Rory has welcomed news that Kirkby Stephen Grammar School has secured £120,000 of Olympic legacy funding
from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund, part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark, celebrating the link to the Games.
This significant tranche of funding will allow the completion of the second phase of the community sports hall project at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, following completion of the main sports hall in July 2011. Pupils and local users will now be able to access toilets showers and changing rooms, as well as the first-floor community function rooms, previously incomplete due to insufficient funding. The Inspired Facilities funding has allowed Phase 2 to be completed, making the sports hall a fully functioning facility which will increase participation by pupils and community groups. As part of its development plan, there will be new clubs started, including one for disabled young people. The first floor area will be available to both sporting and non-sporting groups to use, either for hire or for parents and friends to wait or watch sporting events.
Rory said: “This is absolutely fantastic news, and I couldn’t be more pleased that the sports hall will be completed soon, allowing the facilities to grow and benefit not only the pupils and staff at KSGS, but the surrounding community as well. This is the year to celebrate sport and its ability to bring communities together, and I
am delighted that KSGS’s commitment to sport and the community has been recognised in this way.”
David Keetley, Headteacher, said: “We are delighted to secure the Inspired Facilities grant, which has finally enabled us to upgrade our sports hall. It is only right that Kirkby Stephen, with its long tradition of sport clubs and sporting success, should have a first-class facility, part-funded by the Olympic legacy. As a school, we have now raised some £720,000 to build this fantastic facility.”
Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said: “We want to use the Olympic and Paralympics next summer to inspire a generation to get involved in sport across the country. This is why as part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme we invited community sports clubs to apply for funding to upgrade their facilities.”
Notes to Editors:
Inspired Facilities is part of the Places People Play legacy programme. At least £52 million will be invested through Inspired Facilities. Responding to unprecedented demand, Sport England has made over £7 million of additional awards in the first round of investment decisions, taking the total to over £17 million. There will be four more funding rounds as part of Inspired Facilities, with the second round opening on 1 February 2012.
At least £35 million of the funding will go to community and voluntary organisations, through grants of between £20,000 and £50,000. The remaining funding will be open to a wider group of organisations, including councils and schools, with grants of up to £150,000 available.
To make sure the technical elements of the application process don’t put off groups with good projects, Sport England has created a catalogue of typical facilities developments and improvements, based on what sports clubs have told us they need.
Sport England is focused on the delivery of a mass participation legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We invest National Lottery and Exchequer funding in organisations and projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sport and create opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport.
For more information please contact the press office: Peter Dickinson
on 020 7273 1800.
I live in the northern English borders and I am the only MP whose constituency has the word “border” in its name (Penrith and The Border). Our northern boundary is the Western March: a territory which for four centuries had its own government and law. Like many of my constituents—and much of the British population—I am both Scottish and English. Two years ago, when I walked from my parents’ home in Scotland to my house in Cumbria, I was walking between two nations but I never felt I was leaving my country.
Our modern England-Scotland border is a Renaissance compromise finally brokered by a French ambassador to resolve the wild “debatable lands” that lay between the nations in 1552. But the constituency contains earlier borders: ten miles south of the modern line is the monstrous military encampment of Hadrian’s Wall, ditched, spiked, revetted, and manned by 10,000 for 300 years. Twenty miles further south is the Anglo-Saxon border at Eamont Bridge, from a time when all of Cumberland was outside England (it is not even in the Domesday book) and where the Kings of Britain met in treaty in 927. I have stood on each frontier, and stayed in farms on both sides and never seen a country’s difference between one patch of wet grass, one limestone crag, one nimble black-faced sheep, and another.
It was different when I walked across the frontiers between Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. In each case, within a few yards, I felt I was in a completely foreign land, in which every detail of manners, language, cuisine and context was altered. Related people lived on each side, but the change was final: for 400 miles across Turkey people drank coffee, 100 yards into Iran coffee had been replaced by black tea; green tea began only in Afghanistan.
In Britain, by contrast, the border forms more a unity than a division. For 700 years till the early middle ages we were the independent Kingdom of Cumbria and Strathclyde, stretching from Glasgow to Penrith—separate from Scotland and England, with a single Celtic language, laws, literature and dynasty. We were torn apart into two separate peoples by the propaganda and finance of Norman aristocrats on both sides of the border, who worked (often with the support of foreign powers) to deepen the divisions for four centuries, in order to sustain cross-border raids and proxy wars. The M6 may change its name at a shining sign saying “Failte Gu Alba” in Irish-influenced Gaelic (that no one ever spoke at Gretna), but that does not make that modern border any less artificial.
History, language, landscape and culture are strangely absent in the debate about the Union. Alex Salmond promotes Scotland as a virtual, high-tech economy, floating freely between Europe and the global markets. (His party’s website talks of “better, healthier, wealthier, greener, fairer, smarter… Scotland”). English opponents of the Union talk about money: about Scotland’s free eye tests, prescription charges and tuition fees. These should not be the arguments on which Great Britain is broken. This is not only because Scots have yet fully to digest the advantages of an independent sterling, UN security council membership, the British banking system and credit rating. Nor is it only because the English often forget that transfer payments happen all over England and (even if you discount North Sea oil) the total amount the southeast gives to Scotland is two years of winter fuel allowance, or about 1 per cent of the national budget. It is because a debate about the union is not about economics. It is about identity.
Alex Salmond has surprisingly little to say about Scottish identity. Even his Hugo Young lecture on “Scotland’s place in the world” is little more than a list of technocratic policy choices on welfare and economics. His final flourish from the Scottish national poet Burns is a quote not about Scottishness but about social equality: “for a’ that an’ a’ that, it’s coming yet, for a’ that.” Yet he still proposes a referendum to take the lively, powerful and flexible material of Britishness and tear it apart. He would force us each to choose an exclusive and separate identity, and in doing so split my family and indeed tens of millions of individuals like myself. This is false to who we are: not because we are free-floating cosmopolitans, too elusive to be pinned, but because we are British. And Britain is not a bland and placid unity: but a vigorous community, built of different nations.
No two British identities are alike: but all are invigorated by contradictions. My English nationalist neighbour’s contempt for the bagpipes, the Scottish rugby team, and Scottish politicians, seems not to affect his admiration for marching Scottish regiments, Eric Liddle’s triumph in Chariots of Fire, or David Stirling, the founder of the SAS. My 89-year-old father looks like a comic book Scot—he wears tartan trews and a tam o’shanter every day, eats haggis once a week, and did not go south of the border until he was 18. His study is piled high with Gaelic dictionaries and accounts of Bonnie Prince Charlie. He is certain that the Scottish education and legal systems are better than the English, and that the Black Watch was the greatest regiment. But he enjoys being part of a minority in Britain, made his career outside Scotland, and believes that independence would leave Scotland, diminished—in his words “a country of mini-men.”
Most of us can find Cumbria more homely than Scotland but the Highlands more invigorating than Devon, appreciate the architecture of Edinburgh but find London the greater city and our capital. We experience this both as members of nations and as citizens of a larger country whose geographical limit is the shores of our islands. Each of us feels an outsider in some part of our country, and is challenged by the pride of our fellow nations. Such contradictory energies are not a threat to Britain but have been, for centuries, the key to our vitality. This deep and flexible identity is true to our natures, and to the modern world. Reducing our identity reduces ourselves.
[This article originally appeared in Prospect magazine March 2012)