Press release

Norfolk village dedicated to Olympic legacy wins Big Society Award

People in Hethersett, Norfolk have worked to improve residents' fitness and wellbeing and local facilities to keep the Olympic legacy alive.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Hethersett’s work in keeping the Olympic legacy alive has made them the first village to receive a Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.

Inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games, village groups and organisations in Hethersett worked together to create activities and sports associations with the vision of encouraging local people to commit to fitness.

From arranging Olympic themed weekends and the Norfolk Village Games, to setting up new clubs and a sports association, Hethersett’s commitment to sports has gained them national recognition for providing more events per capita than any other village, town or city in the country.

Since inception:

  • over 20 fitness and wellbeing groups have been put in place
  • over 200 residents are signed up the fitness related activities
  • 5 different sporting associations and clubs have been set up since the Olympics
  • £8500 in grants were given to schools in the Hethersett area in order to properly celebrate the Olympics

Other events have included ‘Hethersett’s Got Talent’, a major ladies five-a-side football tournament, a round-the-square two mile fun run, concerts, church services, swimming marathons and a “come and try” sports day offering over 20 sports for residents to play free of charge.

Health and nutrition related events also take place further promoting the fitness activities on offer in the village. A fittingly active Olympic Legacy committee was created to help ensure that the momentum and enthusiasm seen during the Olympics is not forgotten.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I’m delighted that the people of Hethersett were inspired by the Olympics to come together and promote sport and fitness for everyone in the village.

This Big Society award recognises Hethersett’s achievements and shows what people in communities across the country can achieve when they get behind something and volunteer to make a real difference in their local area.

Peter Steward, Chair of Hethersett said:

We have increased people’s awareness of what is on offer in the village by ensuring all our fitness groups are inclusive and open to everybody irrespective of age, sex, disability, colour or creed.

People coming to our village comment on our go-ahead and positive attitude, which comes through the number of people who give their time and energy voluntarily to enhance our environment and to work towards making us the ‘ultimate fitness and well-being village’. We are delighted to be recognised by the Prime Minister for our efforts. We believe anyone can do, and our village is an example of how to.

Hethersett’s commitment and contribution to the London Olympic spirit was further recognised during the Olympic torch relay in July 2012 with a special off-route visit from the London Olympic Torch.

Notes to editors

The population of Hethersett at the 2001 census was 5,441 people in 2,321 households.

Big Society style events have included an Open Weekend Line-up set up by the Olympic Committee, a 1948 Olympic exhibition during the 2012 games, newly funded play equipment supported by Norwich City midfielder Andrew Surman, an Olympic themed movie night at Hethersett High School, The Green Space health and wellbeing group and more. Find out more about Hethersett.

Full list of Big Society Award winners.

Published 14 March 2013