May 26 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, March 14, 2013
A Norfolk village has become the first in the UK to receive a Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.
Hethersett, near Norwich, has been praised for keeping the Olympic legacy alive and its commitment to sports has gained it national recognition for providing more events per capita than any other village, town or city in the country.
Prime minister David Cameron congratulated the village, saying: “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.”
The award recognises the work of the people of Hethersett in improving the fitness and wellbeing of residents and improving sports and leisure facilities in a dedicated effort to keep the Olympic legacy alive.
Inspired by the 2012 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.
Peter Steward, Hethersett parish councillor, who has been dubbed Mr Hethersett for his work with voluntary groups in the village, 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’.”
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon will be writing to Mr Steward to congratulate him, and said: “I am delighted that Hethersett’s hard work in keeping the Olympic legacy alive has been recognised by the prime minister.
“Hethersett’s outstanding commitment to sport, community values and the Olympic spirit is a credit to the county. I applaud everyone in Hethersett on this achievement”.
From arranging Olympic themed weekends and the Norfolk Village Games, to setting up new clubs and a sports association, since inception, more than 20 fitness and well-being groups have been put in place in Hethersett.
Meanwhile, more than 200 residents are signed up to fitness-related activities and five different sporting associations and clubs have been set up since 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 more than 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.
And a fittingly active Olympic Legacy committee was created to help ensure that the momentum and enthusiasm seen during the Olympics was not forgotten.
Hethersett’s commitment and contribution to the London Olympic spirit was further recognised during the Olympic torch relay last July with a special off-route visit from the London Olympic flame.
Schools in the Hethersett area received £8,500 in grants to properly celebrate the Olympics.
The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrates the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.