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UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide

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UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide Introduction Having been a sport and recreation provider for more than 50 years, the HAGS team have supported countless public bodies and community group customers on their journey to create welcoming and sustainable outdoor community spaces. Planning for new sports and fitness provision can be a long and daunting process for people who are embarking on their first installation. This guide aims to aid council staff, community groups, non-profit associations or anyone looking to build a public sports and fitness facility, by providing simple, practical tools for each stage of their journey.


1 - Understanding the users Many grant-makers stress the importance of knowing the end user to deliver adequate outdoor provision. Sport England, the major funding body in sports and fitness, has carried out extensive research on different user groups, from young people (Youth insight: under the skin research) to older citizens. It is therefore crucial to the success of your project that you demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your customers’ needs and expectations and show evidence that you actively engage with them. The user personas methodology (also called customer personas in the business world) has been widely used to design features and products that meet the final user’s needs. The UK government has relied on user personas to develop its new website: www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/personas.html You don’t need a lot of resources to apply this method. Just interview the different groups of people who are likely to use the facility once it is built - find out about their lifestyle, attitude to sports and fitness activity and their expectations. As Sport England’s main objective is to give more healthy-living opportunities to people who are less active or not active at all, the priority needs to be on these customer groups if you aim to secure a community asset grant.

Who are your end-users?

Younger children



People with disabilities

Senior citizens

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Underprivileged backgrounds


UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide 2 - Choosing the right site This stage will require collaboration with your Local Authority and/or the landowner of the site. If you have an existing facility which needs repair or new equipment you may not need planning permission. However if you are looking to develop a new site, a few things should be considered and checked at the project outset: Ownership: Find out who owns and manages the land: www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry. Fields in Trust provides some practical guidance on the planning permission process if you become a member. Assess: Is the location fit for purpose? Your site doesn’t have to be a park – unused public or commercial spaces can be suitable for sports and fitness provision including brownfield land, derelict tennis courts, car parks, pocket parks or plots of land under highways. The planning stage of your project should consider if the space meets the right criteria to meet your intended user needs. The following is criteria you could consider. Physical environment: Is the site near a busy road? Is it exposed to strong winds? Is it near the coast? Harsh weather conditions will affect how the site is used and you must plan the provision accordingly.

5 Ground conditions: We advise you to commission a site survey to ascertain the constraints and opportunities your chosen site offers. If the ground is sloping there may be a way to use this to your advantage, or you may want to consider works to level the site, alternatively some equipment can be custom-made to suit gradients. Issues such as drainage, tree roots, adjacent watercourses might need consideration. All this will have a cost implication for your project. Accessibility: Make sure that the site includes wide gates and pathways so that people with limited mobility can access the space easily. Also consider if visitors can rely on public transportation to travel to the site and if a car park is needed. Sport England is a strong advocate of walkable communities and advise that “active travel (walking or cycling) should be prioritised over other modes of transport.” Keep in mind that during the installation works, some space will have to be allocated to the contractors’ equipment and vehicles. Proximity to dwellings: Some residents are reluctant to have sports facilities being built close to their homes due to potential noise disruption. One of your priorities during the consultation process will be to hear their concerns and educate them on the benefits of the facility. On the plus side, adjacant houses and shops will increase the popularity of the outdoor space. Sports England’s Active Design say: “The co-location and concentration of retail, community and associated uses to support linked trips should be promoted. A mix of land uses and activities should be promoted that avoid the uniform zoning of large areas to single uses.” Landscape features: Ancient trees and other distinctive natural features may be cherished by the residents and will need to be protected. Far from being an obstacle, they can become a nice feature of the space, soften the visual impact of the equipment and provide a habitat for wildlife. Avoid siting the facility too close to the trees’ canopy as that will increase maintenance costs as leaves and debris will need to be cleaned up regularly.

Choosing the right site Proximity to Dwellings Physical Environment

Landscape Features Ground Conditions

Social environment: Whether or not the area is prone to vandalism or anti-social behaviour could have an impact on how you plan and implement your consultation and engagement activities. Understanding the issues from the outset will help you select activities and equipment that will be successful once installed. The layout and location of the facilities are important to consider in relation to the surroundings and our design team can advise and support you in making these choices.

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Social Environment Accessibility


UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide 3 - Building your team To successfully project manage a sports and fitness installation your group will need a broad range of skill sets. Here are all the people you should ideally have on board, although resourceful individuals can bring more than one skill set to the team. Angie Gibson, Resources Manager for Wokingham BC advises: “I would advise to put together a small team of motivated and proactive people, 2 to 3 people max, to run the project before reaching out to a full committee, as this will help move things forward and stay focused.” Chairperson: Coordinates the entire project. Should have adequate time available to lead the project and be organised and hands-on. Construction Specialist: Prepares for and facilitates the building of the facility. Suzanne Price, Clerk from West End PC: “One of our team members, who has a construction background, followed the installation of the site closely and liaised with the contractors. He always spotted potential issues before they even arose and made sure everything went smoothly.” Financial Advisor: Acts as a treasurer and tracks the project’s budget. Having a business-minded person on board is all the more important as many funders require a solid business plan before agreeing to support your project. Community Ambassador: Will be the physical activity champion, promoting your project to Local Authorities and/or funding bodies, and inspire the community to be physically active.

