Hong Kong people enjoy access to a wide range of recreational, sports and cultural facilities. Many of these are built and managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The main objective of the department is to enrich the community's quality of life through the promotion and provision of recreational, sports and cultural facilities and activities.

RECREATION, sport and the arts provide opportunities for the people of Hong Kong to enrich the quality of their lives. The Government aims to nurture an environment in which freedom of creativity, pluralistic development of the arts, sporting excellence and recreation for the community can thrive.

    The Government's policies on sport, recreation, culture and heritage matters are coordinated by the Home Affairs Bureau. A number of expert bodies contribute to the development of these policies, including the Hong Kong Sports Development Board, the Culture and Heritage Commission, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Antiquities Advisory Board.

    The continued development of Hong Kong's sporting and artistic culture is in part entrusted to the Hong Kong Sports Development Board and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, both of which are statutory bodies. These two organisations have continued to implement plans for the development of their respective fields. Specific projects have been funded by grants from the $300 million Arts and Sport Development Fund, which was set up in 1997 to help the board and the council implement the initiatives in their strategic plans. The Home Affairs Bureau is now reviewing the overall sports policy in Hong Kong. A Sports Policy Review report was published for public consultation in May, and the bureau is considering the way forward in the light of comments received.

    In the field of sport and recreation, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is responsible for promoting and developing recreation and sport at the community level. In 2002, the department continued to coordinate the provision of high-quality recreational and sports facilities and to support and organise training programmes and sports competitions so that talented individuals could be identified and sports standards improved.

    The department also works closely with District Councils, the National Sports Associations under the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, district sports associations and schools to promote the concept of 'Sport-for-All' and to encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to participate in sports and recreational activities.

    The sports promotion and development programmes in 2002 included the Young Athletes Training Scheme, School Sports Programme, Community Sports Club Project, District Sports Teams and Age Group Competitions. The department also administered a Sports Subsidy Scheme to provide financial assistance to National Sports Associations to organise sports programmes for young people and designated sports venues for use by National Sports Associations as National Squad Training Centres.

    To provide better service to the public, the LCSD has implemented in phases a new mode of operation at recreational venues. An Assistant Leisure Services Manager II acts as venue manager to provide one-stop service at each recreational venue. Members of the public may book facilities, register and pay charges for recreation programmes, and obtain professional advice and assistance on using facilities and sports programming all at one venue. In 2002, a total of 114 recreational venues began to provide one-stop service.

    The LCSD successfully amalgamated the two different computer booking systems of the former Provisional Urban Council and Provisional Regional Council into a new 'LCSD Leisure Link' booking system in March. The new system enables members of the public to book leisure facilities and enrol in recreation and sport programmes across Hong Kong conveniently through booking counters, telephone service and the Internet.

    In support of the Government's policy to make Hong Kong green, the LCSD in 2002 carried out extensive tree planting programmes in parks and playgrounds, as well as on roadsides. In addition, various educational and community activities were organised to promote public awareness of the importance of greening. In cultural services, good progress continued to be made in reviewing the existing policy on heritage preservation. The department will provide additional funds for preservation of Hong Kong's cultural heritage and thereby also support the development of tourism.

    The LCSD has engaged consultancy firms to review, respectively, the future development of Hong Kong's public libraries, the provision of regional/district cultural and performance facilities and the mode of governance of museums, with a view to formulating a strategy for future development of these services.