Monday, July 11, 2011

Are You Inspired By The Olympics

Guest Post by Adam Dennehey of @TheMotormen

It’s just over a year to go until Olympic-fever kicks fully into action in London – well 383 days to go to be more precise – and the London Borough of Redbridge is taking it’s very first few steps of an ‘Olympic Journey’ as it looks to make the most of Olympic-fever so to speak.

The London 2012 Games is due to start on 24 July next year, but on the 24 July 2011 – Redbridge is kick-starting it’s own Olympic celebrations with a big Olympic festival that’s being hosted at a large number of locations down Forest Road [the one where there is no bus - ed.].

The festival is called the ‘Inspiration’ festival and it is aiming to attract many local people to the event, in the hope of inspiring them and getting local people passionate about our borough’s plans and events leading up to the Games.

The Borough’s Olympic Development Team (ODT) is hoping to attract about 10,000 local people to the festival which has a whole heap of events and activities planned for all ages to have fun and enjoy the day out. For a full list of details surrounding the ‘Inspiration’ festival click here to see more.

So, why am I telling you all this. After all I am just a regular 23 year old from Barkingside who has lived in Gants Hill all my life. Why would I be an important person to listen to with regards to the Borough’s upcoming Olympic events?

Well, for starters I am directly involved with the Borough’s ODT with regards to Olympic-related events and plans. I have been an ‘Olympic Ambassador’ for the Borough for about 2-3 months now, which in essence is a ‘voluntary’ role in which local people assist and help out the Borough’s ODT at events promoting the Borough’s cultural events relating to the Olympics.

Without telling you all about myself as:
1) I am not a person who likes in fact to talk about myself, and
2) there are far more interesting people than me in and around Redbridge...
..I am somebody who has an interest in the London Olympics, having spent virtually my last year at University finding out all I could about it as my dissertation looked at the London 2012’s legacies, so working in/around the Olympics is something that interests me.

Having failed to get a job since graduating last year, I thought it would be good for me to give something back to my local community (not that I’ve been a burden for them in the past) and see what they were doing with regards to the Olympics.

An initial meeting with the Borough’s ODT manager Julie Creffield led to me being appointed an ‘Olympic Ambassador ‘and through my contacts in local sport (which I’ll get onto in a moment) and local media, I thought it’d be good for me to get as involved as possible so I can add something to my CV and gain experience.

I have helped out at a couple of events so far for the Borough, serving as a volunteer for an event at Fairlop Waters 2 months ago where I was part of a small team of ‘Ambassadors’ helping steward/ organise the event.

Obviously the Borough's ODT want the ‘Inspiration Festival’ to be as big as possible and over the next two weeks you may see more and more posters promoting the event across the area. The event can only be a success if people turn up and support it and I support the borough’s plans in trying to create a ‘buzz’ to the event as it’s about time local people had something good to look forward to which would make them ‘proud’ to be living in the borough.

Another reason why I am looking forward to the event is that Redbridge FC – the Ryman League club based at the Oakside Stadium down Station Road behind Barkingside Tube Station – will also be having a presence at the ‘Inspiration Festival.’

Many of you reading this may not know about Redbridge FC or their tenants Barkingside FC and many of you probably won’t know about the local Non League clubs in and around the borough. Well I have been involved with both Redbridge FC and Barkingisde FC since November 2006 when I first started out as a freelance sports reporter for Time 107.5 FM based in Romford.

Over the last four and a half years, I have become very passionate about both teams. Since August 2007, I have been Redbridge FC’s Press Secretary and had a similar spell with Barkingisde FC which ended around a year ago.

Anyway cutting a long story short, both clubs for a number of reasons (which I wouldn’t like to mention) have struggled to attract local attention in the last couple of years - despite being warm and friendly clubs – and are not barley known locally at all.

When I found out about the ‘Inspiration Festival’ after my initial meeting with Julie Creffield, I wanted to try and get Redbridge FC to have some form of involvement at the festival as it would be a great ‘free’ chance for us as a club to gain more publicity.

