Sunday, 19 July 2009
Stars shine on Ivybridge as hundreds of youngsters participate in Street Athletics
Hundreds of residents gathered on Ivybridge last week for the local heats of Street Athletics, a community-focused youth engagement programme created by Olympic Gold medalists Linford Christie and Darren Campbell, both of whom came along to the event. The 2009 programme will incorporate 24 venues nationally followed by the London Final on Saturday 6th September and the National Final in Manchester on Saturday 20th September.
Unlike some "celebs" who turn up to engagements with agents in tow and sign a few autographs and pose for a few photos before disappearing as quickly as they had arrived, Linford and Darren remained throughout the event - in which youngsters of all ages participated, cheered on by parents, friends and wellwishers - chatting to the locals and encouraging the youngsters. As well as kids from Ivybridge, there were delegations from other parts of the neighbourhood including a team going under the name of the "Worton Warriors". Community councillors Paul Fisher, Shirley Fisher and Dr. Genevieve Hibbs were there to support the event, as well as Councillor John Todd from Chiswick and, not least of course, the Mayor.
This hugely successful project was facilitated by Hounslow Positive Futures (ably managed by Jen Emeny from the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust) and Nuff Respect.
The very considerable support shown for this project, following on from the similarly successful Ivybridge Fun Day held a couple of days earlier, demonstrates the vast reservoir of enthusiasm and goodwill that exists on Ivybridge, as elsewhere in Isleworth, when our people are motivated. There was a clearly perceptible sense of community spirit and pride around these events which reassures those of us who desire to build a strong and engaged community that it is there for the taking once we have succeeded in getting the attitude right throughout the local authority.
The advantages of projects like this one for Community Cohesion cannot be overstated. There was nothing that divided the people who came out onto Summerwood Road last week to take part in this massively successful event and Darren and Linford by their presence and attitude empitomised everything that was great and positive about our society.
I believe it is imperative that we do as much as we can to garner this new positivity in the months remaining to us within the administration at the council and, if following next year's local elections fate gives us another crack of the whip, to cement it irrevocably into the heart of our local thinking.