All Wales Facilities Collaboration
Welsh Rugby Union, Hockey Wales & Football Association of Wales
A journey starting in 2010, Just Solutions helped three major national governing bodies of sport collaborate to ensure that training facilities across Wales were complementary, flexible and fit for the future. This work resulted in the securing of over £5m in investment over several years, to help deliver on the messages of the collaboration plan. Our involvement in the project is ongoing as we help to adapt the recommendations as the sporting landscape changes.
Establishing a Collaborative Approach
The All Wales Collaboration journey started following the production of the 2009 3G vision and plan for the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Trust. It was initiated in a collaboration with Hockey Wales. The goal was to prevent conflicting approaches to Artificial Turf Pitches (ATPs), which had previously been driven primarily by Hockey needs.
In 2011, the FAW and Hockey Wales reached out to the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), and drafted a three-sports collaboration plan. This was an innovative step, marking the first time that these three national governing bodies had joined forces to such an extent. With a combined membership and participation base representing 34% of the all Wales total (in 2012/13), the scale of the project was also significant.
The Collaborative Plan: Vision and Guidance
We conducted an extensive evidence gathering stage, collecting data from 22 local authorities across Wales and facilitating discussions between the governing bodies and Sport Wales.
From this evidence we prepared the All Wales Artificial Turf Pitch Vision and Guidance, which provided a point of reference for organisations considering the construction or replacement of an ATP.
The headline messages of the document were:
To produce ATPs that are:
Fit for purpose
Complementary, not competing
To achieve the sporting outcomes of:
Participation growth (particularly women and girls) and greater retention of players
Stronger clubs and community hubs, particularly for Hockey
Higher standards of performance
A more fit for future sporting landscape
To address the core issues of:
Many clubs being simply too small to provide adequate facilities
Senior and junior clubs often being run by separate clubs
Poor facilities stifling growth
An ageing stock of ATPs that are unfit for purpose
£5.5m Investment Secured
Significant investment was secured from Sport Wales, the Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government to help deliver on the recommendations of this collaborative plan. Over a 5 year span the total sum grew to £5.5m - a remarkable result arising from an innovative piece of work.
This funding has gone on to contribute significant investment for many new or replaced facilities, with an average grant size of 20%. This has been an important step in achieving the goals originally set out in the All Wales Collaborative Plan.
Continuing the Journey
The initial collaborative plan concept was well received, and it has undoubtedly influenced many local authorities, as well as the roll-out of '21st Century Schools'.
However, as the landscape of sports provision changes, with a greater emphasis on sustainability and rapid changes in technology, the collaborative plan must also adapt.
Just Solutions have continued to work with the Collaborative Sports Facilities Group to evaluate the progress and challenges involved in implementing the document's recommendations.
This is a crucial step in the success of the collaborative vision: by continually evaluating and adapting the plan, it can continue to provide relevant and sustainable advice into the future.
“Sara and Howard bring incredible experience to the work”
Hockey Wales has worked closely with Butlin Consulting and Just Solutions over the past 2 years in developing our new facility strategy for Hockey across Wales. This work has also included a number of other areas both nationally and locally where facilities will be at the core of the new approach for Hockey moving forwards. Sara and Howard bring incredible experience to the work we have done and have successfully guided us through a complex and in depth area of work. I am delighted with the partnership so far and look forward to a long term partnership between our organisation.