflected our passion and ground-breaking contribution to music including Sir Paul McCartney and the face of Grime, Dizzee Rascal.
“The highlight for me was Rowan Atkinson and his homage to the famous movie Chariots of Fire. Hilarious.
“Another great moment was watching the seven young athletes light the Olympic Cauldron. These Games were won on a promise of changing the landscape of grassroots sport, so it was only fitting that the next generation of Olympic hopefuls should play a leading role.
“Inspiring more young people to get involved in sport and in particular StreetGames is key to creating a meaningful and lasting legacy. Our plans to make that happen are already underway with 1,000 Doorstep Sport Clubs. Now that’s what I call success.”
StreetGames on the Community Channel's London360
Time for Tom: 30th July 2012 »
Sammy the Squirrel on Tom Daley
Right next to the old ash tree where I was born, they’ve built a whacking great building which looks like a paper saucer that has warped when too much milk has been poured into it.
Shinned up the outside the other day to have a gander through one of the windows and saw lots of humans wearing skinny little shorts jumping off ledges into a curiously-shaped pond of water. Strange, I’ve never seen a pond with so many straight edges – and corners. Not like the old watering hole Uncle Sid Squirrel used to take me along to when I was a pup. How full it was depended on how much rain there had been. I definitely liked putting my head in a lot more when it had because it didn’t half pong in the summer with lots of algae floating around and a frog hopping out in front of you when you least expected it.
Actually, some of these humans in the deformed milk saucer looked a bit like cavorting frogs as they jumped off the ledges. Well, cavorting frogs that were in danger of being stung by a wasp as they headed into the water, twisting themselves into all manner of positions as they tried to swat it away. Don’t think the wasp followed them into the water, though, or if it did it would have drowned in the splash.
Come to think of it, one of the humans didn’t make much of a splash. Looked like he didn’t mind being hassled by pests or maybe he’s just used to it in his red, white and blue skinny shorts. Or maybe it was the screams from a gaggle of young female humans with long hair and short dresses which made him jump off the ledge into the water. Trouble was, they were still screaming when he came up for air. Like us squirrels who can’t stay under water for more than five seconds, he couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I couldn’t quite make out what they were screaming but it was something like: “Cum ontom! Mar im etom!”
Couldn’t be doing with all that noise if I wanted a drink. Think I prefer the old watering even if it was smelly ..
Thank you note from StreetGames Maddisons for their chance to carry the Olympic torch
0 Days to Go: 27th July 2012 »
This is the time when our partnerships with Sport England, The Co-operative and Coca Cola Great Britain come into their own. Together we leave a legacy from the Games on the doorstep of some of the poorer neighbourhoods in the UK where there are too few sporting opportunities for young people. 2012 Voices is our celebration of the Games. It is our celebration of the young people inspired to become involved in sport through the opportunities the Games brings and of all the coaches and volunteers who work in less than glamorous sports settings but who know they have the best job in the world. We hear from:
- Participants in StreetGames projects up and down the country on what being involved in StreetGames in 2012 means to them
- Competitors taking part in our neighbourhood and mass participation festivals
- Coaches and young volunteers from The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers programme who work for those local organisations which run StreetGames sessions
- Individuals and companies who fundraise for us through sponsored and social events
- And some of the 1,200 young people who are going to London 2012 through our campaign to take young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to see live sport - Give and Go.
It has been invaluable to be sponsored by Coca-Cola Great Britain during the Games. They have showered our network with opportunities to be a part of it. We hear the insider’s view from some of those 50 StreetGames people who, thanks to Coke, were Olympic Torchbearers and from another 50 young people who are working on Coke’s Venue Operations Teams on the Olympic sites. Sammy the StreetGames Squirrel appears, too. Our mascot has been out and about around the country distributing tickets through the Give and Go scheme and posing for photos with passers-by as he takes a real Olympic Torch to StreetGames projects and town centres. We set out to give young people from deprived communities an equal sporting chance and be inspired by the London 2012 through the actions, opportunities and values of StreetGames. Now we hope that they will inspire you.
Jane Ashworth, CEO
Sammy's Team GB favourites – Part 1
I’ve seen lots of humans splashing about in, and jumping into water, but it seems a lot more sensible to hitch a ride in a boat rather than getting wet when you don’t have to. If nothing else, it takes so long to dry your fur. There’s one human I’ve seen who goes round in a boat quicker than anyone else.
And I mean round – and round. Makes me dizzy. Maybe it’s because the other boats are chasing him that he keeps going around these big balls bobbing up and down in the water. He must have lots of nuts they are trying to steal.
Can you guess who it is? (Answer on Monday)
What does sport and London 2012 mean to participants at the FridayFusion club at Newcastle Council’s StreetGames project?
Ronan Davison, 14: “Sport is the thing that motivates me the most. When I am motivated I do well. As a result when I do well I am at the peak of my enjoyment.”
Christine Chui, 12: “Sport means courage and support.”
Jackie Chui, 17: “London 2012 encourages me to reach for my dreams.”
Michelle Mangwi, 12: “StreetGames for me means doing sport and hanging out with friends.”