Building your team

Chairperson Financial Advisor Construction Specialist Community Ambassador


4 - How to organise a consultation session Consultation sessions are a great way to gather everyone’s thoughts and identify which type of provision is needed by the community. Here are our top tips to make the most of it: Plan thoroughly: Make sure the location is accessible to most people and organise an online consultation for those who can’t physically come to the location. We recommend Survey Monkey or Google Forms to collect people’s feedback as they generate automated reports making it far easier to process the data. Several sessions spread across the week at different times of the day allow everyone to get involved, whether they’re busy professionals who can only do evenings or stay-at-home parents or carers able to drop by during the day. Advertise your event: Allow from 10 days to 2 weeks to promote the meeting. Anything beyond that time frame and people will forget about it. Use social media (have you created a Facebook page?), local businesses, sports clubs noticeboards. Also plan some direct visits to schools and local sports clubs. During the session: Ask the right questions: the aim of a consultation is to gather evidence for your funding application, including user age, average footfall, and activity preferences, etc. Good practice: Organise another session once you know the outcomes of your funding application to keep the community updated.

5 - Fundraising It’s very likely that you will need to rely on various funding streams to finance your project. Ask us for a list of the main funding bodies in the sports and fitness industry, reach out to your Local Authority for matched funding and consult your council’s website, they frequently provide lists of local grant-makers.

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UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide 6 - People you can/should involve

Building your team

Funding bodies like to support groups or organisations which work collaboratively and show strong connections with local businesses or charities. As they are looking to fund provision which benefits the wider community, it is fundamental that you display a cross sector approach and involve various stakeholders, from the local health clinic to the neighbouring cafe. Not sure where to start? We’ve created a stakeholder family portrait including all the people in your community who can help you make your vision a reality. Local GP: Can provide stats on levels of physical activity and help you measure the impact of new sports and fitness provision on health and wellbeing. Local business owner: A new sports ground or outdoor gym is likely to increase the area’s footfall and generate extra revenue for businesses nearby. They can contribute in different ways, whether by offering some money or promoting your activities or events.

Local GP

Local Business Owner

Head Teacher/ PTA Groups

Sports Clubs

Police Officer

Health Associations or Social Welfare Charities

Head Teacher/PTA groups: Can facilitate consultations with children and young people and promote the project. Sports clubs: Reach out to the local sports club as they may be interested in using the facility, which will give you extra leverage when submitting an application for funding. Health associations or social welfare charities: Join forces with non-profit associations working with disadvantaged communities or people with disabilities. They can help you reach a broader audience and will probably be interested in using a sports facility to support their members development and wellbeing. Police Officer: Various studies have highlighted a link between improved outdoor recreational provision and reduced anti-social behaviour. Teaming up with the police force can help you understand prevailing conditions in your surrounding environment and track any measurable outcome later.


7 - Choosing the right supplier and contractor In your product and activity selection you may want to consider the following criteria: • Age group • Cost per user • Guarantees • Compliance with safety standards: • Multi-Sport EN 15132 • Outdoor adult fitness EN 16630 • Wheeled sports EN 14974 • Parkour EN 16899 • Number of sports activities on offer • Spare part availability • Customer support offered by supplier • Inspection and maintenance guidelines for products and installation

Supplier checklist The API has produced some guidance on how to find a good supplier available at www.api-play.org Contractor checklist: A lot of suppliers offer installation and maintenance services. Your contractor should be able to provide: • Full site survey • CAD plans/3D site design • Installation examples • Detailed quotation with breakdown of costs • Contract/Terms and conditions • Site inspection and certification (compliance with current regulation and CDM requirements) • Quality control and handover Your contractor must provide proof of: • A DBS check • Financial stability • Technical competency and previous experience

Don’t forget to allocate some budget to the production of an information sign. The sign should state: • Emergency telephone number • Telephone number of operation unit • Full site address • Age groups of users and relevant safety warnings

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UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide 8 - Ensure a lasting legacy “Schools, local childrens’ groups and social media were used to advise residents about the official opening of the new facility and West End PC arranged for an ice-cream van to be on-site which provided a variety of refreshments. The current Citizen of the Year, who is a member of the community recognised annually by the parish council for contributing their time to local causes without reward, was invited to open the play area. They had the privilege of cutting the ribbon. Inviting the local press can also boost the promotion of the new facility.” Susan Price, West End Parish Council Implement an Inspection and Maintenance regime. Which safety standards should you refer to? • Multi-Sport – EN 15312 • Outdoor Adult Fitness – EN 16630 • Wheeled Sport – EN 14974 • Parkour – EN 16899 How to operate an inspection and maintenance routine: A solid inspection and maintenance policy will extend the lifespan of the facility and help spot issues quickly. Here is what you need to do: • Appoint an Operations Manager. This person will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the facility and any troubleshooting. He/she will also keep all the documentation including inspection reports, product warranty documents, installation guides, etc. • It is generally recommended that three levels of inspection are planned for; - Visual inspection (daily or weekly depending on user frequency, and risk of vandalism) - Operational recorded inspection (at least four times per year depending on user frequency, risk of vandalism and weather conditions) - Annual inspection by a RPII Registered Inspector


