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Leisure Activities: Stroud

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she (a) is taking and (b) plans to undertake to improve the quality of life of residents of Stroud with particular reference to sporting and cultural activities. (112619)

The programmes supporting sporting and cultural provision offered by my Department and its non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are available in all towns of England, including Stroud.

Some examples of the many actions we have undertaken or plan to improve quality of life in Stroud include the following;

Since 1 May 1997 Lottery distributing bodies, which make funding decisions independently of Government, have made 394 awards, worth around £18 million, in the Stroud constituency. (This information is derived from the Department’s lottery grant database which uses information supplied by the lottery distributors.) This includes an award of £12.34 million in July 2004 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to British Waterways for the ‘Renaissance of the Cotswold Canals’.

Over £1.5 million of Sport England lottery funding has been invested in sport in Stroud since 2004. This includes a new Stroud and District School Sport Partnership established in September 2006 to increase the amount and quality of sports opportunities for pupils in the area as part of the National School Sport Strategy.

In addition, a Sports Development Service was launched in 2002 to provide a range of programmes and opportunities to residents, which has helped Stroud to achieve higher participation levels for sport and active recreation than the national average recorded by Sport England’s 2006 Active People survey.

We are committed to the potential benefits of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games being maximised across the whole of the UK, and are working closely with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Nations and Regions Group, which brings together representatives from every nation and region. Each nation and region is developing its own plan to maximise the impact of the Games in their area, as well as the wider opportunities to deliver a sustainable legacy from the Games.

With close proximity to London and the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy in neighbouring Dorset as the venue for all the 2012 sailing events, the Games will be a terrific boost for all the South West including Stroud.

South West Screen, the regional screen agency for the South West of England area, runs a number of schemes and services promoting cinema and film- making in the area. Specifically, it is supporting ‘Viewfinder’, a regional film festival seeking to build regional audiences for locally made films by emerging film-making talent, taking place in March. The Space, Stroud’s community arts centre, is one of the venues for the festival, which is expanding this year to make the consumption of locally made films a more sustainable enterprise.