MPs and policymakers joined representatives from charities and other organisations with an interest in developing sustainable community programmes at the reception.
The report, titled Developing People and Places through Sport, is by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), and was commissioned soon after Barclays Spaces for Sports launched in 2004. It covers the capital build phase of the programme from 2004 to 2007.
“I would like to thank our partners, the Football Foundation and Groundwork, for the key role they’ve played in making this public-private partnership a success,” said Marcus. “The £30m commitment to date by Barclays represents the single biggest investment in grassroots sport by a private company in the UK. However, with matched and leveraged funding secured from our partners, the total amount invested in the programme is £60m.”
Marcus also welcomed the positive impact of Barclays Spaces for Sports on local communities across the UK. “In many instances we’re hearing about a significant fall in crime and anti-social behaviour in the area surrounding sites, as well as our investment serving as a catalyst to draw in extra funding to improve the existing facilities or to kick-start a regeneration of the area in the immediate vicinity,” he added.
“We are also seeing a huge cross-section of the local community using our sites, in particular a large range of ethnic minority groups are coming into contact with each other and even youngsters form rival gangs are being brought together in a safe, controlled environment. In addition, a number of young people have become coaches and secured full-time employment through working at the sites.”
“Barclays should be congratulated for investing in research at the start of the investment in order to capture and track emerging learning and experiences from the main partners and community stakeholders,” said MMU’s Andrew Ramwell, who led the research. “This commitment to understanding the impact of Barclay Spaces for Sports has been one of the significant features of this award-winning programme.”
Barclays Spaces for Sports was extended globally in April 2008, with projects already established in South Africa and the United States, and more set to follow.