In 2013 45 Community Games volunteers were recognized as ‘Shining Lights’ by CSPs for their contribution to organizing activities in their communities, inspiring more people to get active.
One volunteer John Finney continues to ensure the Olympic legacy continues with his tireless commitment to athletics in Staffordshire.
Johns efforts as Chair of the Staffordshire Athletics Network have, over the past year alone, enabled 20 new beginner running groups, engaging over 500 new runners to be established in the area and 19 new group leaders to be trained.
Funding from England Athletics has dwindled in recent years from £45,000 when the Network was established in 2009 to zero this year, but John has worked tirelessly to source alternative funding. Last year the Network was awarded over £26,000 of funding from Public Health which enabled the new groups to be established.
Despite some major setbacks this year including the withdrawal of funding and no longer having the money to employ a contracted part time co-coordinator, John has remained positive and looked at alternative options. Through John’s efforts, the Network has also recently secured Awards for All and Small Grants funding, with both projects aimed at getting new people into the sport, and they are employing a Co-ordinator on a self-employed basis.
Jane Kracke, Sports Manager from SPORT ACROSS STAFFORDSHIRE AND STOKE-ON-TRENT stated
“John has been the driving force behind the Staffordshire Athletics Network since it was established in 2009. The time and effort John puts into his role as Chair never ceases to astound me, and his refusal to take no for an answer and to continue to look at alternative sources of funding are the main reasons why the Network is still operating successfully and providing new opportunities for people to discover the joys of running.”
- The Community Games programme was launched in June 2010, as one of the West Midland's main programmes of activity running until the end of September 2012 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.The programme was inspired by the unique Olympic heritage of the West Midlands, the Wenlock Olympian Games.
- The programme was a great sucess and as a result, in late 2011, the County Sports Partnership Network and the YMCA, supported by Legacy Trust UK, made a successful application to the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund to roll out the programme across the country, and were awarded £2 million.
- Since 2012, there have been more than 4,260 Community Games events, supported by over 89,460 volunteers with an estimated 3 million people participating.
- The Community Games Relay celebrated the programme one year on and honoured people who helped bring the Olympic spirit to life in their local communities. Mirroring the Olympic Torch Relay route, there was an event every day during the 70 day Relay in England, with each one putting the spotlight on a local volunteer, the 'Shining Light'. Day 70 finished with a reception held at the Copper Box with Lord Coe being presented with the 70th Shining light t-shirt.