The Commonwealth Games Manchester 2002
A Prize Worth Winning?
This event had to be about more than municipal ego. More than an opportunity to bathe in the reflected glory of a world event successfully staged. Manchester was always explicit in its intention. In bidding for The Commonwealth Games its aim was not only to deliver a world-class event but also to create a lasting legacy for Manchester and the region. A unique and innovative approach was taken to the legacy of the Manchester Games. Any city or organisation would expect the successful delivery of such a huge event to deliver benefits to tourism, sporting facilities, the image of the area and measurable commercial gains. Manchester went further.
The aim was for the hosting of the Games to provide the catalyst for the whole scale regeneration of a large area of the city.
The area which was once known as ‘the workshop of the world’ had been in steady decline for the last 30 years. Large-scale de-industrialisation had a huge and devastating effect on employment. Plans had been in place since the early nineties for the regeneration of this area. However, the hosting of the Games and the decision to site the stadium in this area was the catalyst needed. This was the focus which attracted a range of other initiatives to New East Manchester. Is it working? This is a long-term regeneration strategy but one year after the Games how many of these lofty ambitions are now starting to be realised.
Will there be A New Town In The City?
Over the next 15 years New East Manchester is expected to secure over £2 billion in public and private funding. The momentum gained from the investment in world class sporting facilities at Sportcity presents a new image to the commercial world. There has been a quantum shift in perceptions of the area from current and prospective residents and investors. The New Business Park development is expected to create over 6000 jobs. The development of a new retail centre, four star hotel and the new housing developments are expected to create 3,800 jobs for the people of East Manchester. Manchester City Football club, as the new resident in the City of Manchester stadium, is drawing nearly 40,000 people to the streets of East Manchester for each of its’ home games. There is a renewed sense of pride in the area. New canal-side homes are being built and metro-link lines laid to provide a rapid transport link to the city centre. Without the impetus provided by the Games investment on this scale could not have been secured.
The use of £6.2m of Government Single Regeneration funds matched to a further £12m of other public and private funds, paved the way for the delivery of a regional programme aimed at ensuring that businesses and in particular disadvantage families benefited from the hosting of the Games in Manchester.
The Commonwealth Games Opportunities and Legacy Partnership board was established as a regional board for managing the Legacy of the Games. Made up of senior managers from key organisations across the North West, business, sport, arts and cultural interests were represented alongside local government agencies to promote the benefits to the wider region.
Sustainable strategies are now being developed for each of the seven individual programmes. The Games Legacy team continues to receive requests for information on this scheme from potential hosts of major events and interest from a range of commercial organisations.
The huge success of the volunteer programme has resulted in the setting up of the Post Games Volunteer Project. Games Volunteers have responded to requests for support from organisations across the region and filled over 1,800 places in 2003. They have successfully carried out a number of roles at major events such as the UEFA Champions League Final at Old Trafford in May, the ITU World Triathlon event at Salford Quays in July and the Europride in August 2003.
The Games did not invent volunteering. But the commitment to making this the most inclusive games ever resulted in a heady mix of people from a diverse range of background who gave so much in the Summer of 2002. The role of the volunteer may not have changed but the event managed to attract those who had not considered offering their individual talents in this way before. Event volunteering continues to gain momentum and the model used in Manchester is now being considered by Liverpool’s Capital of Culture team.
What effect has the Games had on the image of the City and the North West
Maybe we need to ask the £18 million people who visited the region in 2002 and put £6 billion into the North West’s economy.
Or the majority of those interviewed as part of a Mori survey that now describe Manchester as England’s second city.
Over 300,000 visitors each year are now expected as a result of the positive image of the Games.
The outstanding welcome received by visitors and athletes alike at the venues, in the visitor centres, on the streets and across the region prompted acres of newsprint and impressed even the most jaundiced of the media crew.
Ask the people of the North West as they follow Ian Thorpe and take the waters at the Aquatic Centre.
Catch someone’s attention as world-class cyclists take the harrowing bends at the Velodrome.
Challenge someone to a game of Squash at Bolton’s Arena or maybe just take a stroll across Manchester City Centre.
The XVII Commonwealth Games Manchester 2002. Was it a prize worth winning?