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Inspired Facilities fund

Sport England’s Inspired Facilities is part of its programme to deliver the mass participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, to bring the inspiration and magic of a home Games into the heart of local communities.

Published in Sports Management 2013 issue 1
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
The Inspired fund will also fund revamps of existing sites
The Inspired fund will also fund revamps of existing sites

The Inspired Facilities fund from Sport England will provide £50m towards refurbishing and upgrading local recreation and sports facilities, as well as converting existing buildings into venues suitable for sport.

The aim is also that these facilities will be accessible to the entire community, so the needs of special user groups must be taken into account.

In addition, community groups, such as playing field users and local sports clubs, are being actively encouraged to take over the ownership of land and sports buildings from government organisations, with the aim of giving the clubs financial stability and independence.

SAPCA Game On talks to Peter Newth, a director of Roberts Limbrick architects, about what needs to be taken into consideration when designing a new or refurbished sports facility, clubhouse or pavilion.

Where do you start when designing a facility?
We have five key factors that help determine how we start the design. These are:
* serve; what sports or activities will it be servicing when complete?
* form; does the building need to be independent and self contained or is it part of a bigger complex?
* appearance; is the requirement a modern, traditional or functional space?
* function; does it need to house toilets and changing facilities, is it next door to outdoor facilities, does it need equipment storage and so on?
* the size of the facility

What else has to be considered?
A whole myriad of guidance and legislation has to be taken into account. This ranges from legal requirements such as Fire and Licensing Regulations to accessibility considerations through to the requirements of the national sports governing bodies and organisations like Sport England. The latter is particularly relevant if funding is going to come from the Inspired Facilities fund.

How important is a full brief from the sports club?
The more information we have, the better matched the final design will be. Clubs needs to think about how they will manage the project, what core skills may be needed to do this and whether they have them available: we’d always recommend they appoint a project manager to work alongside the architect.

We can then review and discuss all the key issues relating to the clubhouse design. These issues can range from how much shared use there may be with the local community to cultural diversity, from child protection and vandalism issues to sustainability and services (water, electricity, ventilation and telecoms) requirements.

Do sports clubs always have to go out to consultation?
The short answer is yes. And not just with the local planning department. We’d encourage sports clubs to consult with their users, funders, national sports governing bodies, the local community, local schools and government agencies such as the Environment Agency and highways authorities.

Where can we find out more?
My full presentation on this subject is available on the SAPCA website under the Lee Valley presentations within the Technical Guidance section at www.sapca.org.uk, or you can visit www.robertslimbrick.com

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