Power of Tour de Yorkshire revealed
18 December 2018
The social impact of the Tour de Yorkshire in South Yorkshire communities has been revealed in research by Leeds Beckett University.
The study, conducted by academics from the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management and from the Carnegie School of Sport, made recommendations on how to harness the legacy of the annual sporting event.
Senior lecturer Lucy McCombes 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.”
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.”
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.”