January 2022

Catch up on and share the latest news and announcements from across the Sport for Development Coalition's UK-wide network.

Jan 7th: Cerebral Palsy Sport has unveiled Steven Day, the former CEO of Fulham FC Foundation, as its Interim Chief Executive for the next six months. Steven, whose previous roles include Chair of Active Surrey and Head of Grassroots Football for the Football Association where he was responsible for the development of disability football, will commence the role immediately, whilst also continuing his consultancy role for UEFA. CP Sport's chair, Lynne Wardle, said: "Steve's background and skills are ideal for the development of CP Sport in this interim phase prior to the appointment of a permanent CEO." Read more.

Sported Time in Mind reportDec 14th: Sported publishes the 'Time in Mind' report which shares learning on how community groups can support the mental health of young people. It reveals what outcomes occur as a result of such support, highlights the vital role of building relationships with local mental health organisations and reveals the innovative practices developed by Sported members in response to the mental health issues young people are facing. CEO Nicola Walker hopes "the proposed model can help inform the work of other organisations on a mission to support young people in similar ways". Read more.

Dec 10th: The House of Lords National Plan for Sport and Recreation Committee’s report is published and calls for “a new ambitious national plan for sport, health and wellbeing and a new approach within Government to deliver and fund it”. In particular, the report highlights the need to embed genuine cross-departmental working in future policy and planning, the vital importance of sport and physical activity in health and education, and calls for the physical literacy of children to be valued as highly as their literacy and numeracy in schools. Read the Coalition's response to the report.

Dec 7th: Belong, The Cohesion and Integration Network – supported by Sport England and Spirit of 2012 – has produced a new free-to-use digital toolkit which explores the vital role that sports programmes and activities can play in supporting more cohesive, inclusive communities. The toolkit brings together a wealth of best practice examples, guidance, practical tools and resources to support those who are designing and evaluating sports programmes in thinking through how they can maximise the impact of their programmes. Read more.


Nov 30th: Sport for development organisations in the West Midlands are being encouraged to access a new ‘Places and Spaces’ fund which aims to communities and leave a legacy from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The match-funding initiative, delivered in partnership between Sport England and Crowdfunder, will mean organisations can apply for up to £10,000 from an initial pot of £3.5million National Lottery funding. Places and Spaces is similar to the national  scheme Return to Play: Active Together which has helped to support local communities and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic since it was launched in May 2020. Read more and apply.

Nov 26th: The House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee has published its report 'Skills for Every Young Person' which calls for more "central accountability" around the skills gaps and shortages which drive youth unemployment. The reports says recent initiatives, such as Kickstart, are "intentionally short term and do not address the structural nature of youth unemployment" and more must be done to "live up to the Government's 'levelling up' ambitions." Read the full report here. In May, the CEO of Youth Employment UK, LJ Rawlings, wrote this blog for the Coalition calling for collective action to address structural youth unemployment, where a young person is out of work for six months or more, which had risen by 50% over the previous year.

Rainbow Laces

Nov 25th: 'Lace Up and Speak Up' is the key message for this year's annual activation of the Rainbow Laces campaign for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport. The campaign's central call to action is for athletes, coaches, officials and fans to wear laces while also contributing to conversations that help to ensure people who are lesbian, gay, bi and trans feel welcome and comfortable in their sports spaces and environments. Stonewall's director of programmes Liz Ward said: “This year we want Rainbow Laces to take inclusion to the next level and start a conversation about what creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ people in sport really means.” Read more.

Nov 17th: Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the first HITZ Awards for two years took place at The Stoop, the home of Harlequins Rugby Club. HITZ is the employability programme for young people which runs across Premiership Rugby clubs, and amongst the winners was Callum Pope (pictured below right), from Exeter Chiefs, whose inspiring story featured on a recent edition of 'The Coalition Tackles....' podcast. Wayne Morris, Premiership Community and Corporate Responsibility Director, said: "What an amazing night! It was a real celebration of everything that HITZ is about and how much rugby can change lives." Read more.


