Thursday, 23 April 2009

There's absolutely no 2012 legacy in Greenwich so we'll have to make some up

swim4free logoWednesday 1 April 2009 saw the launch of the UK government's two-year £140m national "public swim programmes" which aim to encourage people of all ages to swim regularly as a way to improve their health and well-being, and which are open to everyone but free for under 16s and over 60s: the Swim4Free programme is part of the £75m social marketing campaign Change4Life launched on 3 January 2009 and being run by the Department of Health to help prevent childhood obesity.

Local councils up and down the country are participating in the Swim4Free pilot scheme, from Rochdale to Harrow, from Chichester to Wakefield, and in Kirklees, Lancaster, Leeds, Exeter. (But in some councils children have been able to Swim4Free since about 2004.)

In Greenwich (and on parts of the BBC), Swim4Free is being "spun" as if it was part of the planned legacy of the 2012 Olympics. "Legacy" of the Olympics means after the Olympics, so Swim4Free cannot be an Olympic legacy as the scheme ends in March 2011, more than a year before the Olympics. (Click on the image on the left to bring up a larger version, if you wish to read the text.)

The Olympic Delivery Authority must be absolutely desperate, scrabbling around and "annexing" existing initiatives to demonstrate "legacy" to the IOC. (Note to Lord Coe and Councillor Fahy: Swim4Free is a two-year scheme that ends in March 2011, so it can't be a "legacy" of something happening a year later.) RM

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