Olympic Torch Relay celebrations underway one year on

Celebrating the Olympic Torch Relay one year on, one legacy programme will be honouring people who have helped bring Olympic spirit to life in their local communities. 

Community Games – an Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy programme funded by the Social Action Fund and delivered by the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) and the YMCA – has organised a 70 day long celebration to mark the one year anniversary of the torch’s arrival.

Mirroring the steps of the Olympic Torch Relay route, Community Games will be holding an event, every day during the 70 day Community Games Relay in England.

The community led sporting and cultural initiative will be shining a spotlight on each location, in England, that last year’s Olympic Torch Relay passed through. It will be showcasing the legacy created within local communities and demonstrating the power of volunteering.

Just like the Olympic and Paralympic Games paid tribute to torchbearers across the country; the Community Games Relay will also pay homage to a representation of the 36,000 volunteers who have helped light up their communities and create a lasting legacy of London 2012, through Community Games.

Seventy  people will be selected as Community Games’ ‘shining lights’ to receive a commemorative jersey and take part in a celebration at the Olympic Park on day 70 (July 27).

Starting this Sunday, on May 19 in Land’s End, and finishing up at the Olympic Park on day 70, July 27, events range from bicycle ballets right through to pram races in parks.

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd said:

"The 2012 Games showed people what is possible when they come together and get involved. A strong country is built on solid communities, which is why we have awarded Community games support through the Social Action Fund, helping more people improve where they live and discover what a rewarding experience volunteering is."

Lee Mason, Chief Executive of the County Sports Partnership Network agreed, saying:

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 inspired so many people to come together to enjoy sporting and cultural activities and in its wake has left behind a legacy in communities all over the country.

We are thrilled that so many people want to continue the legacy of the Games in their own communities, through Community Games.

We polled leaders of local games last year and 60 per cent said they would like to hold a Community Games again this year and I am delighted to announce we already have 500 games registered.”

Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England, said:

“It is thanks to Community Games that the spirit of London 2012 will live on for years to come in people, and especially young people, across England.

The YMCA has always worked to bring young people together with their families and friends in their own community. Community Games provides the perfect platform for them to do this.”

Last year more than one million participants took part in the 1,600 Community Games held with the support of 36,000 volunteers.

If you would like to organise a Community Games or to find out when the Community Games Relay arrives in your area log on to www.communitygames.org.uk.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Community Games:

  • The Community Games programme was launched in the West Midlands in 2009 and was originally funded for three years by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Last year 1,648 Community Games took place involving more than one million participants and 36,847 volunteers.
  • Community Games is inspired by the Wenlock Olympian Games founded by Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850 and still held annually in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. The Wenlock Olympian Games were the inspiration behind the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games when Baron Pierre du Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, visited the games in 1890. The Community Games programme pays homage to a community event that inspired a global event, and now uses that global event to inspire a new raft of community events.

The YMCA:

  • Founded 168 years ago, the YMCA in England is made up of 121 member YMCAs working to ensure that young people have opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to their communities.
  • YMCA operates in over 530 different communities in England impacting upon the lives of over 500,000 people every year.
  • Every night YMCAs provide over 9,000 beds for young people. The YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of safe, supported accommodation for single men and women aged between 16-30 years old.
  • The YMCA enables nearly 24,000 people every year to engage in education, skills and training to enable them to improve their opportunities in the job market.
  • The YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of health and wellbeing services promoting physical activity.
  • For further information please visit http://www.ymca.org.uk

The County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN):

  • The County Sports Partnership Network brings together 49 County Sports Partnerships from across England, and is responsible for supporting the delivery of national sports policy at a local level by shaping it to the needs of local communities.
  • The CSPN contributes to the health of the nation by helping local people lead healthier, active lives. The CSPN brings together the knowledge and expertise of a range of local delivery partners – including local authorities, clubs and schools – which enables it to use resources in the most efficient way possible to deliver sport in local communities.

Donna Roddy, Citydesk Sport, on behalf of Community Games.

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