Sports Barn – Trafford

Key Facts:

Project summary: Single court sports hall with a small reception and storage area.

Location: Trafford, Manchester, UK

Programme: Casual and programmed community sports activities, including aerobics, yoga, keep-fit, dance, badminton, netball, 5-aside football/futsal, basketball, indoor cricket, volleyball.

Initiator: Trafford MBC/ Trafford Community Leisure Trust/Manchester United & Barclays Spaces for Sport

Project Duration: Opened in 2005 (expected lifespan circa 20 years)

Lead in Time: 6 months from funding approval

Site Area: Single court sports hall (4 badminton courts – circa 34.5 x 20.0 x 7.5 m)

Client Team: Old Trafford SRB Team, Trafford Community Leisure Trust, Manchester United Facilities Team, Trafford Council Asset Management Team.

Project Team: Led by Chief Executive from Trafford Community Leisure Trust. Designs prepared by Fairhurst Design Group.

Funding Sources: Barclays Spaces for Sport £600k

Funding Type: Grant

Project Costs (Build): Construction Materials: £600k
N.B. It is possible to build a Sports Barn for lower cost. The costs are closely linked to finishes and location.

Project Costs (Operation):

  • Staffing: £55,000 per annum, (The facility is run on a day-to-day basis by 1 member of staff during the day till 4pm and then by 2 members of staff from 4pm-10pm and at weekends)
  • Utilities £9,000
  • Premises £10,000 (inc. maintenance)
  • Overheads £8,000
  • Total £82,000

The facility operates on a break-even/small deficit basis. In 2011/12 the Centre generated approximately £75,000 income resulting in a small loss of just under £5,000. Trafford Community Leisure Trust funds this from activities and initiatives in other parts of the organisation.

Permissions / Permits:
The project had to overcome planning objections, as it was built on open space, alongside a Youth Centre. The floodlights on the adjacent all weather pitch (which were secured and developed at the same time as part of further funding) have restricted use until 10pm.

Local Links:
The Sports Barn adjoins a Youth Centre so that toilets and changing rooms can be shared (although few users make use of the changing facilities) and located near to a housing estate.

In addition to the Barn the site also includes a small floodlit 3G all-weather pitch (2 x 7a-side football pitches) and 2 floodlit multi-use games areas (MUGAs).

Publicity/advertising: Website, local advertising

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
The Sports Barn is located within an area of high deprivation in Trafford Borough. Located off Seymour Park in Old Trafford. Ownership – Trafford MBC.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The Sports Barn has broad-spread appeal across the local community – attracting circa 40,000 attendances per annum.
In particular, the facility has been successful in attracting females. The females use the Barn for a variety of activities including aerobics, fitness/keep-fit and dance on a casual basis. The programme at the Barn also includes a ladies only session where participants take part in a range of activities such as badminton, netball, keep fit and team games. The facility is also used by girls playing football and cricket and a variety of activities at the Friday Night ‘Urban Leisure’ sessions, which are for young people. The Barn is also being used for ‘Back to…’ and ‘Get into…’ sports sessions – such as netball.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
No specific problems encountered. However, the financial sustainability/model needs to be carefully considered so that the facility is affordable but does not generate a large deficit.

Key success factors highlighted include:

  • The recruitment of local people to staff the facility.
  • Setting activity charges at a low level to enable access by local residents – as the facility is situated within an area of high deprivation.
  • The provision of the 3G Pitch and MUGAs next to the sports barn have been useful for extending the range of activities. For example Street Cricket has become really popular in the area and the MUGAs as well as indoor games areas are being used by the locals for cricket.
  • The location of the sports barn in close proximity to housing.
  • The key success in terms of community engagement has been enhanced by delivering on promises and always listening to what the community want rather than giving them what management team think they want. As a result, the local community see the Sports Barn as their facility.

Feedback from users / staff:
The Barn has played a significant part in helping reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area. Young people have somewhere to go and the Centre welcomes them – even giving them facilities free of charge, if they are not being used to ensure they see the Barn as theirs.

The Barn has been identified as a good practice example by the Football Foundation. A Female Participation project in the area was also seen as a model of best practice and was highlighted by the Local Government Association. The Barn was also highlighted at the recent National Culture Forum.

What next?
n/a – fixed facility

Complementary Programmes:
Links to other Sports facilities/programmes, clubs provided within the Trafford.

Project Website / Further Info: