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SAPCA update: County Playing Fields Association to relaunch as Playing Fields Network

SAPCA-supported Godiva Classic providing wheelchair racing legacy

Published in Sports Management Sep Oct 2017 issue 133
Young racers can experience competition for the first time
Young racers can experience competition for the first time

An annual wheelchair racing event, supported by the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), is providing a lasting legacy for the UK’s para-athletics sector.

First held ahead of the London Olympics in 2012, the Godiva Classic was originally set up to provide an opportunity for young athletes to experience their first taste of organised competition. While it still provides an opportunity for everyone to take part, the event has quickly grown to become a showcase competition for elite wheelchair racers in the UK.

In 2015, it was used by a number of elite athletes to achieve qualification standards for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Held annually at the Coventry Athletics Track, University of Warwick, the event now attracts more than 300 elite athletes each year.

“SAPCA has long supported wheelchair racing,” said SAPCA CEO Chris Trickey. “We supported Paralympics GB in the run up to the London 2012 Games and since then have partnered with the Coventry Godiva Harriers club to help grassroots wheelchair racing.

“For us, the key is to help youngsters, and the Godiva Classic provides them with an introduction to a competitive environment where they can compete alongside the very best in the sport.”

SAPCA Technical meeting 2017

The next SAPCA technical meeting will be held on 10 October at Holywell Park at Loughborough University.
Open to everyone in the sports construction industry, the event will cover a wide range of topics – from the new code of practice for tennis courts to new standards for football goals.

The all-day event will also allow plenty of opportunity for debate and interaction between delegates.

For more information and for booking details, visit:

The meeting will be held at Loughborough University
The meeting will be held at Loughborough University

County Playing Fields Association to relaunch as Playing Fields Network

The National Committee of the County Playing Fields Association (CPFA), one the UK’s oldest public sports organisations, has announced plans to relaunch as the Playing Fields Network (PFN) in January 2017.

The National Committee’s activities through the years have ranged from lobbying government and influencing policy to funding facility projects and spreading best practice.

The CPFA has its origins in the efforts to restore and safeguard physical activity facilities in communities following the two World Wars. The first individual CPFAs were set up in the 1920s to protect people’s right to access local outdoor community sport and recreation facilities.

In recent years, however, both the individual CPFAs and the National Committee have faced some stiff challenges. The changing priorities in sport, combined with government cuts in recreation budgets, have led to the weakening, and even demise, of many of the local county associations.

As a result, the organisation has published a new three-year strategic plan that will see the National Committee rebranded as the PFN, and the new body set up as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).

The PFN will remain a membership network for the CPFAs, but will also look to involve stakeholders from the wider sports and physical activity sector.

The PFN has already secured the support of the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA).

“As part of our own work to raise standards and improve grassroots sport, we’re delighted to be assisting with the launch of PFN,” says SAPCA CEO Chris Trickey. “We’re committed to building an active nation and recognise the important role played by publicly-owned playing fields and playgrounds.

“We’ll collaborate with PFN on developing advice and guidance on the development and maintenance of sports and play facilities. The aim is to provide help and support to those who operate and manage playing fields.”

The new Playing Fields Network will work to support facility operators / © shutterstock/muzsy
The new Playing Fields Network will work to support facility operators/ © shutterstock/muzsy
Gerry Ceasar is chairman of the Surrey branch of the CPFA
Gerry Ceasar is chairman of the Surrey branch of the CPFA

SAPCA is the UK trade association for the sports facility construction industry and represents businesses across the sports, physical activity, recreation and play sectors. SAPCA is a media partner of Leisure Media.

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