LU Case Study

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LEISURE UNITED

LEISURE UNITED IN OUR COMMITMENT TO SUNDERLAND A summary of football, fitness and friendship achievements February 2022

leisureunited.org


A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR A HEALTHY FUTURE

DELIVERING ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE FOOTBALL & FITNESS IN SUNDERLAND We are Leisure United, a charitable trust who have been delivering accessible and affordable football and fitness across the UK. We are totally committed to Sunderland, supporting communities around our hubs in Washington, Downhill and Ford Quarry. Working in partnership with Sunderland City Council, Durham County FA and a wide cross-section of clubs to deliver football for all, health and fitness initiatives, training, social, charity and community events.

“The progress made in a relatively short time in Sunderland is really rewarding to be part of. The hubs are delivering across all objectives. With higher than forecast registrations and attendance, and a wide demographic of users from Sunderland Regional Talent Club for girls to youth leagues, BTEC students and ladies, all established. Community spirit in the hubs is strong, with social events such as kids’ parties and Christmas markets, care home resident activities and charity fundraisers, bringing smiles to people’s faces and bringing communities together. Sunderland is providing first-class football and fitness facilities, enriching the lives of users and opening opportunities for all. The hubs and proving to be real centres of the community. We have built a strong foundation upon which to grow a healthy future in Sunderland.” Warren Ormerod,

Sunderland’s first football hub, Washington opened in November 2019, with Downhill’s football and fitness hub opening in February 2020 and finally Ford Quarry launched in September 2020. Statistics contained herein, are from the hubs’ opening to the end of January 2022. This time period during the COVID pandemic has been a challenging time for the sport, leisure and fitness industry, and society as a whole.

OUTWEIGHING EXPECTATION Registrations and visits have far outweighed expectation. Each hub has embedded in its respective community and is seeing successful outcomes across all objectives. In total, Sunderland hubs have attracted a combined number of:

112,696

641,356

across all the Sunderland hubs

across all the Sunderland hubs

REGISTRATIONS

leisureunited.org leisureunited.org

VISITS

150

FREE PLACES PROVIDED

FREE HOT MEALS PROVIDED

FOOTBALL CAMPS AT SUNDERLAND All three Sunderland-based hubs hosted football camps during the summer and Christmas school holidays. In summer, 150 free places were provided over 4 weeks, each child receiving a free hot meal alongside a program of sports and wellbeing activities. Feedback was fantastic and the initiative was repeated over the Christmas holidays, where a further 120 free places were provided over 4 days across the 3 hubs. Liaising directly with local schools enabled successful targeting of children in receipt of free school meals. Kids camps are already recruiting for February half term, and we have big plans in place for Easter intake.


TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 48,489 ADULT MALE YOUTH MALE ADULT FEMALE

LEISURE UNITED WASHINGTON HUB PARKING

CAFE

WI-FI

3G PITCHES

OPEN 1ST NOV 2019

FLOODLIT PITCHES

LEAGUES

KIDS PARTIES

50,420 PEOPLE REGISTERED

FOOTBALL FOR ALL! Washington partners four clubs, approximately 120 teams from these 4 clubs train at LU Washington on a weekly basis. 12 amateur teams from Sunderland Sunday league use Washington hub as their home venue. Durham FA’s Weight Loss League for men is well-attended every Monday evening. Provision of huge tournaments in partnership with Pro-Motiv8. Washington’s Christmas tournament saw over 100 teams participate each day, for 3 consecutive days. Easter and Summer tournaments in the pipeline.

YOUTH FEMALE

PAY & PLAY

CAMPS

ADULT TOURNAMENTS COACHING COURSES

311,718 VISITS MADE

6609

LEAGUE GAMES PLAYED

STRIKING THE GENDER BALANCE In support of the growth of the women’s game, Washington is the home venue for 3 women’s football teams, playing on Sunday afternoons with a further women’s team lined up for next season.

BOYS AND GIRLS-TOTS, MINIS, JUNIOR AND YOUTH A central venue for the Russel Foster Youth League (RFYL) supporting the u7s boys programme and girls 7v7 football. Every Saturday, around 66 mini soccer matches are played over a 5-hour period. Durham FA 5v5 and 7v7 mini soccer to local junior clubs are hosted at Washington on Sundays. Wildcats sessions, for girls aged 5-11, take place every Friday in partnership with Washington AFC.

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FAN-TASTIC COMMUNITY MAGNET Each Saturday 3000 people pass through Washington’s turnstiles. Kids birthday parties are being delivered at a rate of 5 per month, since social restrictions have lifted. Washington hub has supported charity initiatives such as food bank collections drives, the Bradley Lowery Foundation and Northumbria Police charity days.

