ADD311 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD311
Date signed: 
02 June 2015
Decision by: 
Amanda Coyle, Assistant Director, Health and Communities

Executive summary

This ADD seeks approval to commit £20,000 from the Major Sport Events Fund towards the delivery of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015 to be hosted at the Copper Box arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park between 12 and 16 October 2015.

Decision

That the Assistant Director approves the award of £20,000 in grant funding to Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Limited in relation to the staging of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015 and its associated community engagement programme.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1     Background

1.1.1    The success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has cemented London’s position as a world-leading host of major sporting events. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has also added significantly to the range of world class sporting facilities available for hosting events in London. A key part of the on-going legacy of London 2012 is ensuring that these facilities and others around London be regularly and fully made use of.

1.1.2    London has already secured a portfolio of additional events for the years ahead that will help sustain our position as a world-leading host and is in keeping with the stated legacy aims from London 2012, one of which is to ensure that the facilities built for the Games continue to be used to stage high-level international sporting events. They include the 2015 Rugby World Cup, 2015 European Hockey Championships, 2015 Formula E Championships, 2016 European Swimming Championships, 2016 Track Cycling World Championships, 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships and IPC World Athletics Championships. 

1.1.3    Recognising that most major sporting events require some level of public support, the GLA allocated £2.4 million over four years to future major sporting events as part of the 2014/15 budget setting process. This Major Sports Events Fund supports the Mayor’s major sporting events strategy for London, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’, which was published in April 2014. 

1.1.4    This new London-wide approach to bidding for and supporting major sporting events establishes the Mayor’s Office as the first point of call for anyone looking to bring their event to London, and firmly establishes the Mayor’s Office as London’s strategic lead for major sporting events.

1.2       World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015 

1.2.1    London will host the first World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge between 12 and 16 October 2015 at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The event will bring together eight of the world’s best wheelchair rugby teams to compete over a four day period.     

1.2.2    The event is scheduled during London’s hosting of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, aligning with the Mayor’s ambition to host simultaneously, where appropriate, both the able and disabled version of any sporting discipline’s major international event. The Mayor has set a precedent in this regard by hosting both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, as well as successfully securing the IAAF and IPC World Athletics Championships in 2017.

1.2.3    In addition to delivering the event, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) will also deliver a community legacy programme to increase participation in wheelchair rugby in London. GBWR aims to create four new clubs in London and will train at least 20 volunteers, and engage over 900 participants into wheelchair rugby activities.   

1.2.4    Evaluated against the criteria set out in the GLA’s Major Sports Events Strategy, “London: Home of World Class Sport”, it was deemed that:

•    the Economic impact of the event falls below our minimum expectation 
•    the International and Domestic Broadcast falls below our minimum expectation;
•    the Community Engagement proposal for the event was evaluated as borderline bronze/silver

1.2.5    Following the success and popularity of wheelchair rugby at the 2014 Invictus Games, it is considered that the sport has a significant growth potential in the UK. Hosting the inaugural World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge would meet a number of the Mayor’s wider sports objectives, in addition to those explicitly stated in “London: Home of World Class Sport”, including raising the profile of disability sport and encouraging more disabled Londoners to participate in sport and physical activity. 

1.2.6    The event was presented at the GLA Events Steering Group (GESG) on 9 September 2014. Whilst the event did not score highly against the three main assessment criteria, in light of the wider community, social and sporting benefits that the event would bring to London, the GESG agreed that the event merited investment and for up to £40,000 from the GLA Sports Team budget to be allocated to support the event and its associated community legacy project. 

1.2.7    Following further discussions with the event, it is proposed that the GLA will contribute £20,000 from the Major Sports Events Fund towards delivery of the event (that this decision seeks approval for), with an additional £20,000 contributed from the Major Sports Events Engagement Fund (approved by DD1335) to contribute towards delivery of the community legacy project associated with the event. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1          The objectives of the proposed funding are to:

•    Support the successful delivery of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015 and its associated community legacy project; 
•    Support delivery of the Mayor’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’;
•    Increase economic investment into London;
•    Increase opportunities for Londoners to participate in sport and physical exercise programmes associated with major sporting events;
•    Assist the Mayor in delivering his commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
•    Increase opportunities for Londoners to volunteer at a major sporting events;
•    Support the aims of ‘Inclusive and Active 2’ strategy for increasing participation in sport and physical activity amongst disabled people in London; 
•    Assist the Mayor in delivering his commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Equality comments

3.1.    Every major event that seeks financial support from the GLA must demonstrate how the event will engage with the local community, in line with the Mayor’s grassroots sport policy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’ and the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme. The event is making use of local volunteers drawn from a variety of local community groups and, associated with the event, there is a comprehensive community engagement programme taking place which is targeted at getting disadvantaged young people from the local community into playing wheelchair rugby.

