'Grow and Sustain': the role of community sports provision in promoting a participation legacy for the 2012 Olympic Games

T. Charlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of the Sport England strategy in 2008, with the ambition to develop a ‘world leading community sports system’, offered the opportunity to truly engage grassroots sport delivery with the process of reversing the decline in active sports participation. Unfortunately this opportunity appears to have been missed, with the return to a top down imposition of a ‘sport for sport's sake’ agenda using unprepared and under resourced National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) as the agents of management and delivery, a model that has generally not proven to be successful in the past. It would appear, therefore, time to rethink community sports provision and to find alternative methods of delivery to realize the government's ambitious targets relating to 2012 London Olympics legacy. To add to the debate, this article provides a consideration of the provision and delivery of sporting opportunities in the context of a grassroots organization at community level. It discusses whether sports organizations that are controlled and organized locally facilitate and enable individuals to participate and whether they sustain sport and physical activity programmes on behalf of their residents. To adopt this approach would involve utilizing and enhancing the skills of local people in order to sustain and progress the opportunities offered by recruiting coaches, managers and administrators from the local residents. With this structure in place, it would enable all members of the community to volunteer, organize and meaningfully participate in, and contribute to, an innovation designed to promote healthy lifestyles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-366
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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