The man who famously cornered a senior politician in a sandwich shop, now has his sights on the Commonwealth Games 2014 sponsors Atos.
Sean Clerkin and around 20 of the Citizens United group of campaigners, occupied the 2014 Games offices in Albion Street, Glasgow today (Tuesday 27 November 2012). They called for Atos, a global IT company which provided consulting and technology services for the recent Olympics, to be removed as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games 2014.
”This company is the same one that assess whether people are fit to work or to claim sickness or invalidity benefits,’ said spokesman Sean.
One of the protesters claimed Atos had only ten doctors to cover the North East of England and Scotland to make all the assessments. ‘They don’t have a clue,’ he said. ‘And they are not qualified to assess anyone with a mental health problem.’
Citizens United claim Atos has a 7 year contract worth more than £1 billion. ‘This is happening while the people of Glasgow are suffering and are being victimised by the same company and are being treated in a shocking and inhuman way during the assessments.’
One retired civil servant in the protest said: ‘Atos is involved in assessing if civil servants are fit to work or not after they’ve been off sick. If a person is declared unfit to work and applies for disability allowance, the same company turns round and assesses they are fit to work and therefore not entitled to any allowance.’
The Commonwealth Games 2014 senior press officer, Matthew Williams, said later: ‘We are very proud to have global IT experts Atos as part of Glasgow 2014′s sponsor family. The company has demonstrated unwavering commitment to driving forward the Paralympic movement by providing dedicated practical support to athletes for the last ten years. We are confident in the positive role Atos will play in helping us deliver an athlete centred and sports focused Commonwealth Games.”
In the Silverburn road show challenge : Everyone’s A Winner! individuals can cycle a mile in the Mall to raise funds for the Hub. More than 300 people did that last Sunday to take the fundraising past the £2000 mark.
For every mile cycled, Silverburn donates 60p to the Pollok Sports Hub.
The Sports Hub is the local umbrella charity which supports sports teams and encourages more young people to become involved in sport and more residents to use the Hub facilities.
Commenting on the efforts so far, Silverburn’s General Manger, David Pierotti, said: ‘For just 60 seconds of your time you can put money towards a potential future local Olympian.’
Kevin West, Sports Development Officer with Glasgow Life plays a large part in the Community Sports Hub and has been massively involved in the challenge on the mall. He said, ‘The funds raised by Silverburn will go towards raising the capacity of the sports clubs to provide Pathways not just for young people to participate in sport but also for local people to become involved as volunteers.’ The funds will go towards equipment, promotional materials, training and access opportunities.
The static cycle effort is stationed outside Debenhams until Sunday August 12. Further information on the Everyone’s a Winner’s road show: http://style.shopsilverburn.com/events
Gold medal-winning Olympian David Hemery visited Glasgow recently to give a masterclass to some of Glasgow’s aspiring sprinters, 400 metre hurdlers and coaches at Scotstoun Stadium.
David, 64, is one of Great Britain’s greatest hurdlers and a vocal supporter of athletics. Aged 24, he won a gold medal in the 400 metre hurdles event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, shattering a world record.
He also holds gold medals from the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games and enjoyed bronze and silver successes in the Munich Olympics of 1972.
David’s visit followed a seminar at Pitreavie Athletics Centre in Fife last year, when Glasgow athletes heard him speak on ‘how you recommend coaches work now and how you engage the enhanced self-awareness and self responsibility of the athletes’.
David said: ‘You’ll get far more from athletes when they learn from their own experience as well as from the coach. It’s a partnership.
‘It’s important they’re not utterly coach dependent because when they get into the heat of competition they have to be independent. So, if you can help them generate that level of self-awareness you’re helping to grow them and they engage their minds and focus and grow as people.’
David has a warning for parents, teacher and young people after years of observing athletics.
‘Sport is sliding off young people’s agenda,’ he said. ‘That, I think, is a great shame. Now I hear that physical education is sliding off the primary school agenda. I think there needs to be a balance, especially with young people.
‘Athletics is a basic run-jump-throw environment and I’d like to see that, and perhaps the ability to swim, in every school so the youngster can choose different activities.
‘It doesn’t have to be traditional sport, it can be mountain biking, dance, it doesn’t matter what it is but as long as it’s something they have a passion for and can work on to achieve their fitness level.
‘The cost to the country is going to be huge if children never get fit.’
He has a simple philosophy in spotting hurdling talent. ‘Some people enjoy jumping over things. It’s more fun than running in a straight line- but again, it’s important people try things.’
David added: ‘I was lucky that I had two coaches who really cared about me. If we could encourage coaches in this era to be on the children’s agenda as much as they are on their own agenda, that is something I would love to see.
‘We have to ask children what they enjoy doing more of and give them a spectrum of things to try.’
Bank of Scotland has re-affirmed its commitment to sport by extending its sponsorship of scottishathletics and BadmintonScotland.
In January, Bank of Scotland parent group Lloyds Banking Group announced a partnership with the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games as part of a strategy to develop grassroots sport.
Susan Rice, Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland, said: ‘We are committed to helping these sports develop young athletes right up to elite performer level, to achieve their dreams of winning medals and trophies at major championships.
‘Of course, sport isn’t just about the winning; it’s also about taking part. That’s why we are so proud that our partnership helps to increase participation amongst young people in Scotland.’
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BadmintonScotland, said: ‘Badminton is one of the highest participation sports in the country and accessible to all. It’s a Commonwealth Games and Olympic sport. Really, the bank’s involvement allows us to do so much towards developing the sport from grassroots right through to elite level.’
The funding, Anne said, will allow BadmintonScotland’s programmes to continue up and down the country.
‘Bank of Scotland’s help also allows us to stage national championships from under 11 to under 23 level. They’re involved with international championships, and that attracts players from 30 nations, so it touches every aspect of the sport.’
Meanwhile, a new report says Glasgow is on course for increased sports participation and performance in the lead-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Glasgow 2014 Sports Development Legacy report focuses on achievements in athletics, badminton, cycling, disability swimming, hockey, rugby union, swimming, table tennis and netball.
The city’s commitment to coach education and mentoring, hosting international events and creating links between schools and sports clubs to increase participation are also outlined.
The report found that 112 partnerships have been formed between schools and sports clubs. These partnerships cover athletics, rugby, hockey, badminton, netball, tennis and golf.
It said that more than 500 young Glasgwegians per week are regularly playing table tennis, with 17 primary schools and six secondary schools signed up for a Glasgow City Cup.
A rugby union coaching programme has now been extended to the East End, with 60 primary and 15 secondary schools taking part city-wide.
More than 3,000 schoolchildren took part in a badminton festival as part of the International Badminton Championships, while four secondary and 12 primary schools are also receiving cycling coaching.