When Britain’s new Paralympic swimming star, Ellie Simmonds, declared she ‘didn’t want the Games to end’ she was speaking on behalf of the country.
Now, thanks to Community Games – a Cabinet Office funded programme – it is anticipated the legacy of the Games and Simmonds’ sentiment, will live on for years to come encouraging people all over the country to enjoy in their own min-Olympics, annually.
The grassroots project, which encompasses sporting and cultural activities, was originally set up in, and for, the West Midlands but was such a triumph it was later rolled out across the country.
One year on, nearly 2,000 Community Games have taken place throughout England attracting around two million people to them.
Graham Oatridge, Physical Activity Contracts Manager, for YMCA England -who is delivering the Community Games project alongside the County Sports Partnership Network – said it was an honour to be involved in the legacy programme.
“The Olympic and Paralympic Games brought people together from a variety of different communities and cultures in a way like no other.
We do not want these magical Games to become a distant memory, we want to keep the spirit of them alive in communities across England for years to come.
We can do this through Community Games, which have already successfully succeeded in uniting communities and families, throughout the Games, who have been able to enjoy their own Olympic moments.”
Lee Mason, Chief Executive, at the County Sports Partnership Network (CSP) said:
“Seb Coe said ‘the way we view sport has changed’ and he’s right. We want to keep the momentum going and encourage more people to become active. Community Games is a great way for those inspired by sport to try new activities in a welcoming and local environment.
Community Games are yet another success story of the Olympics and it’s my vision that future athletes will be stood on an Olympic podium claiming a gold medal in sport all because they were once inspired by a Community Games event.”
The brainchild of Legacy Trust UK, Community Games were inspired by the Wenlock Olympic Games, founded by Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850, which were also the inspiration behind the modern Olympic movement.