Aside from that it would be the perfect chance for us as a club to show local people that we want to move forward and ‘build bridges’ with people and show that we want to become an important part of the local community. I told our chairman Dan Holloway about this and he like me thought it would be a great idea for us to be involved as he (like everyone at the club) wants to see us progress as a club and gain more of a following than the small one we do have.

The club, thanks to our chairman Dan, will be helping to design and run an ‘Olympic Podium’ which on the day will be an area of the festival, where local people will get the chance to meet local Olympic/ Sporting stars. This will be an area of the festival where the general public will get a chance to get autographs and photos with these stars and I think it’s great that we as a club will be involved with it as we’re guaranteed to get more awareness as a result.

I know that we as a club are targeting to have a big event planned for our first home match of the upcoming 2011/12 season, in which through Julie’s work and the Borough’s ODT we will be trying to ‘sell out’ our first home game which will have an ‘Olympic theme’ to the day from what I’ve been told.
This will be a great way for us to start a new ‘era’ at the club, as we have changed our club colours and crest over the summer and will now be playing in a red/black kit similar to what AC Milan wear from what I understand.

On the face of it, it’s quite a challenge that’s been set for our first home game as although last season our average attendance was up to about 90, on most days we average about 60 supporters at games - of which more than half sadly come from the visiting team whomever they may be. To be brutally honest I don’t think we will quite sell out our first game, but at least we’re doing something to try and attract local people (of all ages) to our club and even if we only attract 20-30 more fans that’ll be great for us.
We want to be a ‘community club’ for local people and with our clubhouse recently renovated (as you’re see by the picture) we really do think we’d be a good alternative not just for local people wanting to see a game of football but for families and organisations who might want to hire out our clubhouse for social and corporate events.

In conclusion I understand that not everyone is excited about the Olympics and that the money and the controversies surrounding it can cause people to not want to get passionate about it. I am however someone who is passionate about the Olympics and local sport in general and hope that the Borough’s events relating to the Olympics can help create a ‘feel-good factor’ locally that I feel has maligned over the last couple of years.

That’s just my view though. All I know is that I’ll be there at the Borough’s ‘Inspiration Festival’ where I am due to be leading a small team of young ‘ambassadors’ who will be going around the site around Fairlop speaking, filming, photographing the day’s festivities’ as with my media background that’s the task that I’ve been given to on the day. The event might not be perfect and it might not run as well as the organisers want it to be. But it’s an event that local people of all ages should think about attending and I know that the Borough’s ODT want as many local people to turn up and give those views on the day.

It’s up to you citizens of Redbridge: Do you want to be Inspired by London 2012 or not. Should anyone want to discuss anything to do with the Borough’s Olympic plans or Redbridge FC you can do so at @ADennehey87 or @TheMotormen (Redbridge FC’s twitter account) for more information.

I have also applied to be a London 2012 Gamesmaker in the LOCOG’s Press Operations team and recently had in interview with LOCOG about a possible voluntary position during the Games. That of course at the moment is just an ‘idea’ but it’s something I would like to do although the chances of it happening of course are slim, though there’s nothing wrong in me thinking about it.

By Adam Dennehey


  1. I would be more excited but for the thought that I will be paying the Olympic Precept until 2016/17, I did not get any tickets,and as far as I am concerned London Boroughs are wasting more money with this nonsense, when we have closed toilets, (or in the case of Barkingside not opened them), sacked or not replaced lollipop men, and instituted greedy parking charges, which will ruin local shopping centres, and drive people to Westfield,
    Romford, or Lakeside, but not Ilford.

  2. Hi, Adam

    In answer to your question, I am totally bored with the Olympics and will be glad when it's all over. I also object to contributing to its huge cost. You would do better trying to save the planet than trying to get us excited about this waste of money. Stuff the Olympics and go green.

    One question: Why is there an American bald eagle flying over Redbridge FC?

  3. Dear Adam, you say you have a 'media background' - would that be a degree in Media Studies? It is sadly obvious that neither your School nor your University taught you how to write properly, since your piece here is full of cliches, and sounds like, with regards to, passionately, a bit 14yr old innit. And could you check up on the use of 'malign', and correctly placing the apostrophe in 'it's' please.

    Rather than fiddling around attempting the Herculean task of enthusing a crowd of Redbridge cynics about the Olympics, you would be better off finding a vocational course that will equip you to get a job in the real world.
    Take it from someone who knows, from an employer's viewpoint, that a Media Studies degree does not equip anyone to find work.

  4. Dear Lymond,

    I am a cynic too and will be inspired to do my very best to avoid the damn thing, as I do every year with Wimbledon. But I don’t want to stop those who like tennis from enjoying their sport, if you can call it that. Likewise, the Olympics are coming to our doorstep and there are plenty of people clamouring for tickets and who have been disappointed. I am quite happy to let them have their fun for 17 days and I will watch the closing ceremony on TV – I like the fireworks.

    I also have to own up to proof reading and editing the piece and I’m afraid to say I must have missed the apostrophic error. As to “proper writing” I’m afraid that is not taught in Schools or Universities these days…….

  5. Firstly Lymond - I do have a media background. I have a journalism degree, a media BTEC diploma as well as four and a half years experience in local radio.

    I know that in terms of people who may have 20+ years at the BBC/Sky my experience counts for nothing, but I would be wrong in saying that I don't have experience in the media.

    I am not going to apologise for writing in a 'passionate' style as that's my own style and until I get a job in the media where I will have to learn to write in a more 'accurate' style (which I know I will have to) then for the moment on blogs I will continue to write in my own style. If you do not like that, then that's your opinion which I respect.

    I appreciate the fact that in today's media, quite often people do not have to have a media degree to work in the media.

    I am also aware of the fact that even if I work my socks off for however many years that I will not get the kind of work that currently I dream of and will more than likely (as I am not somebody who is foolish enough not to think about it) will have to work in a particular field that I have no interest in working in. That's life and it's something that I am fully aware of.

    I have thought about taking a vocational course but simply do not have the funds to do another course at the moment (as I barley have enough money anyway) and am exploring other options (marketing, sponsorship, charity-sector, etc), whilst going in for work placements at a number of media-related companies in London.

    I accept that the use of 'maligned' was not the best word to use for that sentence and that I do get my 'it's/its' confused and that's a problem that I do need to address, so thanks for pointing that out. Alan is not at fault for that as my own proof-reading should have been better.

    Coxsoft Art - It may look like an American Bald Eagle on our club crest (we like to call it a Phoenix) as we have always had a phoenix on our badge from when we were Ford United years ago.

    Just an overall comment, I am not 100% a fan of the Olympics and having completed a dissertation on London 2012's legacies realise that there are problems around the Games - which sadly national/local government will not manage to sort out and that too much public money has gone towards the Games.

    I would just like to mention that in case readers of the article thought I was not aware of the problems that the Games is having and will have on London and the UK before and after the Games.

  6. To be absolutely honest; I remember hearing when we first 'won' the Olympics & I also remember crying a great deal from frustration & disgust!

    I know that firstly we didn't win the Olympics fare & square (I'm sure back-handers had been taking place!), I also know that our environment & therefore the animals are suffering greatly because of the damn Olympics, that doesn't count all those people who have been turfed out of their homes.

    I am absolutely incensed that (yet again) money/power has taken precedence over doing what's right... By the way, I have never supported any Olympics where-ever it's held & my boycott will continue as long as I or it exists!!

  7. Like Adam I am one of the Redbridge Ambassadors which now exceed 150 of Ilford residents from all races, colors, creeds, sexes, ages and walks of life.

    The Ambassadors reflect a true cross section of both able bodied and less abled Redbridge residents giving up their time, efforts, skills and good will for free to promote our borough in the best possible way. The Ambassadors are all proactive, progressive and positive in their approach to inspire and enthuse both the young and old to aim for the Olympic ideals.

