Bristol celebrates winning title of European City of Sport 2017
Mayor George Ferguson has announced that Bristol has been named as the UK’s European City of Sport for 2017.
The year will mark a celebration of the part sport plays in every aspect of life across Bristol’s many and diverse communities.
The new Bristol Partnership for Sport and Active Recreation has secured the prestigious award on behalf of the city.
An important theme for the year will be women and girls in sport, an area where Bristol is already showing exceptional growth and success.
A full programme of events for the year is currently being planned.
Already confirmed is the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, with the Bristol County Ground, home to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, one of five venues to host the global competition.
The year aims to build on the success of the Bristol Girls Can campaign and other projects which aim to encourage more people across the city to get involved with sport and active recreation.
European City of Sport will bring together the best of what the city is already doing to support and celebrate sport with additional events or campaigns especially for 2017.
As a curtain raiser to the year, the Mayor has dedicated £5,000 from his discretionary fund to contribute towards black and minority ethnic sport groups in the city.
Groups who will benefit from the additional funding include; the St Judes Women’s Group, Docklands Youth Centre, Bristol West Indies Phoenix Cricket Club and the Bristol Brothers football team.
Mayor Ferguson said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that Bristol has been awarded the title of European City of Sport 2017.
“I took an early decision to investigate the potential for sport across Bristol soon after I was elected as Mayor, inviting Colin Sexstone to chair a mayoral commission on sport. He and all commissioners did an excellent job and as a result, a city-wide sports partnership was set up to make sport work harder and do more for everyone who lives and works and studies in our city.
“As a city we already do much to encourage people to be more active and healthy, and this year of sport gives us an opportunity to build on all the good things we have already achieved.
“I particularly want to emphasise the importance of community sport, and each of the sports projects that I have decided to support with my discretionary fund is making a real contribution towards maintaining and increasing sports participation, often with great social benefit.
“I want to ensure that the benefits are spread across the city and meet my wider aim of addressing inequalities.
“A population that engages in sport, and is more active in everyday life, will help to transform our city mentally, socially and physically”
The European City of Sport title is awarded by ACES Europe, a not-for-profit group based in Brussels who promote sport across Europe. Bristol will take over from Stoke-on-Trent who hold the title for 2016.
Cities are judged on their sporting facilities, residents’ level of participation, the success of local teams and sporting events.
Bristol is one of several European cities to be awarded the title, which is announced annually.
The award was secured by the partnership, with the support of Bristol’s professional sports teams as well as other sporting bodies and the city’s universities.
The partnership is now looking to raise sponsorship from local businesses to help fund the programme of activities. One local business who has already shown its support is the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel.
The organisers also hope to establish a special fund to issue grants for community projects throughout the year to help encourage grassroots participation in sport.
Colin Sexstone, chair of the partnership, said: “It’s a great honour to secure European City of Sport status. 2017 will be an exciting opportunity for Bristol to develop its growing reputation as a hub for sport and participation, both nationally and internationally.
“The year of celebration will serve as a catalyst to promote the importance of healthy lifestyles, to increase participation in sport and active recreation in the city, and to engage all of the city’s many and diverse communities.
“We have got all of the main players together as a new Bristol Partnership for Sport and Active Recreation, so we have got a huge amount of support, and we are ready to make sport work harder and do more for everyone who lives and works and studies in our great city.
“The commitment to placing sport at the heart of plans to regenerate the city is clear and today’s announcement kicks off an exciting new chapter for Bristol’s sporting future.”
Physical inactivity is a very significant cause of ill health in the UK, and a leading contributor to rising levels of many long-term conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and dementia.
Councillor Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods with responsibility for sport, said: “Exercise is fun, and great for your mental and physical health. Whether it’s team sports, dance, aerobics or simply cycling or walking about the city, getting a bit more active will improve your health in the long term.
“In Bristol we aim to enable people to be active and to get our young people moving to get them into good habits.”
SPORTS GRANTS – SIDE PANEL
Grassroots sports team from across Bristol have been given a boost thanks to new funding from Bristol City Council.
As part of the 15/16 budget process an amendment proposed by Councillor Mark Weston allocated £250,000 for Community Sports Grants.
The funding aims to improve facilities at clubs that have shown strong links with schools and other youth provision.
Some of the projects to benefit from the money include; Avonmouth Rugby Club who will be installing new junior pitches and floodlights, Downend Boxing Club who will be getting some new equipment, Bedminster Cricket Club who are building new changing facilities and The Park Sports Hall who will be installing two new basketball rings and a scoreboard.
Craig Turner, Head Coach at Downend Boxing Club, said: “We enjoy a diverse membership and a high competitive success with two England international boxers.
“We will use this money to continue to provide a state of the art facility that is affordable and open to all. We are committed to providing the best opportunity to our young people despite any social or economic disadvantage.
“Traditionally boxing is not a main stream sport so funding is not easily come by, so this grant will make a massive difference to us. It will ensure the athletes and young people of the area will receive the very best that we can provide.”
To be eligible for a grant, projects also needed to be at an advanced stage of development and have match funding contributions where possible – this ensures that council funding is able to go as far as possible.