Sincil Bank Stadium is the home of Lincoln City Football Club. A feasibility study into the Club’s the Hub project was carried out in 2005 thanks to funding from Social Enterprise East Midlands and Urban Challenge.
This extensive feasibility programme of which we are starting to see the results of today was part of that process. Lichfield Planning, a local consultancy planning company were given a remit to co-ordinate the feasibility study which will be available in the Trust Members area of this website.
Since the project started funding has now been obtained from Lincolnshire Enterprise and the project is being overseen by the East Midlands Development Agency.
Purpose of project
To explore opportunities for diversifying activity within Lincoln City Football Club to the benefit of the Club and the Community.
The Supporters Trust believes that there are opportunities for developing the club as a community resource, inspired in part by the “Mutuo” policy document promoting the use of sporting stadia as hubs for community action.
The Club benefits from
- A significant level of mutual ownership through the Supporters Trust
- A substantial landholding, including areas which are under utilised
- Facilities, buildings and parts of buildings which are under utilised
- A strategic location with proximity to areas ranked high in the index of deprivation
The Club and Trust recognise the need to develop a closer relationship with the local community and the added benefits of more intensive usage of the site and it’s facilities.
Park, Boultham and Abbey wards are all within reach of the Stadium, which is located in Park Ward. These three wards are ranked in the worst for deprivation, recognised by their eligibility for funding through programmes which at the time of the feasibility included the Single Regeneration Budget, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and Objective 2.
Ward mapping carried out by Urban Challenge suggested many areas where the communities had identified need for improved facilities, infrastructure and activity which might be delivered through this programme.
To explore a series of ideas, whereby the Club and its facilities can be improved and developed for the mutual benefit of the Club and its community. The project would develop a number of opportunities for social enterprise development targeting the needs of the community as identified in an innovative way, using the football club as the focus for community activity. Such activities would include
- Promoting regeneration in a recognised deprived ward
- Identifying specific needs and requirements in partnership with the local community
- Targeting specific social problems and to provide solutions through the use of sport as a means for good
- Construction of new or improved facilities for joint use by the Club and the Community
- Increased community use of rooms and facilities for education, recreation or community activity.
- Improving site infrastructure to facilitate community access and relieve congestion in residential areas.
- Acquiring additional land or buildings for joint use
- Developing programmes of community activity both on the site and elsewhere to engage the Club with the Community
- To promote social inclusion within the community by providing services and facilities for all
- Improve accessibility and facilities for those less able members of the community
The Supporters Trust is open to any and all constructive suggestion as to what the programme of projects might comprise in the long term. However some examples of project ideas, which might fall into some of the above categories, are
- Increased football participation programmes
- Social events aimed at specific target groups, disabled, pensioners etc
- New gymnasium facilities for club, community and public use
- Use of training and pitch facilities by other sports
- Healthy Living Centre
- New shared facilities for recreation with local schools e.g. training area, gardens, playgrounds.
- A business incubation scheme where the Football Club offer business advice, on-going support and maybe premises to help businesses in the local area including locally outsourcing some of its services.
Benefits for Community
- New opportunities for sport, recreation and social activity
- Reduction of crime particularly in young people
- Local employment and training opportunities
- Developing community spirit
Benefits for the Club
- Better relations with local community
- Improved facilities to support core activities
- A more diverse business activity making more efficient use of resources
How the Trust are Proceeding
Lincolnshire Enterprise have provided funding for the Trust to employ an Economic Renewal Officer who is now delivering many of the outcomes of the feasibility report. They are able to assist the ERO by providing contacts, advice and support throughout the project.
A Management Committee has been formed comprising
- Supporters’ Trust Representatives
- Lincoln City Chief Executive Officer
- Lincolnshire Enterprise
- Lincoln City Council
- The Economic Renewal Officer
This team will manage the development of the project, delivered through the ERO and his staff. The ERO is responsible for identifying appropriate opportunities within the Club activity where development would support the core activity and improve the club generally. The feasibility will give guidance and direction to the group through consultation
The Economic Renewal Officer is talking to community representatives to engage in the process, inspire and identify community needs and aspirations and consider how they fit with the Club’s ambitions. Together the ERO, Management Team and and the local community will study the feasibility of individual projects, develop them and seek external funding for delivery where appropriate.
Although funding for the project ceased, there were a number of quantifiable outcomes. For example
· The Cathedral View Business Centre was created by renovating a number of executive boxes in the South Park Stand
· plans were drawn up for an expanded business centre and hospitality area in the South Park Stand
· permission was gained for extended use of the club car park
· greater links were made with the local community resulting in extended use of the ground
Community activity has continued with strong working links created with LCDP and the City Council through the Community Development Workers. An active part was taken in the PlaceCheck that was carried out in Park Ward in the summer of 2009 and members of the Trust Board were involved in a community project that helped clear part of Sincil Drain near to the ground.
A member of the Trust Board has been invited to sit on a panel that will allocate small sums of money to local community projects and also sits on the Safety Advisory Group body that oversees all matters of spectator safety at the ground.
A bid for further funding has been made to The Tudor Trust in order to employ a further Community Development Worker to work in Park Ward and continue the Trust’s policy of engaging with the local community.