Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
3 MARCH 2010
Q1 Chairman: Good morning. This is a
further session of the Committee's inquiry into preparations for
the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012 in which we are
focusing specifically on the legacy. I would like to welcome Mark
Dolley, Managing Director of Taking Part, and Tessa Sanderson,
board member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, founder of Newham
Sports Academy, and also a very successful Olympian. Would either
of you like to make a short statement?
Ms Sanderson: Thank
you. Good morning, and thank you for inviting me here this morning.
The physical legacy of the Games will be important to east London,
but the most crucial Games legacy is about people. The London
2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a fantastic opportunity
for Newham and the entire East End of London. Never again will
there be such a chance to deliver lasting improvements in the
lives of local people. The five host boroughs represent the most
concentrated area of deprivation in the country. Despite our proximity
to the wealthy financial heart of London we lag behind the rest
of the capital in terms of employment, poverty, health and education.
The promise of addressing this imbalance and regenerating the
area, what has come to be known as convergence between the East
End and the rest of London, was a central part of our bid and
one of the decisive factors in securing the Games. In order to
deliver this promise we need to learn the lessons of previous
Games. The physical regeneration of the borough and the new infrastructure
will not necessarily deliver social regeneration and conversion.
Far from being an afterthought, social legacy needs to be put
right at the heart of planning for the Games. The key is about
joining local people with investment so they may benefit. There
have been numerous examples of large scale regeneration projects
which have failed to achieve outcomes for existing residents,
and Newham's Employment Workplace have helped over 3,600 people
into work since it was set up in 2007. It is also needed to create
aspirations in our communities which is why I created the Newham
Sports Academy with Tessa Sanderson. I competed in six consecutive
Olympic Games from 1976 to 1996. I now sit on the Olympic Park
Legacy Company, and I know some of my colleagues will be in later
on to answer all the technical questions that need to be answered
on that. I won the Olympic Games Gold medal in 1984 for my country,
which I was very proud of. I now run the Newham Sports Academy,
and it is a project that was set up just after the Olympic bid
was won. As an East End of London resident who passionately feels
a lot about sport and the community and has involvement in many
local community sport and volunteer initiatives in east London,
I am greatly enthused by the 2012 Games, and it is great to see
the physical changes happening in east London. However, the majority
of my work is not about physical buildings but inspiring people
to make the most of themselves and use the Games as a catalyst
to improve. There were a lot of promises made by the DCMS and
some of those are being fulfilled. The Newham Sports Academy is
a sports academy I created for the London Borough of Newham which
helps to take the most promising athletes on to the next level
for disabled and non disabled people and to prepare them for the
elite sports programme. We have over 60 very talented youngsters
on our books, of whom some will compete on home territory in 2012.
The programme is based on total talent identification and working
with several experienced coaches, both from disabled and non disabled
sports, and this has also led to some of them going to universities
and colleges and helped to create a great pathway for jobs for
them. Many of them have also taken part in several high profile
international and national competitions and the latest, whom you
may or not know, is Vicky Ohuruogu, a young 16-year old who competed
last week in Birmingham and shed three seconds off her personal
best from last year. Emmanuel Okpokiri is another youngster who
runs the 110m hurdles coached by Tony Jarrett.
Q2 Chairman: Tessa, I am sorry to
interrupt you but we are going to be slightly pressed for time,
we have a lot of questions, so perhaps I can draw this to a close
and ask you to bring out some of your points during the questions?
Ms Sanderson: Finally, then, I
would just like to say that British sport is very fragmented and
littered with competing and conflicting interests and complicated
functions which lead us to continually hold the begging bowl,
and that does not help us to unearth and nurture the talent we
find, and we must address that.
Mr Dolley: People like Tessa,
Olympians, people who work in the Olympic movement, clearly ask
themselves constantly what more they can do. It is worth quickly
recognising that if there is an opportunity to do more on legacy
it is only because things have gone really well so far at breathtaking
speed with the build, and the organising committee has done a
fantastic job with the development in the teeth of a recession,
so I would like to give a quick nod to those immense achievements
before going into questions.
Q3 Philip Davies: One of the most
important ambitions for the legacy from the Olympics is increased
sporting participation. We would be interested in knowing whether
you think the Government are doing enough and taking enough practical
steps to guarantee that increased sporting participation really
will be a legacy in these Olympic Games.
Mr Dolley: We have all seen the
numbers and seen that progress is clearly being made. There are
600,000 more people doing more sport since the bid was won, and
a lot of practical steps, be they free swimming, the creation
of a dance champions group, the creation of a physical activity
alliance. If the question is can a little more be done, my sense
is quite possibly so, yes.
