Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has today urged communities across the country to get 2012 off to a running start and make it their New Year’s resolution to host their own street games to celebrate the London Olympics in style.
The Minister called on the nation’s neighbourhoods to dive into the spirit of next year’s Games and host their own sporting events, whether in people’s back gardens, on nearby playing fields, in local community centres - or even in their streets.
To make it easier for these events to be staged, he has pressed councils to carry the torch for a fitter, sport-filled 2012 by ensuring there are no health and safety hurdles stopping communities in their tracks.
And where bad weather threatens to stop play, Mr Shapps called on local authorities to consider how community halls could become possible venues.
The Government is already targeting the myths that often prevent neighbourhoods from putting on their own events. These include:
- The need for a licence - organisers do not need a licence unless they plan to sell alcohol or charge for a performance.
- Fees charged for road closures - the Government has scrapped guidance that was used by councils as a means of charging people wanting to close their road - now councils will charge nothing for this.
- The need to buy expensive road signs and insurance - some councils lend signs and cones to organisers, while Streets Alive has downloadable signs on its website, which also includes advice on insurance.
- Plans to scrap the need for Temporary Entertainment Licences, making it easier for people to play music at their street games - under government proposals, rules requiring people to apply, and sometimes pay up to £35, for licences for many events where there is little or no risk of trouble would be scrapped.
Grant Shapps said:
As the country starts warming up for the 2012 Olympics, I want to be sure that no one has to wrestle with bureaucracy to be able to mark the occasion in style.
So I’m today calling on communities to make it their New Year’s resolution to get on the starting line and prepare for their own street games. And because all too often red tape gets in the way of these events taking place, I want councils to make it their goal in 2012 to high jump over regulations and fly the flag for those neighbourhoods wanting to take part.
Hosting street games will both help towards securing an enduring legacy for London 2012 of greater participation in sport, and give everyone a chance to take part in a fitting tribute to the Olympics. I would urge councils and communities across the country to start planning now.
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