Colin Grainger

Mates…Olympic legacy neighbourhood and Newham Council make right moves

Olympic legacy made several great moves in an unusual direction as Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales and British Champion Grandmaster Gawain Jones welcomed children to Stratford Library for chess games and classes on a giant interactive board.

The event celebrated the launch of chess classes in primary schools and libraries thanks to a partnership between Newham Council, charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) and EastVillage, the first legacy neighbourhood from the 2012 Games.

Chess sets and lessons are being introduced into 14 schools, with the aim of expanding to all 64 primary schools in the borough by 2015, so that every child can learn how to play the world’s most enduring game.

As well as promoting chess in schools, the partnership will develop chess clubs and lessons in libraries and hopes to set up a borough team, a chess festival, and provide giant chess sets in parks. The borough’s first chess club will take place at Stratford Library in The Grove on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Sir Robin joined pupils from RavenscroftSchool in CanningTown in a few games before teaming up with the youngsters to challenge British Champion Grandmaster Gawain Jones. The game ended in an honorable stalemate.

Sir Robin said: “I want to see children playing chess in our schools, in our libraries and in parks. Our Every Child programme already includes music, reading, sports, going to the theatre and now chess. Every child in Newham matters. We are determined they should have the same chances as youngsters in wealthier parts of the country. We want chess to help improve academic attainment as well as helping young people to build their confidence, concentration, problem-solving skills and sense of fair play. This project is a great example of how Newham Council works with other organisations to innovate and boost educational entertainment. We thank EastVillage and Chess in Schools and Communities for their involvement.”

Primary schools already involved in the project are: Brampton, Calverton, Colegrave, Dersingham. Keir Hardie, Lathom, Ravenscroft, Selwyn, Sheringham, St Antony’s, St Stephen’s, Tollgate, Upton Cross and William Davies.

Malcolm Pein, chief executive of Chess in Schools and Communities, added: “We are thrilled that EastVillage and Newham Council has so generously supported us. This partnership with both the public and private sector is something we hope to replicate nationally.”

Stuart Corbyn, chairman of QatariDiarDelanceyEastVillage, said: “We are delighted to be able to support such an educational initiative and hope children will enjoy the benefits of fun, strategic training and logical thinking that chess can develop.”



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This article was written on 15 Mar 2013, and is filed under Chess, East London, Legacy, London, Newham, Newham Council, Olympics & Paralympics, Regeneration.

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