Inspired by helping the community through sport, Dennis Kennedy launched the Sutton Coldfield Games.
Two years on, the event is fully established as a major annual highlight It would be fair to call Sutton Coldfield resident Dennis Kennedy a sports fanatic and someone who enjoys a challenge. As a former England ice hockey player and now avid cyclist Dennis is no slouch in the sports arena himself, so when he read about the community games initiative in 2010 he decided to get to work creating what he thought would be something like a big sports day. Dennis got very excited about the prospect of a home Olympics and decided to mark the occasion personally with maybe a long distance cycle or something wacky. Instead he worked his socks off and launched the first Sutton Coldfield Community Games to coincide with London 2012. With no framework to follow and no rules Dennis pulled together a team of happy volunteers who all had day jobs and brought their skills with them.
“It’s important that the games are inclusive and free for everybody so we have four sponsors. It’s sort of summer fete meets sports day and just a lot of fun.” The first games in 2012 attracted 50 local sports clubs and around 6,000 people. This year’s games took place in July and involved 62 clubs and about 7,000 people. “The games benefit the community twofold – firstly it’s fun and inspiring to take part and watch and secondly it provides a platform for local sports clubs to showcase their activities.” Wyndley Leisure Centre provides a fantastic venue for the games with a full size athletics track, two sports halls and a lake for water sports.
By day Dennis advises, trains and coaches people in sales, management and leadership and though he’s reluctant to take credit for the games insisting it’s a team effort, his energy and skills have been crucial to making the games such a massive success. “Ultimately if there’s a call to be made I’ll make it, but there is no hierarchy. Everyone is a volunteer with a day job and is happy to be there. We all bring different skills and I can honestly say there has never been a crossed word. Teamwork is crucial.” Work starts now on the next games and with four new volunteers it promises to be bigger and better than ever.