Q4 Philip Davies: But if you are
linking, say, free swimming to increased sporting participation,
which may well be the case, that is not really a legacy of the
Olympics. You can introduce a free swimming initiative whether
you are hosting the Olympic Games or not. What I am really trying
to pin you down on is whether or not the Government is doing enough
with regard to an Olympics legacy to introduce these participatory
sports, rather than other measures which have nothing to do with
Mr Dolley: I do not think they
can really be completely separated. Would a lot of these programmes
have happened were the Olympics not coming? Probably not. Would
the Exchequer funding for sport be where it is were the Olympics
not coming? Probably not. That said, could yet more be done? People
in the Olympic movement, as I say, always think potentially more
could be done.
Q5 Philip Davies: What do you envisage
being different this time? All the evidence we have taken shows
that when a host city hosts the Olympics there is no real increase
in sporting participation afterwards. We have found exactly the
same with the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, which had no impact.
In fact, sporting participation went down, if anything, afterwards.
People equate it to Wimbledon, where the tennis courts are packed
for two or three weeks while Wimbledon is on and a few weeks later
nobody plays tennis again. What is going to be different about
this Olympic Games where, unlike any other Olympic Games in the
past, all of a sudden we are going to have more people participating
in sport as a result?
Mr Dolley: One thing that has
been different is that from the very outset there has been an
explicit ambition to link an increase in mass participation to
the Olympic Games, and the evidence has shown that past Olympic
hosts have not always been successful, rarely so, in using the
Olympic Games to increase mass participation. They did not always
try. The key difference here is an effort is being made and that
is leading to a whole range of programmes. You mentioned the Wimbledon
effect. The Olympic movement understands the demonstration effect,
which is the ability of Olympic athletes to inspire. That said,
there is also perhaps a need for a second effect which has been
identified through some work done by the University of Canterbury
for the NHS which is that we could possibly be creating a festival
effect around London 2012, explicitly linked to it, in order to
encourage people who have become disconnected from sport to reconnect.
It is this notion that if you have become disconnected from sport
you are probably not going to be that directly inspired just by
the sight of Olympians and you probably need to be drawn back
into sport by something that transcends sport. Is there the opportunity
to do something in that particular field? Yes, I believe so.
Q6 Philip Davies: Do you think the
Government's target of increasing participation in sport by two
million people is realistic and achievable or pie in the sky?
Mr Dolley: It is achievable and
not pie in the sky. However, clearly there is a lot more that
needs to be done. Just taking that first year, where they need
to hit 200,000 a year to make that target, they hit 115,000 on
sport in that first year but a lot of the programmes had not really
started to bite because sport has been pretty heavily restructured
recently, so the programmes have not really had time. There will
be a clearer picture in six months or so, but obviously the progress
needs to pick up pace if that is to be achieved.
Ms Sanderson: I think it is achievable
as well. Since I have been working over in Newham I have never
before seen so many young people and adults taking part in sport
and doing different kinds of sport. We are linking very much with
a lot of the schools and colleges, and people through word of
mouth are linking in with the programmes that I am doing over
in Newham, especially with the estates-based programmes that we
have created and the talent identification that we are doing from
the Academy. There is a lot more mass participation and we are
trying to raise awareness.
Q7 Philip Davies: With respect, it
is not everywhere around the country that can call upon an Olympic
gold medallist to run and promote a scheme, and to a certain extent
what you are doing in Newham is not particularly typical of what
can happen in every pocket of the country. You have a special
status which other places might not be able to benefit from.
Ms Sanderson: Thank you, but I
do think other places would be able to benefit from what I am
doing. This is a programme that can be rolled out nationally.
We have a lot of ambassadors in and around the country like myself
who have won medals in their disciplines, and this is where I
think national governing bodies and partners can come together
and work with programmes, like I do, in other boroughs, other
parts of the country, and wider London, and roll it out. I do
think it is a programme that can be rolled out nationally and
work and be very successful.
Q8 Mr Ainsworth: Tessa, can I just
take you back to your opening remarks because you said something
I thought was particularly interesting. It might just have been
the way you said it, but what you said was there had been lots
of promises from DCMS and some of them are being kept, and you
emphasised the word "some". Could you touch on some
of the areas where you are disappointed?
