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10 Feb 2022 | 10:10

In this series of mini-blogs, Coalition members reflect on how their organisations collectively contribute to at least eight of the 12 Missions in the Government's Levelling Up White Paper. The Coalition is calling for investment to be ring-fenced for targeted physical activity and sport-based interventions, from funding already committed such as the Plan for Health and Social Care, Plan for Jobs and Lifelong Skills Guarantee, and Beating Crime Plan. Click on the names to read the mini-blogs.

“We believe in a level playing field where every young person has the opportunity to create a better future for themselves” (Read more from Tom Clarke-Forrest, founder and CEO of Sport 4 Life UK)

“We support young people to create opportunities in their local areas, develop relationships with local organisations and feel a sense of responsibility for and pride in the communities where they live” (Ben Hilton, CEO of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust)

“We are seeing the power of sport and physical activity, and how it can transform lives by improving the education and skills development of our communities that have too often been left behind” (Nigel Harrison, Interim CEO of the Active Partnerships network and CEO of Yorkshire Sport Foundation)


"The pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges that we look to address, such as tackling loneliness and children’s mental health. We would like to see the power of sport continue to be acknowledged for its proven and evolving ability to support key groups of people within communities" (Mike Evans, CEO of the EFL Trust)

“While women live longer than men, on average they spend more years in poor health - women in the most deprived areas have a Healthy Life Expectancy that is 20 years lower than women in the least deprived areas” (Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women in Sport)

“We provide trusted community organisations with the means and expertise to support families who struggle during school holidays, and  help to prevent knife crime and serious youth violence” (Mark Lawrie, StreetGames CEO)

“We tackle the access barriers faced by disadvantaged and disabled young people. We do this by training, equipping and supporting community sports clubs, organisations and volunteers to provide inclusive programmes, unleashing their potential to transform the lives of underserved young people in their local communities” (Helen Rowbotham, CEO of Access Sport)

“By using sport and physical activity to engage ethnically diverse children, we are improving wellbeing in communities that are most adversely affected by inequality. We're activating and energising children through positive role models and mentors, developing a skilled workforce, improving sustainability of community organisations and forging robust local partnerships” (James Mapstone, CEO of the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice)

“We have a central role to play in helping those that struggle to find long-term education and/or employment by supporting the Levelling Up Missions that seek to tangibly improve living standards and skills for those that need this most” (Gary Laybourne, CEO of Coach Core)

“Young people who have been excluded from school, who usually would have a 54% chance of getting into employment, education or training from the age of 18, see their chances raised to 87%” (Zenna Hopson, CEO of Dallaglio RugbyWorks)


“We are generating scalable and generalisable learning to advance the impact of policy and practice on the lives of all children and young people, but especially those whose lives are most impacted by significant social and health inequalities" (Professor Andy Smith, Chair of the Coalition's Sport, Mental Health & Wellbeing Working Group, on 'Tackling the Blues')

“Belong has worked closely with partners in the sports sector to develop the Power of Sport digital toolkit, a resource that enables sports organisations to maximise the positive impact they have on community cohesion” (Jo Broadwood, CEO of Belong - The Cohesion and Integration Network)

“(We) hope the focus is on preventative measures, and continue to back the Sport for Development Coalition’s call for ring-fenced investment for targeted physical activity and sport-based interventions as part of funding committed through the Plan for Health and  Social Care, Plan for Jobs and Lifelong Skills Guarantee, and Beating Crime Plan" (Tom Clarke-Forrest, founder and CEO of Sport 4 Life UK)

Read more about the Collective Action of the Coalition.

Get involved with the Coalition.

Pic credit: The Wave Project.