The Welsh government and quango Sport Wales have published their vision for improving the inclusivity and sustainability of sporting facilities throughout the nation.
Facilities for Future Generations: A Blueprint for Sport and Active Recreation in Wales lays out a framework as a point of reference to “help inform long-term, sustainable decision-making” on the design, provision and maintenance of facilities.
Headlines from the report include the recommendation for a 25-year plan to create a “long-term approach” to facilities provision, and a local government review for all its current and planned provisions, including schools, colleges/universities, private and voluntary sector facilities.
Local government will be encouraged to integrate sporting infrastructure plans within wider estate strategies. A nationally coordinated review of aquatic facilities should also be undertaken according to the document.
The document said that while there had been “significant growth” in leisure infrastructure over the past 40 years, the “maintenance and modernisation of extant stock has tended to be less a priority”, highlighting “deteriorating infrastructure across the public sector becoming increasingly commonplace”.
Sport Wales and the government also recommend the development of national and regional sports infrastructure plans, increased surveys and evidence gathering in relation to facilities’ role in participation, and efficiency performance measures “geared towards profitability, quality of infrastructure and impact on activity habits”.
“We know that having high quality, sustainable facilities will be central to encouraging more people to become active more often,” said deputy director of community sport at Sport Wales Graham Williams. “In order to achieve this there must be a long-term approach to planning so we can be sure that facilities fully satisfy community needs both now and in the future.”
He added: “We must make high-quality first experiences a key priority which is why getting it right at school level is so important alongside focusing on developing facilities that maintain that enthusiasm for sport at school age into adulthood.”
Deputy minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said that while it was a “challenging financial time” it was important to “make sure future generations have the right facilities in the right places, so that we can break down barriers to participation.
First published on www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, 4 April 2016, wirtten by Matthew Campelli