Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To advise Committee of progress with the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative (SCBI) for year 2021/22 and update on the action plan for year 2022/23.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note progress to date and content of programme for 2022/2023


3.0       Main report


3.1       The Council has been undertaking the Leisure Transformation Programme to renew its Leisure facilities across the City. This Programme has been influenced by the Partnership opportunities presented by the NI Executive Stadia Programme.


3.2       The Council, Department for Communities (DfC) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) have recognised the opportunities presented by the Stadia Programme, have committed to work together to maximise these benefits, and have agreed to establish a Stadium Community Benefits Initiative as part of the Belfast Community Benefits Initiative (‘the Project’) to implement and deliver agreed objectives including promoting equality, tackling poverty, and tackling social exclusion within the Belfast area.


3.3       In March 2016 the Council, DfC and IFA signed an agreement which sets out their respective commitments to the project. As other major stadia are developed in Belfast it is anticipated that other sports governing bodies shall become parties to the agreement. At its April 2018 meeting, People and Communities committee agreed that Council would work with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) within the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative and recognised their significant planned investment in Gaelic Games in the city to support their Gaelfast strategy. GAA activities became fully incorporated into the action plan at the start of financial year 2019-2020, with Gaelfast staff imbedded into the governance structure at Communications Board, Delivery Board, Policy and Performance Board.


3.4       The agreement is for a period of ten years with financial commitment from Council and IFA in place to the end of March 2026. Delivery is managed through monthly meetings of the Delivery Board, which reports quarterly to the Policy and Performance Board. Financial and performance reports will be presented to Council and other partners’ Boards as necessary. Formal review of the agreement will be carried out in this financial year in accordance with the requirements to review at years 5 and 10. The interim review which has recently been completed has been attached (Appendix 1). The report highlights the intermediate benefits and gives a full assessment of the outcomes delivered by the programme over the first 5 years of delivery. The report summarises in detail delivery year by year as well as examining governance practice, key conclusions to date and highlighting issues for consideration regarding the next stage of the SCBI programme.


            The report highlights that many of the projects delivered to date have further potential and could provide even further benefits in phase 2, these include:


1)     Provision of high quality coaching;

2)     Safeguarding training;

3)     Further development of volunteer skills;

4)     Further increase in female participation and development of female clubs;

5)     Shared Education;

6)     Mental Health First Aid;

7)     Promotion of the SCBI Nutrition Resource

8)     Opportunities to monetarise some of the SCBI projects to other sporting codes.


3.5       The Policy & Performance Group is responsible for agreeing the Benefits Realisation Plan and associated annual targets. Work was undertaken to ensure the end benefits/outcomes are aligned to partners’ strategies. To measure the progress of this the Council and the IFA have developed a range of indicators/intermediate benefits which are monitored through programme delivery:


a.      Number of coaching sessions provided

b.     Number of coaches engaged in delivering coaching

c.      Number of sessions improving club governance

d.     Number of volunteering opportunities

e.      Participation opportunities for under 16s

f.       Female participation rates

g.     Number of people completing skills development programme

h.     Number of sessions for under-represented groups

i.       Number of sessions for school and youth groups

j.       Community group usage of stadia

k.      Number of clubs attaining club-mark

l.       Educational opportunities

m.    Number of programmes targeting ASB

n.     Improved collaborative working

o.     Number of disabled participants

p.     Number of older people participating


3.6       Following the completion of a baseline assessment in early 2017, annual workplans are developed each year. The 2021-2022 action plan was developed, taking into consideration Covid restrictions, with a view to delivering a majority of activities using online methods in Q1 and Q2 with some wider face-to-face engagement if possible commencing in Q3 and Q4. The work programme was successfully tailored as Covid restrictions eased and details are noted in relation to the outcomes below within section 3.7 of this report. The Action Plan for 2022-2023 has been formulated by the partners and includes a mixture of sports specific programmes (e.g. National Governing Body specific coach education) and some joint collaborative initiatives delivered by both sporting codes such as information webinars which proved highly successful within the previous Covid environment which restricted in-person workshops. The 2022-2023 Action Plan has also been attached (Appendix 2).




3.7       Programme delivery to date in year 5 (financial year 2021/2022) despite challenges due to Covid restrictions has been successful. Effective advance planning has mitigated covid restrictions and no planned initiatives were postponed during Q1 & Q2. Relaxations in the Covid restrictions enabled broader engagement in Q3 & Q4 with a range of activities such as collaborative engagement in schools alongside online learning webinars boosting engagement opportunities. Highlights in relation to SCBI programme performance 2021/22 have been;


·        Number of volunteering opportunities generated – 259 opportunities

·        Participation opportunities via activity programmes – 26,175 participants

·        Female participation across the programme – 9,817 participants

·        Number of sessions for school and youth groups – 1206 activity sessions

·        Educational opportunities / information distributed to publics – 2500 upskilling opps



            Financial and Resource Implications


3.8       In accordance with the Council’s obligations under its DfC Funding Agreement for the Olympia Regeneration Project, the Council has committed a sum of £100,000 per annum for a minimum of ten years, so that a minimum of £1,000,000 is contributed in total to the Project. In relation to 2021/22 spend partners have reported a slight underspend of the budget across both joint and individual work programmes. The impact of the Covid pandemic has been highlighted as a key factor in this underspend, yet it should be noted that the Joint programme underspend will be carried forward into the next financial year. The following table highlights partner spend in 2021/22;



IFA Programme Spend

GAA Programme Spend

Joint Initiatives Spend














            As noted, Action Plans have been submitted following joint partner planning for the 2022/23 financial year in respect of work programmes and associated budgets and engagement targets. It is hoped that as Covid restrictions ease further a full annual programme can again be delivered with associated benefits.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications/

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.9       There are no additional impacts related to this report.”


            The Committee noted the progress to date and the content of the programme for 2022/2023


Supporting documents: