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New research reveals powerful community legacy of Tour de Yorkshire cycle race

Findings from a study, conducted by Leeds Beckett University academics from the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management and also from the Carnegie School of Sport on the social impact of the Tour de Yorkshire were recently shared at a public feedback event at a new ‘Cycle Hub’ in Doncaster.

the peloton

The study reveals the powerful legacy of the Tour de Yorkshire for local communities and makes recommendations on how to harness the legacy for lasting social benefit.

Andy Maddox, strategic development officer at Doncaster Council, commissioned the Sport England-funded study as part of their ‘Get Doncaster Moving’ Sport England Local Delivery Pilot work.

He said: “The aim of the project was to use an evidence-led approach to understand the social impacts of large-scale sports events on local communities and levels of resident physical activity.

“The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire provided an opportunity to pilot a new approach to assessing and monitoring the social outcomes of current and future major sporting events in Doncaster”.

He added: “Through this study we have been able to better plan for next year’s event and develop more robust community and business engagement plans. In addition we have started to develop a full time major events team”.

Lucy McCombes, a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett, led the study. She said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is building an incredible positive momentum for creating local social, health and economic benefits for Doncaster that needs to be harnessed.

“This research supports the Tour de Yorkshire delivery team to reflect on how best to work with local people to ‘oil the wheels’ of this major sporting event to maximise its local benefit”.

The research team included Leeds Beckett research fellow Dr Neil Ormerod. He said: “We worked with local people in six sample communities along the race route in Doncaster to collect data to assess the social impacts of the race on measures including, community wellbeing, sense of civic pride, sense of community spirit and physical activity levels.

“The study also examined how communities engage with this major sporting event. Overall, we found that the community of Doncaster welcomes this event; an impressive 93.7% of respondents stated within the event survey that their experience of the Tour de Yorkshire was very positive or positive”.

Describing the challenges with using major sporting events like the Tour de Yorkshire as a catalyst for increasing physical activity levels within communities, Professor Jim McKenna, from Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Sport, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire created a local social ‘buzz’ about being more physically active, but the majority of residents do not feel that this made a big difference to physical activity levels within communities. This study highlights new opportunities, recommended by local people, to capitalise on the Tour de Yorkshire to increase physical activity”.

The full report: Maximising local benefits from the Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster is available:


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