I write this blog after a summer that saw a home Commonwealth Games and while we're still basking in the glory of the Lionesses winning the Euros at Wembley.
These major events bring together a nation in spirit and mind and talk of legacy. However, if not directly involved, it can seem distant and difficult for clubs and community groups to capture the benefits.
Since 2016, we in Doncaster have been working with Sport England to test ways of maximising the social impact of the major events.
We have hosted events including the Tour de Yorkshire (TDY), UCI Road World Championships and this October's Rugby League World Cup. Most recently, we have supported the Club Matters team by sharing some hints and tips to help them develop their ‘Making the most of major sports events’ document.
Tactics and actions
This blog highlights a handful of tactics and actions we have developed in Doncaster to help grassroots organisations get involved in making the most of major sports events, and it will give you the feel of what can be achieved with prior planning.
What we have learnt is that events can truly bring communities together and allow those not engaged in your clubs, groups, or sport to become so.
The starting point for this journey is to reflect what you have to offer in your club or group. This may be through yours, or access to others', facilities, the interest and capacity of your people, the activities you offer, or simply how you can engage the widest possible audience.
A significant moment in what changed the council’s approach to major events, is what I call the ‘tea and loo’ moment. In our first hosting of the TDY, we found that the over 70s wanted to watch the event but couldn’t, as there were no facilities along the race route to help them enjoy the experience.
From surveys we undertook we found that this audience wanted somewhere to rest prior to the race, a cup of tea, and easy access to a toilet. This information taught us to think differently in our planning and try to put ourselves in the shoes of those individuals who may not already be engaged or excited about the event or sport.