The Belong Network has published new guidance for strengthening cohesion and integration through sport.
As lockdown lifts, communities are rediscovering the benefits of people gathering to engage and connect socially in local sport and physical activity. Programmes that utilise the power of sport to strengthen cohesion and integration will be an important element for communities as they rebuild, reconnect and recover from the impact of Covid-19.
The new resource from Belong, which is a Cohesion and Integration Network, offers a user-friendly approach to measuring both the individual and community-wide impact of a project on social cohesion. It breaks down outcomes into short and long-term measures, and outlines the conditions and context for maximising the possibility of improved social cohesion in a project’s design.
Belong say it will build the confidence of commissioners, funders and delivery programmes so that their efforts and resources are more likely to bring about longer term change in our communities.
Jo Broadwood, Chief Executive of Belong: The Cohesion and Integration Network said: “We are really pleased to be launching this guidance as people begin to re-engage with community sports activities.
“This document will support all those organisations who want to harness the power of sport to strengthen social connections and trust between different groups.
“Sport has the potential to play a vital role in building social cohesion locally and we are really grateful to Spirit of 2012, the Good Faith Partnership and all the expert sports delivery organisations who have collaborated on this project.”
The guidance has benefited from the insight and expertise of a wide range of contributors and is the product of a unique collaboration of researchers from the Good Faith Partnership, expert sport and physical activity practitioners (including StreetGames, London Sport, EFL Trust, Youth Sport Trust and Sporting Equals) and has been supported with funding from Spirit of 2012.
Ruth Hollis, CEO of Spirit of 2012 said: “Sport has the power to bring us together like few other activities – both as spectators and fans, and as participants. Spirit of 2012 was born out of a summer of sport that brought people together from all backgrounds and all walks of life in a powerful shared experience that united us all in that moment.
“We are proud to support this important resource that will help commissioners and deliverers of physical activity projects, and their communities, harness meaningful and lasting connections through sport.”