European City of Sport is Bristol's new title

January 30 2017

SPORTING organisations across Bristol have come together to find the best way to mark being a European City of Sport this year.

SPORTING organisations across Bristol have come together to find the best way to mark being a European City of Sport this year.

Bristol is one of 12 cities across Europe selected to hold the title in 2017, to celebrate the part that sport and active recreation plays in local communities.

The title was awarded by ACES Europe, a Brussels-based group which promotes sport across the continent, based on the city’s sporting facilities, residents’ participation, and the success of local sports teams.

It follows on from Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015, which focussed on city-wide environmental issues and has been described as a success by an independent review published last month.

Redland ward councillor Fi Hance, who is Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing on the city council, said: “Exercise and physical activity play a vital role in living a healthy lifestyle, and we want to encourage everyone to get out there and be more active.

“We hope that being European City of Sport will help to showcase all the different classes, sports and activities available across the city, and inspire more people to take up a new active hobby.”

Community sports teams, sports organizations and representatives from professional sports clubs met last month to discuss how to improve participation in sport across the city.

Sporting events will take place in the city throughout the year, with the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup already confirmed. The county ground in Bishopston will be one of five venues to host the global competition.

Outgoing mayor George Ferguson also committed £5,000 towards black and ethnic minority sports groups in the city to support the 2017 programme.

The city is in a good position to organise the year’s events, because its time as European Green Capital 2015 greatly enhanced Bristol’s reputation according to an independent review commissioned by Bristol city council.

Steve Bundred, the former chief executive of the Audit Commission who carried out the review, said that despite some controversies being a Green Capital had been an undoubted success.

He said: “The year was hugely successful, popular and rewarding, with positive outcomes that are likely to last for many years.

“Bristol has made a huge contribution to advancing understanding and concern about environmental matters within the UK and beyond.”

Highlights of the year included a trebling of the number of Wildlife Trust volunteers, which has been maintained; the highest ever number of applications for Bristol University’s Environmental Sciences course; and a schools’ programme involving more than 14,000 children across the city which has since been rolled out to schools nationally.

Redland ward councillor Martin Fodor, part of the council’s Green Capital working group, said: “I am delighted that this independent review has highlighted the many creative and economically valuable projects which captured the imagination of people throughout the city.

“Bristol’s year as European Green Capital led to many Bristolians being involved in green issues for the first time. Many of the partnerships developed over the year are continuing to flourish and deliver benefits to both the people of Bristol and the wider environment.”