3.2    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where the event is being held, is fully accessible. The Park offers good step-free access, hard-standing surfaces, regular seating and accessible Blue Badge car parking for each of the venues.  

3.3    The event is being promoted by the LLDC through all its channels. The LLDC has a strong track record of engaging with all sections of the local community with events that are hosted on the park. 

Other considerations

4.1       Key Risks and Issues

 

Risk

Likelihood / Impact

Response & Mitigation

1

That the event does not deliver against London’s key strategic objectives

Medium / Low

The evaluation process undertaken in order to determine city support for events is robust and thorough.

 

Assumptions made in Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby’s proposal were tested and challenged by the GLA and partners prior to deciding to offer financial support in order to ensure confidence that the event is likely to deliver on its claims.

 

The GLA is in regular contact with the event organiser to ensure successful operational delivery.

 

2

Another funding partner withdraws support, or projected commercial income is not realised, putting the event at risk, and thereby exposing the Mayor/GLA to reputational risk.

Low / Medium

Prior to committing GLA funding, a comprehensive and robust event budget with evidence of commitment from a range of public and private sector partners was submitted, thereby ensuring that the risk is spread.

 

 

3

Reputational risk of the event failing to sell all tickets and broadcasting pictures of the venue internationally with empty seats.

High / Medium

It is anticipated that the event will not sell out. However, the GLA is working with the event to market the availability of tickets as widely as possible and we are working with other event stakeholders to put in place a comprehensive strategy for distributing unsold tickets to local community groups and organisations to ensure the venue is full.

 

4.2     Links to Mayoral Strategies & Priorities

GLA support for the event will:
 
•    support delivery of the Mayor’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’;
•    support the aims of ‘Inclusive and Active 2’ strategy for increasing participation in sport and physical activity amongst disabled people in London; 
•    support delivery of the Mayor’s grassroots sport policy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’;
•    assist in meeting the objectives of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy; 
•    promote social development in London;
•    assist the Mayor in delivering his commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
•    support the Mayor’s priorities around volunteering and his Team London programme.

4.3        Impact Assessments and Consultations

4.3.1    An equalities impact assessment has previously been undertaken on the overall Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme. 

4.3.2    According to the most recent Sport England Active People survey (APS 8 published in January 2015), levels of participation in sport and physical activity are variable across different socio-demographic groups in London. Across all 33 London Boroughs, average figures indicate that 43% of men participate in sport at least once a week compared to 32% of women. 37% of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) people participate weekly compared to 39% of people of white origin. 19% of disabled people participate weekly compared to 40% of non-disabled people. 17% of people over the age of 65 participate weekly compared to 52% of those between the age of 16 and 25. 41% of people from socio-economic groups 1 to 4 participate weekly compared to 25% of people from socio-economic groups 5-8 (based on the National Statistics Socio-economic classification system).

4.3.3    Every major event that seeks financial support from the GLA must demonstrate how the event will engage with the local community, in line with the Mayor’s grassroots sport policy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’ and the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme.

4.3.4     In writing ‘A Sporting Future for London’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with over 400 individuals from over 100 different groups and organisations including national governing bodies of sport, the Pro-Active Partnerships, senior representatives from local authorities and a wide variety of sports clubs and community organisations. 

4.3.5     The conclusions reached received broad support from all key stakeholders and reaction to the plan itself has been very positive.

4.3.6    In writing ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with various national governing bodies of sport in the UK, Sport England, UK Sport, London Sport, relevant Local Authorities, LLDC, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, London & Partners, sports venue owners in London and Transport for London. The strategy has been greatly welcomed by all key London stakeholders and partners, as well as the key national agencies identified above.

Financial comments

5.1    The proposed grant of £20,000 to the organisation ‘Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Limited’ will be funded from the 2015-16 Major Sporting Events budget held within the Health & Communities Unit. Any changes to this proposal will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

5.2    The Sports Unit within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing this project and ensuring that all expenditure complies with the Authorities Financial Regulations and Contracts & Funding Code.