News & reviews


Bath & the Olympics – What’s happening in our region

B&NES’s ‘Get Active Conference’ on 7 February, highlighted the various ways that local communities could become more physically active and involved in sport. B&NES Council and NHS B&NES want to ensure that as many of us as possible will benefit from the focus on the 2012 Olympics & Paralympics.

You may know that Team Bath at the University of Bath is hosting individuals and squads who are training for the Olympic Games, including the Paralympic GB team.

At the conference, we heard from local councillors, the Sports & Active Lifestyles team, West of England Sport Trust (Wesport), the Cultural Forum, Paralympic swimmer Kate Grey and, as keynote speaker, the vibrant gold medallist Kriss Akabusi.

There’s a lot planned (and already happening): here’s a summary of the local events and initiatives.

1. Olympic Torch Relay – the torch will pass through Bath on Tues 22 May, with each selected torchbearer carrying it for 300m. The route information and map can be found here: You are welcome to decorate your house/street with bunting etc in the Olympic colours: gold/red/white/blue.

There will also be a World Record attempt to form the largest 'Human Olympic Rings' in Royal Victoria Park, at lunchtime on 22 May, ahead of the arrival of the Torch Relay. The Council hopes to attract 5,000 people to take part. More information about this in the events listings on this site or go to

2.Gold Challenge* – this is where you take up a fitness/activity challenge and raise money for charity at the same time. More information about B&NES Council’s Gold Challenge here:

• Aquaterra at Bath Sports & Leisure Centre are hosting a Gold Challenge Weekend on the weekend of 25/26 February for people to try out Olympic and Paralympic sports for free. It is also a family event and an Inclusion Day, so everyone is welcome. See!-take-on-an-olympic-sports-and-raise-money-for-charity

• Team Bath at the University are also hosting ‘Gold Rush’ events (in conjunction with the Gold Challenge): a Corporate Charity Challenge day on 27 April and an Open Day (including annual Olympic Day run) on 23 June.

3. Community & legacy projects

Sport Makers* – this is part of the Sport England programme and was launched in 2011 to activate grassroots sports volunteers. If you are aged 16+ and can volunteer at least 10 hours, you will be asked to attend a short local workshop and then can select from a list of local organisations or sports clubs who need volunteers to help them, or you could set up your own activity (eg a 5-a-side competition). You could also get involved by signposting/promoting activities or encouraging others to be more active etc. See more information at or sign up at

Sportivate• – a programme to provided sporting opportunities for 14–25 year olds to engage them in more activity. Sportivate offers six weeks of free coaching at a local venue, with the hope the participants will continue to play when the six weeks are up. Minerva Bath Rowing Club have already run a successful ‘Sportivate Learn to Row’ course, with all the attendees continuing to row. To find out more, see

• If you’ve got a suitable project that needs funding, you could try applying for a Community Empowerment Fund: grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that could help local communities. More information about this – and other funds – can be found on the council’s website:

*Initiatives that fall within the national mass participation legacy programme for London 2012 called ‘Places People Play’ (see

4. Cultural Olympiad – Bath’s involvement includes:

Art at the Edge – 30 bronze sport-themed sculptures have been commissioned and will be on view at Victoria Art Gallery in Bath (26 May – 1 July 2012). There will also be a city-wide themed sculpture trail (to be launched on 22 May). More info on this at:

Quest – this project has three main ways to take part: setting a community challenge; showcasing talent and achievements and creating a 2012 people’s archive. There are also six Quest themes. More information will be available from the interactive site (due to launch in March):

Battle for the Winds – a unique SW region theatrical event which will visit locations in B&NES during Spring/Summer 2012. See for more information.

• Various other events also linking in, see press and events listings etc.

5. Local celebrations – main events are:

[• 5 June – Picnic in the Park : a Queen's Diamond Jubilee event]

• 21 July – Sulis Sound Track: Festival of Music & Sport at Bath Racecourse.

• 25 August – Summer Carnival project and parade /  tbc

• 25 August – Flame Celebration (to give Paralympic athletes a send off). Free (but ticketed) family fun at the Rec.

• You might like to plan your own event with friends/your street/your club/etc (for example, an  ‘Opening Night In’ or ‘Super Saturday’ BBQ on 4 August). If you want to plan a celebration for the Games, you can get some ideas here: (This site also has more information about what’s on nationally and in the region.)

6. Other local 2012 events with an Olympics or Sports theme–

  • 2–18 March: Bath Literature Festival – see our list of relevant talks here
  • 25 March: Sport Relief Mile (see our events listings section for more info)
  • March–Dec 2012: Olympics history, sport & fashion talks series at BRSLI, Queen Square, Bath (
  • 3 June: Sky Ride Bath & Family Fun Day (see our events listings for more info)
  • 19 June–30 August: ‘Olympic Sports for All’ exhibition of local sporting heros and clubs at Radstock Museum (


Picture credit: Thanks to Jon for the photo of the Olympic Torch in Great Pulteney Street (and sorry I had to crop it to fit!)