It was great to be at Elevate ’22 and meet so many people within the sport and fitness industry face to face.  Quite frankly, it was great to be at a thriving exhibition again with thousands of people and very few Covid restrictions.  Having the opportunity to interact with people and introduce them to what we do is where relationships are built, networks are extended and new projects imagined.  Since we are a highly specialised segment of the market, Elevate was also our chance to make sure we are up to date with the wider sports industry trends and ambitions so we remain relevant. 

We may not have had new equipment to test out, future tech, innovative games to play or even free chocolate to hand out but that did not put people off coming to have a chat and we are excited about where those conversations might be heading.  We did however have piles of new reading material in the shape of brochures, news letters and look books.  We even had complimentary phone holders, mug mats and branded USB sticks, so nobody went away empty handed, although we like to think that our stimulating conversation was more than enough for people to take with them!

We were not able to attend every seminar or listen to every speech but from what we did hear, there was a resounding sense of optimism around how the industry is bouncing back post-Covid.  It is highly publicised that getting fit and staying fit can make all the difference in how effectively your body is able to fight the symptoms of Covid and we talked to many people about the benefits of being able to offer facilities that can be used all year round in a comfortable environment.  We have found that people are more likely to maintain a regime or participate in a sport consistently if they don’t have the excuse of bad weather or bad light.  Indoor facilities take away the seasonal impact and not only enable clubs to operate a full programme of activity throughout the year but also offer a versatile programme that is inclusive of all demographics.

The fact that our indoor sports structures are also bespoke means that we can design a space that specifically suits the community it is going to serve which could make the difference between its long-term success or failure.

Something else we have taken away from the event is a reminder of how brilliant it is to be part of an industry that is innovating and motivated to facilitate change.  Everyone can be forgiven for becoming blinkered, focusing on their own individual progress and business growth while we’ve had to self-isolate from the rest of the world but events can help you to see the bigger picture. 

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, issued a rallying cry to encourage the sport and physical activity to work together to help get everyone physically active regardless of age, background and physical ability…. “Now, more than ever, we need to help people get physically active and find sport. We can help build more connected communities – but only if we work together as a sector.”

It will be interesting to see how the sporting landscape looks in a year’s time but all the signs are positive.