As well as providing world class sporting facilities for the Commonwealth Games and future national and international sporting events, the Sportcity complex has been the catalyst for the social and economic regeneration of East Manchester.
There is an expectation by all the funding partners that all the facilities at Sportcity should contribute to the lasting benefits of the Games across all legacy programme areas, and particularly that Sportcity should be a catalyst for change within Beswick, Clayton and the wider East Manchester community.
Accordingly, in addition to the community usage plan at the stadium, there is also a plan for the Sportcity complex. Arrangements in place so far include:
– Manchester Leisure (ML) has a full time squash development officer, full time tennis development officer, full time athletics development officer, and two full time community sports development officers based at Sportcity
– ML sports development has been strategically scheduling coach education and training courses for the sports provided at Sportcity to train teachers, and school staff as well as members of the local community to enable the delivery of a comprehensive community programme.
– ML has established a series of community sessions for £1 per child per session across the facilities’ sports; this includes equipment and a qualified coach to run the sessions normally linked to a local club such as Sale Harriers Manchester (athletics club).
– ML has established a series of adult coaching sessions for £2.50 per adult per session across the facilities sports; this includes equipment and a qualified coach to run the sessions.
– Via the School Sport Coordinator (SSCO) project currently based within the Education Action Zone (EAZ) many local schools (12 primary and 4 high schools in the SSCO project) have used the Sportcity sports facilities and a number of school sports competitions and events have been held.
– The SSCO project in partnership with the East Manchester Sport Action Zone (SAZ) and the ML community sports development have strategically developed the sports provision / opportunities in East Manchester. There has been a major focus on the sports provision at Sportcity, for example all primary schools have had a mini tennis after school programme.
– The SAZ in partnership with the EAZ and the LEA have strategically developed the schools outdoor playground and sports facilities to support the work of the SSCO project with regard to the sports provided at Sportcity. For example, all 12 primary schools have outdoor mini basketball posts and courts, and are developing mini tennis line markings. This has resulted in over £750k of capital investment from a variety of sources.
– The future SSCO project based at Wright Robinson Sports College covers many more schools and is already planning to work around the sports provided at Sportcity.
The East Manchester ‘Sport Action Zone’ (SAZ) was set up by Sport England to invest and to seek further investment in communities that have high social and economic deprivation to bring them more sporting any physical activity opportunities. Covering the areas of Beswick, Clayton and Openshaw, including the Sportcity complex, the SAZ has been heavily involved in a number of initiatives before, during and after the Games.
During the Games, the SAZ was involved in initiatives such as The Queens Baton Relay; Spirit of Friendship Festival; and, the Pre Volunteer Programme (PVP). 270 residents became engaged in the PVP programme, which involved a 30hr training course providing candidates with an accredited qualification and access to further education, training opportunities, and employment. The Programme was so successful that it continues post-Games.
A Residents Household survey carried out in 1999 by New Deal for the Communities showed that 89% of residents were not satisfied with accessibility of sports and leisure facilities. There was no multi-purpose sports hall, no outdoor floodlit sports areas, few sports clubs and no holiday sports schemes. The same survey in 2002 showed a figure of 50%, representing a 30% increase in satisfaction levels. A number of new sports clubs have been established in the area, including Eastlands Citizens F.C., Manchester Basketball Club, and East Manchester Tennis Club. There is a wide programme of school holiday schemes co-ordinated by Joint Openshaw Group, with over 3,200 young people participating in these during the summer of 2002.
The SAZ Activity Bus
Encouraging its users to ‘Get On & Get Active’, the Activity Bus provides a free transport service to leisure centres and parks throughout Manchester, focussing on the Manchester Aquatics Centre, healthy walking projects and the Sportcity facilities. Developed in association with the SAZ, New Deal for Communities, Primary Care Trust, Health Promotion and the Health Action Zone, the scheme was re-launched after the Games due to overwhelming demand. Many passengers have benefited, improving their health, confidence and happiness. It is now so popular that two double-decker buses operate in the holidays and normally one double decker each trip, with almost 200 users per week.
The scheme currently operates with assistance from volunteers who contributed their valuable support to the Commonwealth Games and wished to continue donating some of their time.
Details of the sports development initiatives and schemes in the East Manchester area can be found at: