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27 Jun 2023 | 14:14

ac3June 2023 marked six months since Amy Caterson joined the Sport for Development Coalition as Head of Impact and Engagement from Sport Wales. In this blog, Amy shares some of her key achievements and learnings so far, and provides a preview of what’s to come over the coming months. 

As we reach the mid-point of the year, it’s an ideal time to reflect on progress, and consider priorities for the future. Not only is it six months since I joined the Coalition, but I’m pleased to report that we have recently completed the first quarterly cycle of Working Group meetings in alignment with our annual plan for April 2023 to March 2024. 

This annual plan runs in parallel with the Coalition’s #OpenGoal shared advocacy framework, which marked its first anniversary on April 6, the UN’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. #OpenGoal aims to demonstrate the value of sport for development to policy-makers, and has been co-designed by the Coalition’s membership over the last 18 months. Read the first #OpenGoal annual report.


Membership has almost doubled to just over 400 charities and organisations over the past 12 months, so reviewing and improving the structures and processes which underpin collective action took up much of my early weeks at the Coalition. As the network grows across the UK, it’s essential that these processes remain effective and sustainable in serving the evolving needs of this constantly evolving sector. 

Following many conversations across the network, this year the Working Groups have been simplified and streamlined with targeted objectives introduced and a limited number of members determined by an application process. As the Coalition scales up, we know it is vital to maintain clarity and a laser-like focus on key actions and remaining impactful. 

There are now four Working Groups, aligned to the Coalition’s strategic priorities: Impact, Policy, Public Affairs and Advocacy, and People (or workforce). These Working Groups, which will meet once each quarter during the 12 months, drive collective action in their respective strategic areas. 


Alongside the Working Groups, we have also recently launched a new opportunity to join a ‘Collective’. The Collectives follow the same four themes as the Working Groups and are designed to support their work. Through the Collectives, colleagues from across the network will be kept up to date on the progress of Working Groups, and can input at their own convenience or when they feel their expertise could be relevant. 

During April and May the first cycle of Working Group meetings for 2023-24 were held, and these initial meetings will help to determine priorities for the year. The meetings provided an excellent opportunity for Working Group members to get to know each other, and learn from the vast wealth of knowledge within the Coalition network. I am looking forward to contributing to, and helping to convene these groups throughout the rest of the cycle, and to tracking their progression and integration with other workstreams geared to building collective action and momentum. 

The opportunity to join a Working Group has now closed until February 2024, but anyone from our network can join a Collective throughout the year by completing this survey.  


Now Collective Action is under way for 2023-24, and the first series of Working Group meetings completed, attention turns to the first core component of the Coalition’s mission: To better understand and articulate the impact of sport for development at scale.

During 2021-22, Coalition members contributed to the first iteration of its Collective Survey Tool. This worked by pooling impact data shared by more than 50 Coalition members, and using HM Treasury Green Book guidance we were able to calculate that a young person being part of a sport for development programme is worth at least £2,500 per annum. 

My arrival in post also coincided with an evaluation of the Collective Survey Tool conducted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance in Autumn 2022, and I have since been working closely with key partners in its development and with our wider network to interrogate and better understand the needs of the sector in terms of collective impact measurement.


It is widely apparent there is a great desire and need to come together as a sector to measure and demonstrate the impact and potential of sport for development in a way that is consistent, accessible and holistic. This work will form the bedrock of the Coalition’s shared advocacy, and its #OpenGoal framework, over the coming years - so watch this space.

This piece of work has proven equally thought-provoking, challenging and exciting. The immense efforts and insights already operating across the sector and inter-connecting sectors have proven to be invaluable; I am really looking forward to continuing this collaborative learning and progress.


In summary, it’s been a really enjoyable and rewarding first six months with the Coalition, and getting to know the network – whether that’s through inductions with new members, or making time to reach out to people both online and in-person at numerous events, such as the Youth Justice Sport Fund regional (I attended in Plymouth) and national conferences (Birmingham), the Include Summit (Manchester), plus Muslimah Sports Association and APPG for Sport events in Parliament, and Laureus Sport for Good Global Summit at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. 

Having said all that, the impetus, impact and momentum of the Coalition comes from our network, so I would really welcome you getting in touch to share your own achievements, collaborations, challenges and ideas to help shape collective action moving forward. Finally I would like to share my thanks to the Coalition network for being so welcoming, kind and supportive. We are bound together by the certain knowledge that sport for development is an ‘open goal’ for policy-makers and practitioners alike, with vast and untapped potential to benefit society, so let’s work together to spread the word and demonstrate our collective impact.

Join a Collective

Read more about how you can get involved with the Coalition