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UrbanGames HAGS Product Introduction Exercising is a fundamental way of improving the health and well-being of children, young people and adults. We feel it is important to provide equipment that facilitates the need for non-traditional sports in order to tackle physical inactivity, obesity and preventable health conditions. Our range of sports and fitness products promote an effective form of physical activity and improve strength, stamina, toning and coordination, while having fun.


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ArenaBall Sports Ball games are the ultimate sporting activity and even more exciting when there is a real arena to play in. Multi-Use Games Area’s give everyone the opportunity to exercise in a fun way, bringing the community together and build up strength, stamina and coordination. HAGS Arena is a high performance, feature packed multi-sport system suitable for a variety of sports, including football, basketball and volleyball. Its modular design can be tailored to your space and budget.


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AdultFitness Outdoor fitness items are an effective form of physical activity to promote and improve cardiovascular training and toning. Our fitness ranges cover a number of exercises, making it possible to train various muscle groups. From multi-user configurations to action stations designed to target a specific muscle groups, our ranges are suitable for use by all members of the community aged 14+ and the collections cater for every size and budget.


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SkateBMX Young people are increasingly interested in alternative sports as a form of exercise. Wheeled sports facilities offer a fun and engaging way to improve agility, balance and coordination, and create an exciting hub for skate groups. As a leading provider of bespoke fast track wheeled sports facilities, we use our vast experience to provide the very best in design, consultation and installation. Our extensive collection of wheeled sports facilities mean any community or sports groups needs can be met at any budget.


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ParkourFreerunning Parkour is a non-competitive form of physical training that focuses on developing the mind and the body through movement. This discipline encourages cooperation between practitioners and fosters a sense of community. We provide pre-fabricated and bespoke Parkour training facilities, developed in collaboration with Parkour coaches and practitioners. They comprise blocks of concrete of varying sizes and shapes and steel poles that recreate urban obstacles.


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ROXClimbing ROX is a range of multi-functional sports and fitness climbing rocks which offers the ultimate climbing experience with a natural rock look and feel. ROX consists of pre-cast reinforced concrete walls as an inner section, which has a solid-colour, moulded layer of jet crete added to give the rock appearance. The ROX are not only functional, but can add significantly to the aesthetics within the environment. All ROX products conform to the EN 12572 for artificial climbing facilities.


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PumpTracks Pumptracks are the ultimate playground for wheeled sports, and the latest craze to sweep the outdoor recreation world; they are fun to ride for all ages and abilities, develop fitness, skills and coordination and are hugely addictive! Ideal for skateboards, scooters and any kind of bike, modular pumptracks provide great value for money. Being fun, intuitive to ride and lower risk than conventional skate parks, they’re suitable for all ages and abilities: from toddlers on balance bikes to their grandparents on mountain bikes, and everyone in between!


ActiveForAll At HAGS we firmly believe that everyone should have access to fit-for-purpose sports facilities regardless of their level of ability. Our equipment and outdoor spaces reflect this commitment by being inviting and tailored to the needs of a wide range of users allowing physical activity for all. Inclusive Site Design The layout and different elements of an outdoor facility are crucial to ensuring everyone feels welcome; that means providing appropriate seating options for those who have mobility issues or families with young children; choosing firm, stable surfaces suited to wheelchair users; and creating different activity zones with multiple uses without segregating users. Low Impact Fitness Equipment Our range of low impact fitness products are designed for people of all abilities. They help in aiding recovery for those in need of movement-based exercises, which help with flexibility, strength, coordination and re-building confidence. Accessible MUGAs Our Arena and Primary Arena systems promote social interaction and skill-building for users of differing abilities. Entry points are designed to be wheelchair accessible and the contrasting colours of the steel framework and the Primary Arena activity panels help people with visual impairment to navigate the space.

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ShadeShelter HAGS produce an extensive range of fabric shade structures. We take care of your entire project through our technical, design and installation teams. Some of the clients we have supported over the years are schools, sports centres, shopping centres, hotels, airports, transportation stations and outdoor corporate offices. Our structures block up to 96% of the sun’s UV rays, considerably reducing their harmful effects on the skin and producing a comfortable temperature. They have a guarantee of 10 years.


FurnitureSeating We have teamed up with some of the most renowned Scandinavian designers to develop products encouraging the local community to socialise and enjoy spending time outdoors. Boasting a timeless aesthetic and improved usability, our park and urban furniture range will cope with heavy use and age beautifully over the years. Suitable for all weather conditions and environments, it has added value to many outdoor recreational spaces across the world. They can complement any modern sports and fitness area.

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UrbanGames Planning for Sports and Fitness A Step-by-Step Guide

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