Agenda item


The Director of Neighbourhood Services provided the Members with an update on the development of a Belfast City Council Sports Development and Physical Activity Strategy (The Strategy), along with an updated timeline for completion of the Strategy.


            He reminded the Members that the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting in January 2018, had agreed that a Belfast City Council Sports Development Strategy and associated work plan would be developed. The aim of the Strategy was to provide a framework for future decision making on providing funding to National Governing Bodies of Sport delivering programmes in Belfast in support of existing funding streams and work programmes which would enhance sporting opportunities for Belfast’s sporting organisations and individuals.


            The People and Communities Committee, in June 2018, had subsequently agreed a proposed Terms of Reference and timeline.  The Departmental Change Programme had since prompted consideration of wider opportunities to clarify and align the links between sports development and the Council’s strategic funding and programming decisions in the areas of asset development, health improvement and community development.


            The Members were reminded that, at the People and Communities meeting in November 2020, it had been agreed that the Terms of Reference would be extended to include the following areas:


·        In line with the Belfast Agenda the outcomes were extended to 2035;

·        Physical activity programming was considered as part of the pathway into organised sport;

·        To be considered and aligned with the Leisure Transformation Programme;

·        To be identification of alternative sources of financing/partner opportunities;

·        Facility/asset utilisation and management to be maximised through collaborative partnership approaches;

·        Facility/asset planning and development to be considered taking account of local, citywide and regional need;

·        Sport’s contribution to improvement of whole health to be considered in the context of partnership working through the work of the Belfast Community Planning Partnership and associated Boards – particularly the Living Here Board;

·        Sport’s contribution to community development to be considered in the context of City and Neighbourhood’s Departmental approach to area working and neighbourhood regeneration; and 

·        The strategy ‘working title’ to be “Belfast Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy.


            In July 2022, following a quotation process, Strategic Leisure had been appointed to support the Council in the production of the Strategy. The Members were advised that initial introductory meetings involving both Council officers and a number of Key Delivery Partners had now taken place, with more than 50 individuals and groups having been involved.  In addition, a total of 370 responses had been received via “Your Say Belfast”.


            The Director then drew the Members’ attention to the proposed draft timetable, as follows:


Background review of documentation policies and strategies

September 2022-(Completed)

Establish Board and structures for developing strategy

September 2022-October 2022


Initial face to face consultation with key stakeholders and schools

September 2022-October 2022


Review and Mapping

September 2022-October 2022


Focus groupsestablished and face to face meetings to take place

October 2022 - December 2022


Wider public consultation to take place online using “Your Say Belfast”

October 2022-December 2022


Analysis of key issues identified with a focus on internal consultation and external feedback

November 2022-January 2023


Interim Draft Report produced and presented to elected members for discussion

27 February 2023 12.00 -1.30pm

Review Draft Strategy and produce draft report

March 2023-May 2023

Draft Strategy to be released for public consultation

May 2023- July 2023

Analyse feedback from consultation and amend/update strategy

August 2023

Final Strategy to be presented to elected members

September  2023-October 2023

Strategy Launched

October 2023


            The Director highlighted that the draft interim draft report was due to be presented to the Members via a Workshop on Monday, 27th February 2023 from 12:00 p.m. - 13:30 p.m. in the Lavery Room, this would be a hybrid meeting and would also be available via MS Teams.


            The Chairperson advised that the previous Members Workshop in December had been poorly attended and he encouraged the Members to attend, stating that it was their opportunity to participate further in the discussion forming the Strategy.


            The Committee noted the progress to date and agreed to the new proposed timeline for development of the Strategy.


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