    Sport is proven to be successful in many ways to promote healthy life styles, combat weight issues, reduce crime and anti social behavior, give direction to the wayward and challenge those that would disrupt our community and detract from the majority of Redbridge residents contributing to a better place to live.

    Many of the thousands of Redbridge residents I have met through the Ambassadors events so far have said they are going to continue with the sports, pastimes and adventures they have experienced through the series events, so that they can make the most of their lives rather than let the new challenges and opportunities pass them by.

    The 2012 Olympic Games are coming and Redbridge now has a choice, the first since 1948, to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world or let it pass by.

    Those that prefer to whine and whinge at the challenges, opportunities and benefits of a healthier, more positive, law abiding community are failing to see what has been and can be achieved through sport, community spirit and a positive mental attitude.

    So readers, we can either be forward thinking and embrace the 2012 games, looking to see how they can inspire and enhance our community, family and friends or we can moan about our lot and feel sorry for ones self, hoping to drag everyone down.

    Your choice reader ........ but I know what I will be doing for the next year.

  8. Frances Speakman11:35 pm, July 15, 2011

    It's such a rip off that many of us East Londoners who are paying towards this Olympics never stood a chance of getting any tickets to any of the venues. Disgusting the way the ticket allocation was presented, and the enormous costs of tickets! way out of most folks pockets..

    Seb Coe and the lot of them make me sick...

  9. Perry's comments are interesting but why the need to write in American English?
    As General de Gaulle used to say: ''Restons Anglais!''

  10. I've been wondering how best to avoid the entire circus but, following on from events in the Netherlands yesterday,* I'm wondering if there is any possibility that delays in erecting a replacement will make Friesland a good place to visit for the duration ...

    * Those who prefer moving pictures can watch here ...

  11. Hi Anne,

    No "...need..." to do that or wish , Perry's computer did it.

    It is a case of a Japanese laptop (Dell) with American software (Microsoft) powered by a French owned electric company (EDF), operating in England by buying electricity from a wind farm in Finland being used by Perry sitting on a wooden chair from India, plus a cushion from Sri Lanka.

    A mini Olympic's in itself!

    Perry (English)

  12. Perry, are you saying that your computer is automatically correcting your spellings to American-English whether you like it or not?
    If that is correct, your rights are being infringed. (By whom? An international coalition it seems!)
    Should I wish to use spell-check (it is a choice I have), I have the option of which English I wish to use.
    Mostly, since I am old and old-fashioned and foreign, I prefer to stick to my well-paged Collins!

  13. Sven from Norway8:32 pm, July 19, 2011

    What is is with the regular commentators to this forum.
    Can you never embrace anything with enthusiasm or pride like the poster of the original thread?
    Yes the games were expensive,yes the ticket allocation may be awkward,but at the end of the day it is an international event that will help lift the country out of the doldrums.
    I am fairly confident a lot of posters on this forum are of a certain age so where is your British pride and patriotism. lets not be the wingeing pomms we are often branded with!
    this person has not got a job yet and rather than sit around waiting for handouts or becoming a leper of society and decided to get involved in the greatest sporting event on Earth.which is also the comming together of all cultures and creeds which Agenda 21 also promotes.

    Just as another comment can the mediator of the forum refrain from allowing posts diverting from the primary subject?
    Posts around spell check and default languages are irelevant and should be saved for the PC world forum.
    These posts dilute the topics for debate!

  14. Thanks for the comment there Perry, well done on finding the article somehow. Agree with everything you've put there in your comment. It's a chance for Redbridge to be part of something special and as I've said before if people don't want to be part of it then fair enough, but the opportunity is there for them - it's just a matter of people wanting to take part.

    Sven - Cheers for that. It has been hard for us to try and secure a FT job but it's been hard. Been to a couple of agencies as well as having some interviews for jobs and work placements - but haven't as I've said before landed them.

    As you can tell by my article I am passionate about the Games and local sport, so for me it's s great way to 'combine the two' so to speak and add something useful to my CV instead of sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for myself.