Ms Sanderson: I have the promise
here of what was asked of the DCMS, which was making the UK a
world class sporting nation. We are fulfilling that because we
are getting people and facilities and doing really well, transforming
the heart of east London, but I think one of the aspects of that
is when it comes to branding, which we are looking for from the
financial side of it to make sure that what we have to help move
the programme on for youngsters and programmes to come together
with sponsorships and all these sort of things, we are not living
up to that. There are ways we can try and turn that situation
around so we can use the branding of LOCOG and the IOC to help
create a little bit more finance, so smaller programmes can become
effective and workable. We need to enhance that a little bit more
because that has become more or less a blockage for a lot that
needs to be done.
Mr Dolley: The IOC and LOCOG have
clearly gone further than any previous Olympic Games organising
committee in rolling out the Inspire mark programme, and we have
already seen a lot of programmes like National School Sport Week
badged with the Inspire mark so the explicit link has been created
between the programmes and the Olympic brand. That said, is there
scope to get even more programmes badged with an Olympic brand
that affect community sport? Almost certainly.
Q9 Mr Sanders: Tessa, can I ask what
you think are the greatest barriers to young people taking up
and continuing to participate in sport?
Ms Sanderson: What I found when
I started the Newham Academy was that young people need to be
given the opportunity to use facilities without having to go in
and pay. I had some of the young kids come up to me and say they
had to try and get as little as £5 from their parents to
go to a club to find facilities to train that were accessible
to them, get competition clothing, travel to and from competitionthe
whole package. We also need to find experienced coaches to go
into the schools and colleges to encourage them to come out and
take sport and show them that sport is a great pathway, and convince
them to take up sport. That is where I, as an ambassador, came
in and made it a little easier for them to understand and realise
that we are trying to put them to a better platter. So, to answer
your question, it was being able to access the facilities without
it costing an awful lot of money, and also having the right coaches
to coach them when they are there, and to sustain that programme
Q10 Mr Sanders: The Olympics is obviously
going to be a showcase for elite athletes. Is there a danger that
that can put people off, that the targets are too high, that it
is seen as unobtainable to reach the peak that these elite athletes
are able to reach? Is that ever a barrier? Or are there role models
that encourage people to get involved?
Ms Sanderson: Maybe it is wrong
to say this but I find the elite athletes are being looked after
very well, as such, it is just that at the grass roots the gap
is so big. For the elite the funding has worked in full but at
the grass roots you are seeing very little being trickled in,
and we need to bridge that gap so we can get more or less on to
a level platter. The problem is just bridging that gap in between,
and encouraging them to feel that they are not at a loose end.
Q11 Mr Sanders: It is going to take
an enormous amount of resource to do that, is it not, if you are
going to provide top notch facilities almost available free of
charge at the grass roots in order to break down those barriers
and give people the same degree of quality facility and coaching
that is available to the elite athlete? That surely is unrealistic,
is it not?
Ms Sanderson: There are a lot
of barriers in a sense, and you are right that not all facilities
are accessible, but I think it is how hard one works at it. When
I first went to Newham, of course, I had to go and talk to the
people in and around and break the doors down for people like
Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) and the universities, so we could
get the strengthening conditioners and biomechanicals and all
the things that were necessary. That did create a barrier and
I should not have to do that. One of the biggest things was the
funding that enabled me to go out and engage the coaches that
I wanted and find the people from the talent identification that
I wanted, and had Newham not done that I would never have been
able to do that, and that to me is not right. To me, that should
be addressed by the governing bodies and by the Government to
make sure that all those things are in place, so when our champions
have moved on and done well the grass roots are taken care of
and come up slowly behind to make sure we have champions ready
for when our major championships come about. It is about accessing
facilities, finding the funding, and making sure they are easily
accessible for people and youngsters to get involved in.
Q12 Mr Sanders: It is obvious there
is a big physical presence in the Olympics in the East End of
London and there is a lot riding on it being a success, but what
about my constituents in South Devon, within an area of 250,000
population? We do not even have an all-weather running track.
How are people in my area, 200 miles from London, going to feel
part of this and want to engage in sports?
Ms Sanderson: That is a very tough
one but I can only go with what I am doing at the moment. I have
been to Manchester, Bolton, and other areas where I have been
working with this scheme but off my own bat, using my own coaches
to bring them there, encouraging schools as much as I can to get
involved, and trying to involve the rest of the country in the
fact that the Olympic Games is coming. In a way the Games belong
not just to London but the whole of the country. I have been to
the Games and I see how it can regenerate and inspire others to
take up sport, but what I have been doing, as I said, is working
in Newham, taking it to various other parts and trying to roll
out what I am doing, because I do think it is workable. Now it
is up to people or the group I am with to be committed to go to
these areas, or to be commissioned to go to these areas and work
with the ambassadors in those areas and try and replicate the
same thing. Then you will see further benefits in your area. It
is the responsibility of the local boroughs and areas for them
to say, "Listen, we would like to be a part of this, let's
open our doors to these youngsters and try and help to do this".
