Profile - CCPR
The CCPR is the national alliance of governing and representative bodies of sport and recreation. Established in 1935 as the Central Council of Recreative Physical Training, it changed names soon after to the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR). The organisation exists to protect, promote and provide for its members and is headed up by CEO Tim Lamb, former county cricketer and ex CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who joined the CCPR team in 2005.
Tim has always been keen to highlight the importance of the groundsman both during his 16 years at the ECB and now in his role at the CCPR.
“Too often I feel that groundsmen are regarded as artisans rather than professionals,” he says. “I would like there to be recognition for the people who produce our playing surfaces, and I don’t just say that because I am being interviewed for an IOG magazine!”
“Just think of the financial implications of getting it wrong. If the team at Lord’s made a complete hash of preparing the pitch for a five-day Test Match, not only would it spoil the enjoyment for everyone who purchased tickets, but also think of the commercial implications of such a match being cut short or even cancelled. Groundsmen are crucial to sport, they should be recognised and receive the rewards they deserve, and that is something I have always promoted - hence the CCPR’s support of the IOG’s forthcoming awards and conference.”
Today the organisation employs 19 staff and represents some 290 national governing and representative bodies for sport and recreation in the UK which between them support some 150,000 clubs with around eight million regular participants.
CCPR’s primary business is to provide member services, to campaign and lobby on members’ behalf and to act as an independent voice for sport. Member benefits include development programmes and training workshops, business support and the CCPR daily news service, an annual European Summit, a CEOs Convention and the annual CCPR National Conference. The organisation also has a trading subsidiary, CCPR Enterprises, a partnership scheme with around 20 companies that provide members with a range of business services.
The CCPR’s remit is wide, delivering support and services to a diverse membership ranging from all the major professional sports bodies to niche representative bodies – from the Football Association and the IOG, to the English Bridge Union and the Boys Brigade. Due to the diversity, the membership is split into divisions: Games and Sports; Movement and Dance; Water Recreation; Major Spectator Sports; Outdoor Pursuits; and the Division of Interested Organisations.
The CCPR also recognises that it cannot be ‘all things to all people’, and therefore needs to avoid spreading itself too thinly. The focus is on doing a limited number of things well and not duplicating areas already covered by other agencies. For example, while school sport and playing fields are of significant interest, the CCPR keeps a ‘watching brief’ on them rather than becoming involved on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s a challenge to ensure we effectively support all of our members,” says Tim. “Some are well established, well resourced governing bodies; others represent voluntary sports and are literally run on a shoestring without access to the infrastructure or support services they need to run their organisation, without our help. To help us do this we divide members into different divisions but even then it can be difficult to agree on the services that are relevant to all.”
CCPR’s lobbying activity, which includes gathering research and evidence to support arguments in policy, advising on whatever tax concessions may be available, dealing with issues that surround sports betting and ticket touting, and offering advice on outdoor and adventurous activity issues, is also divided in to bite-sized chunks to ensure relevance to the divisions.
“We help national governing bodies to help themselves by providing the skills and knowledge to allow them to make decisions and grow in the direction they want to,” explains Tim, and this includes keeping up with what’s happening in Europe. “European issues can greatly affect sport policy in the UK with anything from 40-80 per cent of legislation emanating from Europe. It can take a long time for this work to come to fruition but we have seen results and we have managed to get the law changed on a number of occasions.”
2012 is another area of interest; in particular, creating a legacy of increased participation in sport and recreation. “When you consider that legacy was a major part of Seb Coe’s inspirational speech in Singapore, which did so much to secure the bid, we do believe the Government was a bit slow to grasp the opportunity to get more young people into sport. While priority was quite rightly given to ensuring the right infrastructure was set up with LOCOG, the ODA, finalising budgets and all the fundamental building blocks that were required, we still feel more needs to be done to ensure that when the circus leaves town in 2012, it really has left an inspirational and enduring legacy for people of all ages, but particularly youngsters. For a long time politicians were talking a good game but not necessarily coming up with a concrete strategy and the resources to do it.
“In fairness, latterly there have been some encouraging signs – Sport England has launched a campaign to get more people doing more sport; the free swimming initiative; the establishment of the Olympic Park Legacy Company; the introduction of sports and venues legacy boards. We also welcome the initiative taken by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who has invested £15 million with the hope of attracting a further £15 million of match funding, which will be used to encourage participation in the capital. If replicated nationwide, you’d be looking at a total investment of about £200 million.”