MOMENTUM IS GROWING AT WASHINGTON “I’m proud of the relationships we have built with our partner clubs, it’s fantastic to see such great inclusivity at the hub and participation at all ability levels. Watching the kids play, make new friends and develop their football and teamwork skills is great to see. There’s a real mix of new faces and people we see week after week. I feel momentum is growing at Washington as we lead the way for Leisure United in Sunderland.” Hub Manager, Sunderland Washington

TRAINING AND EDUCATING Washington is the training venue for Park View Academy. Over 120 students of girls and boys football as well as rugby, for students aged 16+. From September, Pro Direct Academy Sunderland will launch their post 16 education programme, for full time from Washington hub, utilising the sports and classroom facilities. Training facilities at Washington are regularly used by Durham FA in the delivery of their referees’ courses and UEFA B programmes. Next Level Goalkeeping are hosting camps to attract and develop young keeper talent.


ATTRACTING YOUNGSTERS Downhill are working with Velocity Juniors and the Foundation Community Club to grow participation. Friday Night Kicks programme in partnership with the Foundation of Light provided FREE football to local children in December. Hosted charity “I AM SPORTs” kids clubs at heavy discounts for 30 children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This led to Downhill partnering with I AM SPORTs to provide the HAF camps.

FOOTBALL AT LEISURE UNITED DOWNHILL HUB WALKING FOOTBALL

GIRLS FOOTBALL

AFTER SCHOOL COACHING

PARKING

CAFE

WI-FI

3G PITCHES

FLOODLIT PITCHES

LEAGUES

KIDS PARTIES

PAY & PLAY

CAMPS

Working with “Game of Tournaments” to deliver junior tournaments this season in addition to Sunday afternoon tournaments on all three 3G pitches this September.

TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 31,354

ADULT TOURNAMENTS COACHING COURSES

ADULT MALE YOUTH MALE

OPEN 1ST FEB 2020

32,740 PEOPLE REGISTERED

156,799 VISITS MADE

923

A BIG HIT WITH THE GIRLS

12 amateur teams from Sunderland Sunday league use Downhill hub as their venue for home games.

Of the three hubs in Sunderland, Downhill provides and hosts the largest football programme for girls.

Matchplay venue for Velocity adult and junior football teams, which will be further enhanced by the additional grass pitches in the 22/23 season.

27% of registrants are female, 26% of those are aged under 18.

Man v Fat special weight loss initiative for men, is played on Tuesday nights with games supported by nutrition and health support. The more weight sides lose, the more points they gain!

Partners, The Foundation of Light provide inspiration by inviting local female footballers to our Player Development Squad on Tuesday nights, for specialised coaching sessions. Downhill is the home training and matchday venue for Sunderland Regional Talent Club for Girls with players from u12s and u16s training on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Popularity of this has resulted in an increased number of teams participating and additional training facilities booked at Ford Quarry hub. Additional u12s and u14s teams have been established and they are participating in the RFYL boy’s division! A regular matchday venue for Foundation of Light Scholarship girls and Sunderland RTC girls. Downhill’s inhouse Wildcats programme for girls aged 5-11 starts this spring.

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YOUTH FEMALE

LEAGUE GAMES PLAYED

FOOTBALL FOR ALL!

Growing take up of pay and play providing affordable, accessible football for friendship groups.

ADULT FEMALE

INCLUSIVE USE Pre-Covid, residents from a local care home “Grace House” visited the hub for cinema afternoons, bingo and armchair aerobics and our team visited them to deliver healthy activities in the home. During Lockdowns, Evolve Sports Academy utilised Downhill’s education facilities to continue giving support to vulnerable students, with behavioural needs, who where at risk of exclusion from mainstream school. Downhill hosted a Christmas market, a great venue for local businesses to connect with and bring cheer to our community. Foundation of Light Scholarship programme use the site full time for education, training, strength and conditioning. A base for 80 students across two-year groups.

A CREDIT TO OUR STRONG PARTNERSHIPS “It’s a credit to our strong partnerships that Downhill are able to host such a wide and inclusive programme, particularly for women and girls. The success of these initiatives has led to expansion and referral of bookings to Ford Quarry hub. The LU team can’t wait to welcome the Grace House residents back to the hub soon.” Hub Manager, Sunderland Downhill


45% OF DOWNHILL GYM REGISTRATIONS ARE FEMALE

FITNESS AT LEISURE UNITED DOWNHILL HUB

SUPPORTING HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE AND WEIGHT LOSS Weight transformation programmes have been delivered in two, 6-week sessions, attracting 24 participants. Downhill Gym has developed links with Peter Tate from Sunderland Council who offers support to the local Sunderland Weight Management Programme.

OPEN 1ST FEB 2020

796 MEMBERS

ONLINE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Downhill delivered online training during the pandemic to 854 people, this included online fitness classes health and nutrition advice as well as an engagement platform to keep people in contact during a difficult time.

