The winners of the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards, formerly the Sports Club of the Year Awards, have been decided for 2012. Outstanding sport and recreational clubs, projects and schemes were recognised that spanned golf, rowing, sailing, archery and included an innovative bike project that helps young people with mental health issues to lead independent lives.
This year’s winning organisations represented a move away from more traditional categories to include a wider variety of activities, including a pioneering chess project that has been rolled out in state schools with ambitious plans to eventually reach every school in the UK.
Chess in Schools and Communities is a registered charity based in 108 schools in 18 local authority areas. It encourages the teaching and playing of chess in state schools and inner city communities, organises world-class chess events to encourage mass participation and promotes the educational and social benefits of the game. In the schools in which they operate, chess often serves as a bridge – bringing together children of different ages, races and genders in an activity they can all enjoy. For children with adjustment issues, there are many examples where chess has led to increased motivation, improved behaviour and self-image and even better classroom attendance.
This is incidentally the first occasion on which a mind sport has been recognised in these prestigious awards. Andrew Farthing of the English Chess Federation commented: "I'm delighted that the Sport and Recreation Alliance has recognised the wonderful work being done by CSC in this way. The idea that chess can bring social and educational benefits to primary school children has long been well known within the chess community. CSC is making this a reality in an increasing number of schools, and the Alliance's commendation is a worthy reflection of both the charity's ambitions and its success to date."
The awards were presented at the Alliance’s Annual General Meeting held at St.
James’s Palace on Thursday 19th July.
Malcolm Pein receiving the certificate from the Alliance’s President...
...HRH Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex
Malcolm with Nevil Chan, National Coordinator of Chess in Schools and Communities
The reception at the palace after the awards ceremony
Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is a new charity that uses the ancient game of chess as a learning tool in classrooms across England and Wales. The charity, formed in September 2010, teaches chess to children in class as well as organising the traditional after school and lunchtime clubs, showing that chess, a game that crosses all social barriers, is for all children and not just the academically oriented. CSC delivers chess sets, chess tutors and a 30 week chess curriculum that emphasises cross curricular links.
In December, CSC will be bringing 1000 children in their 'Urban Chess' program to Olympia to enjoy free training and sample the London Chess Classic, their flagship event which will include five of the world's top players including world number one Magnus Carlsen and world champion Vishy Anand.
“Chess in Schools and Communities has already reached over 100 schools and we plan to involve 400 schools and teach 30,000 children the game over the next two years in inner city areas.” commented Malcolm Pein, CSC chief executive. “It's wonderful to see our work, and the role chess can play in improving educational outcomes, recognised in this way.”
Chess in Schools & Communities was featured on BBC Breakfast on BBC One and the BBC News channel:
It is an ancient game which was once used to teach young knights and princes about military strategy. But should every child in Britain be expected to learn chess, while they are still at primary school? There is growing support for the idea of putting the game on the national curriculum. Tim Muffett reports from a primary school in Birmingham.
Featured schools: Rednal Hill Infants School, Birmingham & Ravenscroft School in Newham, London.