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30 Oct 2022 | 11:11

Sport for development organisations will convene with national policy-makers and local community sport practitioners at the Coalition's ‘Town Hall’ session which takes place in Birmingham on November 8th, exactly three months on from the end of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The hybrid session, which is being supported by Youth Charter, will be streamed live and focus on the contribution of sport for development to supporting and sustaining the social impact and legacy of major events in the UK. Online attendees will be able to watch the session and participate in the discussion via a Zoom link.


Beverley Mason, Senior Independent Director of Sporting Equals, will welcome attendees, with StreetGames CEO Mark Lawrie setting the 'policy' context for the session and Tom Clarke-Forrest, CEO of Sport 4 Life, providing the background from the perspective of practitioners across the region. This will be followed by two panels; the 'practice' panel featuring local organisations Birmingham Rockets, Sports Key and Saheli Hub, and then the 'policy' panel featuring Sport Birmingham, West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit and academic expertise on the social legacy of major events. The second half of the programme will see attendees move into break-out groups (in person and online) provide input on a series of key questions addressing impact, advocacy and building the sport for development workforce. This collective input will inform and shape the Coalition's future work in this field, including how it works with national partners such as UK Sport, Spirit of 2012 and Sport England, who will all be represented at the Town Hall. View the Programme of Events.

Please note that because of a train strike on November 7th, the session will now take place 30 minutes later than originally scheduled (from 1030 to 1230) to allow more time for in-person attendees to travel to the venue.

The Coalition’s popular Town Halls are designed to provide informal opportunities for a selection of the 250 organisations and networks who make up the network to engage on important issues in the sector, and drive the Coalition’s collective response to them. Four such sessions have been held over the past year.

Town Hall

The fifth will enable local and national stakeholders to convene in person in Birmingham to check and challenge what actions are or aren’t being implemented, or should be introduced to sustain the positive social impact of the Games, which saw athletes from 72 nations compete across the West Midlands region between July 28 and August 8. Details for the Town Hall are as follows: 

'Beyond the Games: How can sport for development contribute to an impactful legacy for major events?'

The legacy of hosting international events has been a hot topic in a year which has seen England stage the Women’s Euros in football, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Rugby League World Cup (postponed from 2021 because of Covid-19) which takes place between October 15 and November 19. July also marked 10 years since London staged the 2012 Olympics, with Coalition Board member Ali Oliver MBE, the Chief Executive of Youth Sport Trust, remarking that “the discussion about legacy needs to go deeper” and pointing towards the reduction of PE hours in schools since 2012. Examining the intersection of sport and society, including ‘Closing the gap in education and development’, is a key part of the Coalition’s #OpenGoal framework which aims to showcase how targeted sport-based interventions can help to save public money because of the return on investment they provide across multiple outcome areas and policy priorities.

The charity Youth Charter, which will support the Town Hall in Birmingham, provides sport, art, cultural and digital activity to develop the mental, physical and emotional resilience and life-skills of young people and in particular the disadvantaged and disaffected in communities where anti-social, gang-related activity and extremism is experienced.

Its founder and Chair Geoff Thompson said: “This Town Hall meeting comes at an important time in the ongoing Games legacy effort in providing the mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing of young people of Birmingham, the West Midlands and the Commonwealth. The Youth Charter’s #Call2Action was recently launched at Birmingham City University and this event is another important step in engaging the very young people and communities, primarily from disaffected and disadvantaged communities to provide hope and opportunity through our #legacyopportunity4all.” 


Hitesh Patel, Executive Director for the Coalition, said: “Following on from the success of the Games in Birmingham, the Coalition is pleased to announce that we will be convening with network members and experts from the field to examine the ongoing social impact of the event on people and communities across the region, and indeed further afield when it comes to future events that are being staged in the UK.” 

Watch and read about previous Town Halls: 

At the Town Hall sessions speakers and experts, practitioners and people with lived experience contribute to panel sessions, and there are open-floor discussions and break-out sessions, with comments, insights and resources distributed to attendees following the event. Members lead on actions agreed at the session, and contribute to the ‘collective action’ of the Coalition as it gathers momentum. 

To watch a live stream of the Town Hall, register here.