Derby Arena Celebrates First Year

Fri 18 Mar 2016

All of us at Derby Arena are delighted to be celebrating our first year. And what a year it has been. These are just some of the figures from our first 12 months, over 100,000 gym and exercise attendances, 14,000 track cycling attendances, 1700 gym members and 3800 track cycling members. The track has been used by 13 Olympic medallists and 6 commonwealth medallists.

It would take too long to list all the things we have done this year but this is just a few of the events. BBC Symphony Orchestra, National Badminton League, Jimmy Carr, Championship Boxing, Revolution Series, Junior British League Table Tennis, BBC Children in Need East Midlands, National Taekwondo Championships, Aladdin Co-Produced by Derby LIVE & PHA and the Derby University Graduation.

Looking back on the first 12 months, these are some of the moments and some of the comments from the people we have worked with that we would like to share.

We hosted The National Badminton League in both March and April. At the first match Team Derby beat Milton Keynes 5 – 0. In April Team Derby beat Nottingham University 4 – 1 booking themselves into the league's final, which they went on to win.

Alex Molloy Sports Development Officer, Derby University, said: "We've had nothing but positive feedback from those who attended those from Badminton England and from Televideo."

In August 2016 we hosted Round 1 of the Revolution Series which also served as a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. A host of top riders from around the world competed at the event that took place over three days. It was great to see all those top riders in Derby and to watch the young fans get their autographs from the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins.

About Derby Arena, Sir Bradley Wiggins, said: "It's put the track on the map world-wide and brought some attention to it so I think there will be more world record attempts here in the future."

He added: "It's just brilliant. You don't get to come to this part of the world very often and it's just nice to come to another world class velodrome and we have produced a world class time"

Olympic Champion, Ed Clancy, said: "This area of the country has been missing out and this is a proper good facility."

Bringing pantomime back to Derby was a great opportunity for us. Derby LIVE and PHA's Co Production of Aladdin was fantastic. However it was no small challenge, to make it happen we had to create a temporary theatre in the infield. But once we saw the smiles on the faces of children, we knew it was most certainly worth it. In total some 30,000 people came to see the performance. Headline cast included Atomic Kitten's Natasha Hamilton, TOWIE star Dan Osborne and 5ive's Ritchie Neville.

On that note, it's worth mentioning that Panto will be returning to Derby Arena in December 2016 for a sparkling, star studded performance of Cinderella. The headline cast will be announced over the coming months, however tickets are already on-sale for Derby's biggest ball.

Pantomime producer Paul Holman, said: "We welcomed the challenge of transferring Derby's traditional all-star pantomime from the Assembly Rooms to the stunning new Derby Arena with last year' critically acclaimed production of Aladdin. Staging panto in a modern arena space has enabled us to offer Derby audiences a spectacular experience and a unique and exciting atmosphere. Our first season in the arena has been overwhelmingly positive and we are thrilled by the prospect of delivering an even bigger production in the arena for Derby audiences this Christmas when we present everyone's favourite pantomime Cinderella. This sparkling family pantomime has already seen strong advance booking figures and we are confident that we will build on the success of last year."

Another area we are very pleased about is that Derby Arena has become a training centre for a number of young rising stars of the sporting world and not just in cycling. As part of the ICON initiative athletes from badminton, volleyball, canoeing, climbing and cycling all use Derby Arena to train.

Francesca Britten, 17, from Littleover, an ICON athlete who studies at Loughborough College and plays for the Volleyball England National Academy, said: "The Arena has helped transform sporting access and availability in Derby, not just for cycling but for a range of sports. My volleyball club Darkstar trains there and it's an outstanding venue to play in.

"Derby needed a sporting hub and something that people had somewhere to go that they can be proud of - it really has put the city on the map in terms of providing top class facilities."

We always envisaged that Derby Arena would be a place for ordinary people to be physically active, be it in the gym, on the track, playing badminton, in exercise classes, during netball, futsal, volleyball, table tennis, bowls, movement classes or Live Well classes. We have a range of activities to suit a wide range of people, so there is something for everyone.

Derby Arena gym goer Nutchayaporn Armstrong joined in the last 2-3 months said the following: "I have already managed to lose 3kg (62kg down to 59kg) and feel more active with improved circulation and health
"I like that the gym equipment is well presented and that I never have to wait for the equipment she wants to use. The gym staff are polite and helpful, always willing to give instruction and never make me feel embarrassed when I don't know how to use something."

Derby Arena was designed to provide fantastic sport facilities to promote physical activity in the city and across the region. In our first year we have worked with a number of partners.

When talking about Derby Arena, Hayley Lever, Director of Derbyshire Sport, said: "At Derbyshire Sport we are seeing growing evidence of the impact that Derby Arena is having as a venue and as part of the identity of the region.

"When visiting the arena for events, activities and meetings, I often stand back and reflect on the sheer diversity of activities taking place, for people of all abilities and ages. The venue works for those who are just getting into physical activity in the gym, classes, playing badminton and other sports, right up to the British Para Cycling team and elite performers who you can rub shoulders with in the Arena café.

"There is a growing number of women and junior riders trying out the track, and becoming confident riders. There is some fantastic development work taking place, particularly with women and girls, which is a huge priority for us in Derbyshire. The Arena has brought together the cycling community in and around Derby, and the development of the track league has been excellent."

We can be proud of what we have achieved in the last year and we are grateful too all of those who have helped make it a success. Now we wish to look forward to an even better second year. Fancy having a go? Check out the Free 5 day pass!