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SAPCA update: Time for change at SAPCA

SAPCA chief executive Chris Trickey is looking forward to an exciting year

by Chris Trickey, SAPCA | Published in Sports Management 2018 issue 1
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Sport England grants will focus on getting less-active groups, such as women, moving / © shutterstock/karelnoppe
Sport England grants will focus on getting less-active groups, such as women, moving / © shutterstock/karelnoppe

At SAPCA, we’ve spent a large part of the past year laying foundations for an exciting 2018.

One of the most important changes taking place over the next year will be the repositioning of SAPCA to become more customer-facing. There will be a new emphasis on helping those who are driving the UK’s sports facility projects – from clubs and local authorities to schools and private companies. We’ll look to provide a range of valuable information and guidance for those who develop facilities, assist them through their project journey and encourage them to work with SAPCA members at every available step.

At the heart of this repositioning will be a new website, which will be at the centre of our new marketing strategy.

The annual conference – under the title ‘Time for Change’ – will be part of the modernisation process too, as it will kick off a programme of events planned for 2018. The events will be designed with both members and the wider marketplace in mind, offering opportunities to learn about key aspects of sports facility development.

We also have a new chair, Andy Reed OBE, who will be leading a number of changes in our governance that will be coming into force in June. Andy’s vast experience at board level with other sports bodies will also help us forge new and stronger relationships with the many stakeholder organisations in our sector.

Changing environments
The changes at SAPCA are part of a strategy to adapt to an evolving sporting landscape. The government’s Sporting Future strategy has fundamentally changed the way sports and sports facilities are funded.

Perhaps the most radical of these changes has been the way Sport England grants are determined. The funding body is now required to deliver against health, social and economic outcomes – resulting in much greater emphasis being placed on groups that are typically much less active, such as women, disabled people and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The changes form a part of the government’s overarching strategy of bringing sport and physical activity into the domain of preventative healthcare. This poses a number of opportunities to our industry, as well as some challenges.

One of these challenges is to adapt to the requirements of our clients – the people and organisations who build the facilities of the future. Tomorrow’s facilities could take the form of those envisioned by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the former paralympian and current ukactive chair, who has called for the UK’s ageing leisure centres to be transformed into community hubs that combine sports facilities, swimming pools and gyms with GP drop-in centres, libraries and police services, in order to create a one-stop-shop for public services.

The radical changes in the way sport is viewed by the government – and consumed by the public – require SAPCA to adapt. The changes will also demand action from our members. Being innovative and keeping up to date with industry developments will be crucial for the success of all businesses in the sports and play sector. As the industry’s trade body, we will be there to support those wanting to benefit from the opportunities ahead.

SAPCA member

SAPCA is the UK trade association for the sports facility construction industry and represents businesses across the sports, physical activity, recreation and play sectors. Sports Management is the official magazine of SAPCA www.sapca.org.uk

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