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Wakefield: Fears Olympic legacy will be hit by cuts axe

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  • by Stuart Robinson
 

Fears have been raised that government funding cuts could jeopardise the impact the Olympic legacy will have on Wakefield.

A report to Wakefield Council’s Lifelong Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee says a lack of cash to provide more opportunities to get involved in sport could harm the district’s chances of getting the most out of the aftermath of the London 2012 showpiece.

That is in spite of the opening of a landmark new swimming pool in Wakefield city centre, which was to be the cornerstone of the Wakefield Gold action plan to get more people involved in leading an active lifestyle.

A report to the committee, who will meet on December 17, says: “There is no doubt that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were a resounding success. The post-London 2012 period has been described as a once in a generation opportunity to get people physically active. However, the national picture is not so encouraging.”

It adds: “Despite the government promising to spend £1bn over the next five years on facilities and grass roots sport through Sport England, there are fears that local authorities facing budget cuts will cut spending on facilities and that ongoing uncertainty over the coalition government’s schools sports strategy could further undermine progress.”

The council’s service manager for Sport and Active Lifestyles will attend the meeting to look at key developments in the Wakefield district to try and inspire a generation to get more active.

They include the £10m Sun Lane Leisure facility, which opened in October.

The centre was formally opened by the Rotherham-born Olympic swimmer, Joe Roebuck.

The report adds: “The refresh of the council’s Sport and Active Lifestyle Strategy will address many of the challenges that lie ahead.

“But the expected rise in demand following the Olympics may be hampered by cuts to funding, capacity issues at local sports clubs and the availability of qualified coaches.”

 

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