From sword-fighting to trampolining: Super Saturday of Sport in Chiswick and Wandsworth, 8th and 15th July
By Rhiane Kirkby
Remember 2012, the year London was the proud ‘owner’ of the Olympic Games and we all pledged to ‘Inspire a Generation’?
The debate about whether the Games achieved what they set out to—getting more young people into sport—still goes on, but one London mum single-handedly took that slogan and ran with it, creating a legacy of her very own.
Super Saturday of Sport was born in 2013, the brainchild of Kirsten Lonsdale, a Chiswick mum of two. Kirsten had just been made redundant by the BBC and by her own admission was “feeling a little lost”, so she did a personal development course to try to find a new path. “It taught me that life’s not just about you and inspired me to do something for my community.”
Then came the idea: struck by how inaccessible some sports are here in the UK, Kirsten organised a community event in Chiswick, with the aim of giving kids the chance to try something new. “It was only supposed to happen once,” says Kirsten, “but I soon realised it just had to expand. Parents were standing around reminiscing about sports they used to play at school and were itching to join in.”
I talk to Kirsten the morning after an “amazing and emotional” inaugural Super Saturday of Sport event at the home of the Olympics in Stratford. Now in its 5th year and for people of all ages, she still sounds surprised by what she’s achieved. “We were there at 6am with a bunch of volunteers sweeping and cleaning a park that’s notorious for gangs and intimidating for families. But two thousand people turned up and reclaimed their space. People of all ages and abilities discovered something active and the local council was just amazing.”
Such is her commitment to the cause that up until five weeks ago, Kirsten was personally funding the Chiswick event on 8th July. “It’s my community, so I put myself on the line for it,” she says with the vigour and determination that makes it clear how she makes these events such a success. And she’s not the only one putting herself out for the cause. “We have loads of willing volunteers and Clare Balding has squeezed time out of her hectic Wimbledon schedule to open the event. She’s been a supporter from the very beginning and, like me, has watched it grow.”
So what’s on offer in Chiswick this weekend? There’s a mini family fun run, skateboarding, free running, a climbing wall, a buggie bootcamp for new mums, Wild Slyde (which has to be seen to be believed), dance classes for toddlers, ballet, trampolining, basketball and even sword fighting! All of which run alongside the more traditional cricket, football, netball, rugby and tennis. “There are over forty different sports,” says Kirsten, “literally something for everyone and everything you need to enjoy an active, healthy and free family day out.”
If there ever comes a time when they hand out Olympic Legacy Medals, Kirsten would surely win gold!
Find out more about the Super Saturday of Sport events in Chiswick on 8th July and Wandsworth on 15th July at supersaturdayofsport.co.uk.