Nov 16th: A consortium of three charities has been awarded £1million from the final Tampon Tax Fund to help improve confidence, wellbeing and activity levels amongst teenage girls. The ‘Big Sister’ project, led by Coalition partner Women in Sport, working with Hey Girls, Places Foundation and not-for-profit leisure provider Places Leisure, aims to break down the deep-seated barriers that teenage girls face in leading healthy, happy and active lives by creating a supportive network of ‘Big Sisters’. Read more.

‘ReTrain to Retain’ – the skills, funding and support programme for the sport and physical activity community in England – has opened to its first group of successful applicants. Fitness professionals, group exercise instructors and sports coaches can now log in to the ReTrain to Retain platform to access a range of resources designed to help them to stay in, or return to, the sector as communities seek to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Applications are still welcomed from anyone working in sport and physical activity in England who has been made unemployed or had their working hours impacted as a result of the pandemic. Additional support is also available for those working in lower income areas.  

The programme, part of a £5million job retention and support package (funded by Sport England through the National Lottery), is being delivered by CIMSPA, alongside UK Coaching and EMD UK. Read more. 

ReTrain to ReTain

In other news, data from this year’s ‘Beat the Street Sheffield’ has been released with more than 60,000 people participating in the game, and 70% of less-active adults encouraged to become active. Beat the Street, which saw local people walk, jog, run, cycle and scoot over six weeks during the summer, was supported by Move More and Sheffield City Council, and delivered by Intelligent Health with funding from National Lottery, Sport England and other partners. A total of 32,149 people were surveyed before and after participating in the game, providing information on their physical activity levels, long-term conditions, disability and mental wellbeing. 

The programme set out to increase active travel, help community cohesion and also increase physical activity levels in both adults and children, with a particular focus on addressing health inequalities. Beat the Street (pictured below) was delivered across the city where 114 schools took part and more than 200 community and workplace teams competed together. Read more. 

Beat the Street

Nov 11th: A group of industry experts in the local authority public sports and leisure sector has called on the COP26 UK delegation to recognise the importance of the sector in helping the UK reach its ambitious climate change targets - especially as the sector seeks to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement agreed across leading partners in local government involved in the promotion of physical activity, which brings together APSE, CLOA, Community Leisure UK, District Councils Network, and Active Partnerships representing local councils and Trusts operating public leisure facilities, the partners have called for widespread investment in de-carbonising the vital community level leisure facilities. Read more. 

Nov 10th: The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice has announced the launch of the ‘Taskforce on Physical Activity and Sport in the Criminal Justice System’. The Taskforce will seek to build on recognition within the Government’s Beating Crime Plan that targeted and well-evidenced sport-based interventions are needed to cut crime, and provide greater leadership and co-ordination of efforts. 

It will be chaired by Baroness Sater, who said: “Through our All-Party Parliamentary Group meetings on Sport and Physical Activity in the Criminal Justice System, the need for greater leadership, coordination and a robust evidence base has become clear. The Taskforce will be well placed to respond to this challenge so that more people can benefit from getting active, increasing their wellbeing and receiving the support they need to live positive and healthy lives.” Read more. 

Sported research

Nov 8th: Sported, which supports the UK’s largest national network of community and grassroots groups providing sport and physical activity-based interventions, has published concerning data in its ‘Community Pulse’ report for October 2021. The report reveals that far fewer young people are attending their sports groups since the Covid-19 pandemic started, with this issue “disproportionately affecting those from areas of high deprivation”. 

Sported CEO Nicola Walker said: “We are delighted that the vast majority of our groups have reopened and are more confident in their future. But it is concerning that many of their young people have not yet returned and much still needs to be done to get better access to the facilities they need. Sported’s services are driven by the needs of our members and this level of insight is invaluable in remaining relevant.” Read more. 

To submit your news and announcements, please email [email protected]. Note submissions should include a strong focus on the wider developmental outcomes of sport and physical activity, and publication remains subject to editorial discretion.