Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Trust, talks about how the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) has become a home for local Olympic and Paralympic talent whilst being based on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
Can you tell us briefly about your organisation, and your role in that organisation?
Sheffield City Trust was the UK’s first leisure trust, and for over 30 years has been managing a diverse portfolio of facilities across the city including Ponds Forge, Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Utilita Arena Sheffield and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) – just to name a few.
We believe everyone across Sheffield should be able to enjoy the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, and want to deliver a lasting legacy for our venues by inspiring as many people as possible to get active and enjoy sociable activities with their friends.
Many people don’t realise that Sheffield City Trust is a not-for-profit organisation. This means all our surplus is reinvested in improving our venues and activities to ensure that we’re here for the communities that we serve.
What positive benefits does being located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park bring to your organisation?
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is home to one of our highest profile facilities, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS), which is one of the largest multi-sport training centres in the UK.
The EISS houses multiple local and national sporting clubs and governing bodies – including GB Boxing, England Boxing, British Wheelchair Basketball, British Para Table Tennis, Badminton England and British Ice Skating.
The EISS model proved invaluable in the development of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and being sited on the Park allows the many professional Olympic and Paralympic athletes training at the EISS access to world-class research teams and facilities through the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.
We have seen the value of that over the last month with the fantastic success of our EISS-trained athletes at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
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?
I think the pandemic has made people more aware of the importance of having an active lifestyle and the impact fitness can have on your emotional and mental wellbeing – we want to respond to that by providing as many enjoyable opportunities to exercise as we can.
At our core, Sheffield City Trust is all about using all our venues and our relationships with partners around us to promote general health and wellbeing for everyone.
Having the EISS based on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park helps gives us an incredible reach across Sheffield’s communities, particularly with hundreds of young people just minutes away at the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and Oasis Academy Don Valley.
Sheffield City Trust has also recently taken over the football pitches on the Park, and we’re proud to say we’ve made great strides improving access for the local community to benefit more people than ever before, particularly with Darnall Football Academy.
The Park 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?
For one, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park has played a pivotal role in forging renowned sporting talent. Over 50 athletes from Team GB, who competed at Tokyo 2020, trained within the walls of the English Institute of Sport Sheffield.
Secondly, when you look at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and where it’s heading by bringing together so many organisations to create a family of world-class developments focused on delivering positive health and wellbeing, it’s clear that this is something that’s going to have an impact for years to come.