Shaun Lough, General Manager at iceSheffield, shares an insight into the many amazing things happening at the venue and the benefits of being part of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
Can you tell us briefly about your organisation and your role in that organisation?
Sheffield City Trust is known for managing some of the city’s most iconic venues like Sheffield City Hall, Utilita Arena Sheffield and iceSheffield, but it’s much more than that. As a not-for-profit organisation, we re-invest our surplus into activities in venues as well as into communities, and we work with numerous groups to ensure our venues are accessible for everyone.
Sheffield is in an enviable position with iceSheffield; it is one of only two facilities in the UK that has two Olympic sized ice pads. Offering public ice-skating sessions and the UK’s largest ‘learn to skate’ ice-skating and ice hockey programme, iceSheffield is also home to a number of sporting clubs. We are proud to host and deliver the majority of elite performance programmes for figure skating and ice hockey in the UK.
I have worked at iceSheffield since 2004 and, as General Manager, I am responsible for managing the venue on a day-to-day basis, overseeing delivery of all events and community usage and building strong working relationships with the clubs that operate out of the venue.
What positive benefits does being located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park bring to your organisation?
Being part of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park enables us to work with its partners to drive engagement and collaboration. Having so many impressive resources on the Park, such as the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) and the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, allows brilliant collaborative development opportunities.
A number of national governing bodies are already located at EISS and benefit from learning from each other. Collaboration between partners contributed to bringing British Ice Skating to Sheffield in 2019, and with the Utilita Arena Sheffield being strongly associated with Ice Hockey, has allowed us to work together to launch the Torvill & Dean British Ice Skating Academy of Dance – hosted at iceSheffield.
What is your post-pandemic vision for your organisation and how do you think being located on the Park will help you to deliver that?
Sheffield City Trust continues to deliver a wide range of activities to support Sheffield’s health and wellbeing. The pandemic has highlighted to all of us the importance of our own individual health and we see iceSheffield as a key facility to support improvements.
Our ice skating lessons have seen a strong return and with 1,140 children and adults on our programme we are delighted to have returned to pre-pandemic levels. The planned legacy for iceSheffield when first built was to enable athletes to compete at the highest level. We’ve seen many examples of this and look forward to finding the next young hopeful as well as continuing to offer these amazing facilities to the Sheffield community and, with the Park’s partners, supporting individuals of all abilities to develop and reach their full potential.
We have seen many examples of this with PJ Hallam developing from our Learn to Skate programme to World Champion competitor. Former iceSheffield club Steeldogs and Sheffield Steelers, Liam Kirk is now a regular AHL ice hockey player in the United States and right now you can see Morgan Swales, a long-standing iceSheffield participant as well as iceSheffield coach Mark Hanretty, taking part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice as professional skaters.
We look forward to continuing to offering these amazing facilities to the Sheffield community and with Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park partners, supporting individuals of all abilities to develop and reach their full potential.
The Park’s Master Plan aims to deliver whole population health and wellbeing change as well as helping to drive the economic regeneration of Sheffield and the wider city region. Do you think the Park is delivering a real Olympic Legacy and why?
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is providing a growing focal point in the local area. Building on developments that started with the Utilita Arena nearly 30 years ago, and iceSheffield and EISS 15 years ago, the Park’s continued development is attracting new business into the area and supporting re-development of the wider Attercliffe area.
The Park’s focus on health and wellbeing will be crucial as the city continues to recover from the pandemic; providing the local community with initiatives to improve their health and wellbeing.
As a leisure trust that is our reason for existence, and we look forward to continuing to work with Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park partners and community groups so that we provide for everyone in our communities across the city.