What is the millennium centre?
The Millennium Centre is located in the ward of Washington North which lies in Sunderland City Councils North East region. 11 of the 25 wards in Sunderland are in the top 10% most deprived in the country.
In a recent Index of Multiple Deprivation, the area was ranked at 2,347 out of 32,482 Lower Super Output areas (LSOA’s) in England, where 1 was the most deprived LSOA and 32,482 the least deprived.
The ethnic profile of the area can be summarised as follows:-
There are an extremely small number of people who reside in the area who classify themselves as ethnic minority. Unemployment is high at 6% compared to an average of 3% nationally. 43% of the housing in the area is rented either from the Council or from housing associated / social landlord with 40% of the total housing in the area classified as terraced.
Life expectancy in the area is below the national average by two years. 41% of the households have one or more persons with a limiting long term health problem.
Developing activity and skills
Sunderland AFC Foundation set the following targets for the Barclays Spaces for Sports project:
Increasing participation in a variety of sports across a variety of disciplines, age groups and genders
Strengthening links with a variety of community groups to help provide sporting and social focus
Creating and refurbishing of a not-for-profit facility for the local community to play sport
Providing a true multi sport approach
Working with local agencies and partners to make best use of the facility.
Impact to date
Since the opening in April 2007 the fitness suite has proved to be extremely popular with the local community as 2,500 people signed up as members. The Millennium Centre fitness suite can be used on a pay as you go basis once people have signed up to become members. This strategy is designed to attract all members of the community regardless of age or financial situation. The Millennium Centre works closely with Sunderland City Councils ‘Exercise Referral Programme’ to try to get members of the community who have serious health issues more active and raise their fitness levels.
On 12th August 2010 Sunderland and England Under 21 striker Fraser Campbell visited the Millennium Centre to watch some children from a local school take part in a coaching session and look round the facilities on offer. SAFC Foundation has strong support from the Club with Chairman Niall Quinn opening the Barclays Spaces for Sports site in 2007.
User experiences - dylan's story
Dylan has been a regular attendee at the Football Friday sessions for a substantial period of time. Throughout these sessions it became increasingly evident that Dylan was in danger of choosing to embark on a potentially self-destructive pathway. For example, Dylan did not respond to authority very well and often acted in an inappropriate manner e.g. using abusive language and sometimes threatening behaviour towards other participants.
As the weeks progressed, Dylan’s behaviour and poor attitude began to steadily deteriorate. Due to this, the staff at the sessions decided to slightly alter the set up of the environment, by introducing organised and structured activities. These activities included 7-a-side football tournaments and football rounders.
Although this differed from the usual ‘free-flow’ environment of most youth clubs, it was felt by all members of staff that maybe the introduction of structured activities would benefit some of the young participants, Dylan included. It was thought that by adding more structure and organisation to activities, this would provide the participants with rules to adhere to and also help improve attitude and essential life skills such as developing respect and communication skills.