Mr Dolley: Similarly with regard
to your constituency, even though a lack of facilities may have
precluded the constituency signing up for a pre-Games training
camp, it would not preclude, for example, a community sports festival
taking place in the park with the presence of Olympians. So there
will still be opportunities for engagement pieces.
Ms Sanderson: Yes. There are sports
development people working all over the country, and I know they
are ready and open to engage in sports, engage in youngsters.
I hasten to say a lot of this is about funding and making sure
we have the right funding in place for people to be able to conduct
these programmes and schemes, and for the right programmes to
be put in place. That can be done.
Q13 Janet Anderson: Mark, you mentioned
community sports festivals and your brainchild, the Taking Part
project, is a very ambitious project. Could you tell us where
you are up to with it and how you intend to deliver it?
Mr Dolley: Yes. The idea is broadly
to deliver a series of community sports festivals, starting with
a trial event this coming summer, and please do all come along,
if I can mark your dance cards for 25 July, in Mile End Park.
Why there? Because it allows for the testing of the co-location
of a number of sports facilities. There is a good track, a good
swimming pool and so forth, and it allows us to prepare for the
ambition in 2011 which is to have a series of community sports
festivals on 24 July, the Sunday of LOCOG's open weekend, which
has been a very successful programme. The chain of festivals throughout
the UK would be anchored by a major festival inside the Olympic
Park itself, opening it up for the first time for community use
and grass roots sports use.
Q14 Janet Anderson: What happens
at these festivals? What is a typical day?
Mr Dolley: A typical day will
start at a reasonable hour in the morning, it is not your standard
10k race where you are expected to be at an industrial park on
the outskirts of town at 8am to go running. A typical day will
involve 25,000 people, of which 15,000 would go for a walk before
coming back to the festival. The whole of the 25,000 people would
attend the festival. The festival would be something that transcends
sport, goes beyond it and looks at physical activity, bringing
in dance, for example, which is extremely popular with young people
right now, and cultural elements. It is the notion that to reach
the sedentary you create a series of festivals that are more than
just about sport, because the people are not going to go down
to the park for a sports day, so you have something that is more
Q15 Janet Anderson: Are these activities
Mr Dolley: Yes. There would be
a ticketing issue only for the 15,000 people doing the walk. The
festival element would then be free after the walk, and the further
10,000 people at each of these events would be able to go with
no barriers to entry straight to the park, and take part in the
festival on a free basis.
Q16 Janet Anderson: How are you marketing
this? How are you letting people know about it?
Mr Dolley: The idea is to work
with commercial partners. If you look at the reach of the commercial
partners involved in the Olympics it is astonishing. For example,
one funder of the Olympic Games, the National Lottery, which has
done so much to fund British sport ever since it was created,
reaches within two miles of 96% of the UK population through 28,000
of those screens. They have tremendous reach. If you look at the
Olympic partners in the UK in general there are nearly a million
employees, so you can reach those before you have even counted
their families. Reach is not really an issue.
Q17 Janet Anderson: Is it these same
sponsors who are funding Taking Part?
Mr Dolley: The idea is to work
within the Olympic commercial framework. If you would like to
do something with an explicit Olympic link then clearly you are
constrained by that commercial framework. That said, there does
seem to be a hearty appetite for these festivals.
Q18 Janet Anderson: So there is sufficient
funding available for this?
Mr Dolley: I believe so, on an
ongoing basis, although I am in discussions with DCMS and Department
of Health with regard to some seed funding to get the first year's
event up and running. Thereafter there is no central Government
call on public funds.
Q19 Janet Anderson: What evidence
is there that these sort of one-off community events increase
Mr Dolley: It is really about
the way they are designed. People in sports development in the
world have been doing Come and Try Days since time immemorial.
In order to make them effective you have to make sure the local
community clubs are engaged and are delivering so that people
will then have a relationship with that club. For example, we
have had discussions with regard to Mile End Park and the test
event there, the idea being that even though Olympians may come
from all across the UK to paddle on Regent's Canal, the community
engagement piece would be run by the community sports club that
is going to be the tenant of the new white-water course up in
Broxbourne. You make sure local people are being connected with
local providers, who they may even know already.