The area is made up of the unitary city of Peterborough, and the county of Cambridgeshire, with Cambridge City and East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire Districts.
A largely rural area there is significant population growth expected across many parts of the area with in particular the planned development of the Northstowe new town. The most diverse populations are found in the cities of Cambridge and Peterborough; however, there are large traveller and migrant worker populations across rural Cambridgeshire.
Cambridgeshire as a whole is an affluent county within the least deprived 20% of authorities in the country but within the county there is considerable variation which leads to health inequalities and a number of wards in Fenland are within the most deprived 20% within the country and on the Index of Multiple Deprivation Peterborough ranks 90th most deprived out of 354 local authority areas.
There is a strong tradition of school sport in the partnership area, with four District School Sports Associations and five School Sports Partnerships. Sports facilities provision is largely focussed on School sites (the Community and Village Colleges now Academies) but managed by the District Councils in Huntingdonshire and Fenland; by the Schools across South Cambridgeshire. Facilities in Peterborough are managed by the Vivacity Culture and Leisure Trust; in East Cambridgeshire there are eight small Trusts; whilst in Cambridge there is mixed provision including a management contract for the local authority provision with GLL.
There is a good spread of Colleges of Further Education across the County providing sporting opportunities with in recent years growing investment from Sport England in Further and Higher Education (Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and University Centre Peterborough) sports programmes.
Professional sport is limited to Peterborough United Football Club and Cambridge United Football Club competing in the Football League; Peterborough Phantoms Ice Hockey and Peterborough Panthers Speedway participating at national league level. There is a better record of senior level participation in sports such as Cambridge Volleyball, Korfball and Handball, and there are a number of individual World and Olympic level athletes from the partnership area.
A lot of sport is delivered by volunteers through Sports Clubs and Associations. The nature of these Clubs varies enormously with some established as companies and charities which have a range of disciplines (e.g. track and field, road running) and sections (e.g. juniors and veterans). Many compete at a regional and national level whilst small clubs cater for a very local community or are simply recreational in approach. An increasing number of sports have developed activities specifically to attract new audiences, such as informal running networks, Back to Netball, Rush Hockey and touch rugby. There are a range of County Associations and County and Local Area Partnerships, Development Groups and Networks, such as the County Golf Partnership and the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Athletics Networks. A pragmatic approach is taken to supporting individuals and organisations on the geographic periphery of the partnership area (Market Deeping, Royston, Newmarket), with Living Sport working closely with other County Sports Partnerships, in the East.
There are also a broad range of commercial operators, those which are facility based such as Next Generation attracting a mainly adult audience, and companies delivering sporting opportunities particularly for young people, including after school activities on school sites and holiday programmes, for example Barracudas. An increasing number of new providers are starting to focus on adult participation such as Park Run.
In summary, even across a small area the organisation and delivery of sport is complex. A key role for Living Sport is to interpret this for our partners and ensure there are clear signposts for people who wish to take part in sport, as well as in broader physical activity, leisure and recreation and for health and wellbeing.