BIG chair voices annoyance at media’s Olympic legacy attitude

Big Lottery Fund chair Peter Ainsworth last night chastised the media for allowing the spirit of last year’s Olympic Games to “fizzle out” after BIG-funded Games legacy project Britain’s Personal Best failed to secure any TV coverage.

Ainsworth was speaking at the launch of Britain’s Personal Best, the Olympic legacy project run by Society Network Foundation (SNF) that BIG has committed £1m to.

Britain’s Personal Best aims to inspire 125,000 individuals this year to set themselves personal goals – be they sporting, creative, entrepreneurial or intellectual – and potentially raise money for charities through sponsorship while achieving those goals. It is planned to be a year-round venture culminating in a mass participation challenge weekend in October each year.

Organiser Steve Moore, who is also the chief executive of Big Society Network, has already stated that he intends BPB will be the biggest fundraising event in the UK within five years and a global phenomenon by 2020.

No media partners announced

The launch was held at Channel 4’s headquarters in central London but no details were given about any media partners or media marketing plans for the project, including by Channel 4 itself.  

This was despite SNF stating in its application form to BIG earlier this year that it was talking to several media partners, including YouTube, Google, Twitter and a major broadcaster, and would announce details of their support for the project once the bid was approved.

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 told civilsociety.co.uk that it was too early to confirm the October schedules at the moment.

Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, chief operating officer at Britain’s Personal Best, told civilsociety.co.uk last week that she expected the project would have a YouTube channel, but that there would be no TV support this year. There will be a social media publicity strategy and local and regional newspapers are expected to cover the weekend event, but no TV partners.

In his speech last night, Ainsworth said BIG was “incredibly proud” to be associated with the venture, which was a precursor to what he hoped would be a £40m investment by BIG into the 2012 Trust, an Olympic legacy fund that would support volunteering and sporting projects for years to come.  However, he added that the final decision on this fund was yet to be made.

Media mood

Ainsworth went on to thank Channel 4 for hosting the BPB launch event but then added: “There is a kind of mood around in the media – you will have seen it – that the Olympics were so ‘last year’ and that the spirit of the Games has fizzled out.

“Well certainly at the Big Lottery Fund and certainly at Britain’s Personal Best, we are determined not to fizzle out.

“Not because money is the thing but because people are the thing that is going to make that magical spirit last and transform communities for years to come.”

No announcement of charity ambassadors or fundraising website

The launch event also did not provide any details of large charities that have signed up to participate in the project, nor any details of the online and mobile fundraising platform that was promised in BPB’s presentation to prospective partner organisations.

Shadow minister for sport Clive Efford also spoke, saying he had known Steve Moore for over 15 years and had been invited by him at the last minute to say a few words at the launch. He said was "delighted" to be there to support Britain's Personal Best and it had his "full backing".

Shadow minister for civil society Gareth Thomas has previously raised concerns about the project, suggesting that it received funding from BIG because of its organisers' close links to the Conservative Party. BIG chair Peter Ainsworth is a former Conservative MP.

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/fundraising/news/content/15776/