38,148

Local GPs can now refer people to Peter. One option he can provide is a 3-month free membership giving gym access, classes and support from fitness instructors. This is a council funded initiative.

VISITS MADE

WE ARE STRONGER, TOGETHER

FITNESS LEVELS ARE SOARING!

Memberships are on target for year 1, irrespective of the pandemic interruptions. Over 30 fitness classes a week run to timetable, with weekly participation of 220 people.

The Downhill fitness team delivered 12 online classes a week, during lockdown which formed the basis of a strong virtual community. Online engagement continues to be high, with 2379 facebook followers. The LU fitness app successfully launched and has been a fantastic support tool for membership engagement.

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OVER 30 CLASSES PER WEEK

220 PEOPLE PARTICIPATE PER WEEK

“We love seeing the 60-station gym full of motivated members working out again. From body sculpting to bootcamp, feedback from the classes has been fantastic and fitness levels are soaring at Downhill. The online community is really active and has helped us to cross-promote the football opportunities, including the kids camps to members.” Gym Manager, Sunderland Downhill


TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 27,409 ADULT MALE YOUTH MALE ADULT FEMALE

LEISURE UNITED FORD QUARRY HUB WALKING FOOTBALL

GIRLS FOOTBALL

AFTER SCHOOL COACHING

PARKING

OPEN 5TH SEPT 2020

CAFE

WI-FI

3G PITCHES

29,536 PEOPLE REGISTERED

KICKING OFF IN STYLE Ford Quarry has the unique Stadia pitch allowing the hosting of matches up to step 6 of the football pyramid. We work in partnership with Sunderland West End – including their men’s semi-professional Northern League. Ford Quarry AFC men’s team and Sunderland West End are able to share the stadia pitch, as they play in the same league. 12 mens’ teams from the Sunderland Sunday League use Ford Quarry as their home venue.

FLOODLIT PITCHES

YOUTH FEMALE

LEAGUES

KIDS PARTIES

PAY & PLAY

172,837 VISITS MADE

CAMPS

ADULT TOURNAMENTS COACHING COURSES

1354

LEAGUE GAMES PLAYED

BIG PROGRESS FOR MINI, JUNIOR, GIRLS AND YOUTH FOOTBALL More youth players than ever before joined Sunderland West End juniors at the start of the 21/22 season. We partner with Sunderland City Juniors and Sunderland RTC for girls play on Thursday evenings. The Foundation of Light utilise Ford Quarry for their Player Development Squad, which offers invitation only coaching support to develop local junior footballing talent. Durham FA’s 7 v 7 mini soccer leagues take place on Sunday afternoons. Central venue for RFYL 7 v 7 mini soccer, which attracts over 2000 people to the hub, every Saturday! Soccer camps proving successful with a number of partnerships established, including Helen Alderson’s Goal Keeper Coaching, specifically for girls and ladies. 40 participants attended daily. Hosted Active Families, providing 30 children weekly support throughout August, with plans in place for this summer.

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INCLUSIVITY IS INHERANT IN OUR OFFER Ford Quarry is the host venue for the North East Disability League, which each month has a fantastic turnout. Young Asian Voices ran a tournament at Ford Quarry in October in support of black history month. Charity events have raised funds for Turnbull Cancer Research and the Bradley Lowery Foundation. Evolve Sports Academy hosts between 8-10 students supporting them with behaviour needs education. Local schools can refer students to the programme, for a 6-week duration. Ford Quarry is the ideal venue so kids can get regular breaks and let off steam playing football, allowing them to concentrate on their studies more effectively. A local voluntary group - Communities Together, have been provided with meeting facilities volunteers.

MOMENTUM IS GROWING AT WASHINGTON “The diversity of people who use the hub is fundamental to its success. From semiprofessional footballers, to mini soccer teams. Teams of volunteers and community groups all using these top-class facilities, supported by brilliant club partnerships and of course the LU team. This is what grassroots football provision in the community is all about. It’s great to be a part of.” Hub Manager, Sunderland Ford Quarry


TOGETHER WE’RE UNITED With the help and support of our funding partners: Football Foundation, the FA, Sport England, the DCMS and Premier League. Our connections are what bonds every Leisure United hub together, united across the nation. Working together to invest and reinvest in football and fitness, to deliver the positivity and passion from the very top level of football to our grounds, our grassroots, for everyone in and around our hubs, and in and around your community to benefit from.

LEISURE UNITED WASHINGTON

Northern Area Playing Fields, Stephenson Road, Washington, Sunderland, NE37 3HR info.washington@leisureunited.org LEISURE UNITED DOWNHILL

Community North Sports Complex, Kingsway Road, Downhill, Sunderland, SR5 4BB info.downhill@leisureunited.org LEISURE UNITED FORD QUARRY

Keelmans Lane, South Hylton, Sunderland, SR4 0HB info.ford@leisureunited.org

LEISURE UNITED

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