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Coventry’s year as European City of Sport in 2019 saw a massive investment in sport and leisure, thousands getting active, and created a legacy for years to come.
The success of the year, and the opportunities it has created for the future, were discussed at a Council meeting last week.
Councillors heard the title was awarded to the city by The European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES Europe) in 2019 and was a key part of a 10-year programme to help Coventry and its people embrace sport, physical activity and leisure and for the city to become a healthier, more connected city.
During Coventry’s year as European City of Sport, many high-profile events were attracted to Coventry, such as European Corporate Games, with over 3,000 people taking part, Street Games National Conference and Velo West Midlands and The Premier League Kicks National tournament with over 80 football league teams represented.
Along with these fantastic events, international ice hockey was played at the Sky Dome whilst England Under 20s played rugby union against South Africa at the Butts Park Arena.
Community Festivals, which were hosted in partnership with Vodafone and CityFibre, helped to engage people of all ages in a wide range of sports. In fact, throughout the year, over 170,000 people were supported to become physically active through a variety events, projects and activities.
The feedback and learning from these events, programmes and activities will be used to help inform preparation for Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021.
The year saw the investment of over £100 million into sports facilities around the city. This investment included the opening of new facilities like The Wave waterpark and the transformation of more established facilities such as The Alan Higgs Centre.
This investment has helped ensure that residents have top quality sporting infrastructure available to them, which in turn will help them to lead healthier, more independent lives. These facilities will also have a wider role to play in 2021 when an increase of visitors to the city is expected for its year as UK City of Culture.
Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “What a fantastic year 2019 was. I cannot emphasise how much of a positive impact the year had on Coventry, and less than three months into 2020, our City of Sport legacy has already increased numbers of people getting physically active, further.
“Personal highlights for me were our Vodafone Community Festivals, especially, as this bridged the gap between, sport, wellbeing and culture perfectly. I can’t wait to see sport and physical activity utilised further in 2020 and beyond to increase the health and wellbeing of our city.
“I know these are difficult times at present, but I would urge everyone to stay as fit and physically active as they can, while staying safe and taking the necessary precautions against the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Our year as European City of Sport has helped us all to think more about our physical and mental wellbeing, and I look forward to happier, healthier times ahead, when we can continue to build on its success and enjoy the great facilities we have in our city.”
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More information on how to get active at this time can be found on Sport England’s website.