Member Story: Pete Bradshaw - Head of Sustainability, Manchester City Football Club

Pete's values were formed whilst he was still at school, and his passion and advocacy for CRS have been a constant in his career since then. He sees sport as having a broad role that spans community engagement, promoting wellbeing, and generally being a driver for societal change. 


How did you get into CRS, and why did you choose this profession?

I began my career back in 1974 whilst in sixth form. I went to a school in Manchester with an incredibly strong community and social ethos, which not only stood out at that time, but was recognised across the city as a beacon of good practice. Representing the school and city in sport and also addressing national politicians gave me the interest and hunger for societal change, community engagement and participation. I worked in sport and leisure in the UK and overseas and was able to develop and use sport and leisure platforms for health and neighbourhood improvement, and in turn, ongoing personal development. This worked to my own strengths: I saw that success, social value and environmental protection are not exclusive.  Now, I still promote sport and its benefits and values – in the commercial sector, I remain absolute that well planned, embedded and engaged CRS is not only an essential social factor, but when implemented responsibly and caringly, helps create business growth and success.      

What do you need to do your job brilliantly? 

Communication. I am confident that sharing knowledge and the capital it brings is the greatest opportunity for us, individually and collectively. The potential that we can create is immeasurable and could change lives and improve our neighbourhoods, cities and planet for the better. I’d like to see recognition for the work undertaken by CRS professionals at every level. What I need to ‘do my job brilliantly’ is the continued and improved recognition of CRS in business, government and learning.


Why did you join the ICRS?

It’s a real opportunity to be part of a forum of experts and knowledge that can be shared and from which I can learn a great deal.


If you didn’t work in CRS, what would you do? 

I am confident that I would be a teacher – with a view to working for and creating a learning and educational environment that is built around community, the widest possible engagement and using applied learning wherever possible and practical.  Alternatively, I would be a leader within an organisation that embodied social values, personal and collective transformation, awareness and response to environmental impact and responsible protection of the organisation itself. 


What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your role?

The greatest part of my role is the clear and measured impact I (we) have on our community and neighbourhood – engaging people in changing, and the place-making and identification of pathways to learning, work, and social investment.  The never-ending justification and form-filling of data and measurement – often using disparate calculators – provides huge frustration and as such all too often forms the least favourite parts of my role.     


Which professional project or achievement are you most proud of? 

At the City Football Academy in Manchester, not only did we deliver a world-leading project, but one in which sustainability was front and centre. The project highlighted the benefits of local employment, training and skills development, local and sustainable procurement. In addition, there was a wide-ranging ecological and biodiversity programme that realised a number of regeneration impacts.  The background to the project can be found via 


What makes your sector unique from a CRS perspective?

Sport, it is often said, has the power to change lives.  Whist I agree with this headline, as a sociologist, I have to say that, of course, only people can do this.  Therefore, those within sport have the power and opportunity to change lives – uplifting local, regional, national and global pride; initiating opportunities to improve personal and community health and wellbeing; promoting participation and engagement; and underpinning a ‘sense of place’. Through sport and the profile created and shared across communities, CRS can, is, and should be fully engaged and promoted. Furthering the cause of CRS and a responsible and engaged community can be done by utilising the media, partnerships, brand loyalty and the role models of our sports stars and players.              


What do you think are the most important skills for working in CRS?

Social Value awareness – understanding; having knowledge and experience of a community and neighbourhood impact; the needs and challenges; social trends and the expansion of knowledge capital. It is also important to have an understanding and awareness of how CRS can work in all organisational settings, by supporting business operations and growth and underpinning public and voluntary sectors. The ability to share and present CRS schemes of work, strategy and planning to varied audiences – be they professional, learning or industry settings - it also vital. 


Why should people choose a career in CRS?

As we move forward in the 21st Century, responsible business and organisational practices are likely to grow in importance, content and style.  Successful organisations will be able to demonstrate how they are working in a sustainable and responsible manner towards their community and/or customer base.   CRS may be based in any number of organisational areas – from Corporate Affairs and Finance to Planning and Communications.   The need for people with energy, enthusiasm and awareness of CRS in context will be a growing area of work. There are already a number of good qualifications that create the learning and  development pathways and it’s an exciting career option in which individuals will be able to lead and develop programmes of change that have direct impact in ares such as policy and strategy– with local and world implications like no other.


What advice would you give to others on getting into CRS?

To be open-minded and above all, ready to listen, so that we engage and encourage change and improvement.  Identify what the priorities are for yourself, the organisation and community in which you work, and recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’. Act with respect for differing circumstances – continue to learn, to develop, to thrive and enthuse. 


What one question would you like to pose to the ICRS community?

How can we work to create a wholly credible toolkit that measures both our environmental impact whilst also measuring our social values investments. How can we go about bringing these two critical facets of our work into a nationally recognised format ?


Find Pete on LinkedIn here