SPORT WALES FUND AIMS TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY SPORT ORGANISATIONS

A £4million fund has been launched by Sport Wales to help grassroots sports clubs and community organisations that have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and help them prepare to re-start activities safely. 

The new ‘Be Active Wales Fund’ has been created with the support of Welsh Government and repurposed money from the National Lottery.

Over the last two months, more than £600,000 of emergency funding has been awarded by Sport Wales to help more than 300 clubs in immediate financial danger. 

SAFEGUARD

Now, thanks to the Be Active Wales Fund, even more clubs can safeguard their future by applying for a grant of between £300 and £50,000.

Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: “Grassroots sport has been hit incredibly hard. Thankfully, emergency funding has already saved a huge number of clubs, and we’re pleased to be able to launch this new fund which will provide even more support at a time when it is so badly needed.

“Our clubs and groups are crucial in keeping the people of Wales active. If they don’t stay afloat or they can’t reopen safely, we can expect another crisis – that of inactivity and ill-health. We must not let that happen. Clearly, clubs will need to adapt many of their activities so that they fully adhere to health guidelines and social distancing requirements. The Be Active Wales Fund will help make that possible.”

INEQUALITIES

Sarah added: “Whilst it is heartening to see the essential importance Government has placed on exercise during this pandemic, research has found that many of the inequalities which already existed in sports participation have unfortunately been intensified during lockdown, notably for those living in deprived areas. 

“A reduction in young people’s activity levels has been particularly worrying, so it is essential that we work with our partners such as national governing bodies and local authorities to ensure that the Be Active Wales Fund reaches those communities and groups who need it most. This is a collective opportunity to renew and re-imagine what sport can, should and will have to be in the future.”

Full information about the Be Active Wales Fund, including details on how to apply, can be found at www.sport.wales/beactivewalesfund.

OPEN LETTER URGES PROVIDERS TO PRIORITISE DISABLED PEOPLE’S INCLUSION

Activity Alliance is a national charity working to make active lives possible for disabled people

Activity Alliance and its members have published an open letter imploring “sport and leisure decision-makers” to put disabled people’s inclusion at the heart of their plans as restrictions are lifted following the Covid-19 lockdown.

The network of organisations say they want to work together with providers “to address the growing concern that disabled people may become the forgotten audience as activity increases”.

The letter states: “We cannot let this happen. If we do not act quickly, we risk failing in our collective obligation to achieve fairness for all.”

The Sport for Development Coalition fully supports the open letter and encourages our supporters and followers to share it as widely as possible. Read it here:

“This weekend we will see restrictions lifted further across the nation in sport and leisure. We want to work together to address the growing concern that disabled people may become the forgotten audience as activity increases. We cannot let this happen. If we do not act quickly, we risk failing in our collective obligation to achieve fairness for all.  

WELCOMING

“We recognise that sport and leisure providers are going through challenging times financially. One of our biggest fears is that providers will cut their inclusion work. Losing the key staff who have been central to ensuring inclusive practice would have a devastating impact on disabled people’s participation. We urge decision makers to think carefully about the expertise that they retain if they genuinely want their offer to be inclusive.

“There are risks that additional barriers will prevent some people’s route back to active lifestyles. Adapted equipment or accessible parking bays taped off. Markings that are not tactile or big enough. A diversion that is a longer route on tricky terrain. A mask or screen that undermines clear communication. These new procedures will affect so many disabled people and people with health conditions. These situations are easy to fix if providers take an approach that is welcoming for everyone.

“All Activity Alliance members are committed to ensuring disabled people can be active and stay active. Before the pandemic, we were making good progress on closing the unjust gap between disabled and non-disabled people’s activity levels. Indeed, as we went into lockdown, we witnessed the highest number recorded for disabled people’s activity levels yet.

“You can imagine how frustrating it is that we have seen inequalities widen during the current crisis. It feels like a double blow for those of us working towards a fair society. Not only are we fighting to break down barriers that existed beforehand and for far too long. But now additional hurdles need addressing that affect millions of people across our country.

“In May 2020, just over 7 in 10 disabled adults (73.6%) reported they were “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their life[i]. Feelings of anxiety and loneliness have grown, and sense of wellbeing deteriorated. We also have a new audience of people who have health conditions or have become disabled because of COVID-19. We have heard many hard-hitting personal stories over the last four months. Enough life-changing experiences for us to fear a significant drop in disabled people’s participation rates.

“We know there will be even more disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, who feel more isolated and less active. The fear for many disabled people is that attitudes, physical barriers, and systemic failings will mean missing out more than ever before.

“Sport and leisure positively change lives, with fantastic inclusive examples, and we must celebrate that. We urge decision-makers and providers from across sport and leisure to put inclusion at the heart of your plans and preparations. Embrace the opportunities that returning to play brings for us all to be innovative and accessible.

GUIDANCE

“Our teams are here to help, with expertise in many areas. We empathise with the changes this pandemic will bring for every person and organisation. Throughout the last four months, we have supported a range of organisations in their plans as we strive to ensure an inclusive return to play for everyone

“Activity Alliance released guidance in June – Reopening Activity: An inclusive response, in consultation with partners across sport, leisure and disability equality. We want providers to consider the guidance as part of their ongoing commitment to disabled people’s inclusion. National Disability Sports Organisations are at the forefront of work to make sure that all people with any impairment can be supported to stay active. All our resources and guidance can be accessed through the links below.

“Good luck to all reopening their doors from this week. Your support in creating a fairer society has never been more appreciated or needed.”

Signatories

Barry Horne, Activity Alliance www.activityalliance.org.uk

Alaina MacGregor, British Blind Sport www.britishblindsport.org.uk

Adi Fawcett, Cerebral Palsy Sport www.cpsport.org

Tim Shephard, Dwarf Sports Association UK www.dsauk.org

Kiera Roche, LimbPower www.limbpower.com

Michelle Carney, Special Olympics GB www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk

Valerie Copenhagen, UK Deaf Sport www.ukdeafsport.org.uk

Martin McElhatton, WheelPower www.wheelpower.org.uk

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT SECTOR HAVING ‘PROFOUND EFFECT’ – COALITION

The Sport for Development Coalition (SFDC) has warned that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector is having “a profound effect” on some of the “most vulnerable members of our society”.

The SFDC, a growing Movement of more than 100 charities, networks and governing bodies who believe in the power of sport to generate positive social outcomes, has today published its response to the DCMS Committee inquiry on the impact of the pandemic.

In the report ‘Impact of Covid-19 on the Sport for Development sector’, the SFDC reveals that the pandemic has had “a significant impact” on the sector from reduced funding and financial security, to a forced reduction and adaptation in delivery, and increased challenges in engaging participants.

This has subsequently had a knock-on effect for the thousands of people in need that the sector serves. The report adds: “Sport for Development organisations are well placed to support the most vulnerable members of our society, having built up significant trust over their years of delivery. The current threat to the Sport for Development sector is having a profound effect on those vulnerable people.”

The reports highlights a number of areas including:

  • the lack of structure and support in young people’s lives. Football Beyond Borders reports that participants in its programme “are struggling with a lack of structure and routine – with some boys waking up at 5pm after playing PS4 until 8am”.
  • the increased sense of isolation that many young people have experienced, despite the best efforts of charities. One 17-year-old from Street League in Scotland comments: “We do face chats everyday but it’s not the same as being there.”
  • Carney’s Community reports that young people “see our staff and centre as a second home”, while another charity School of Hard Knocks says “they need consistency, to lose that nurturing and mentoring element is a huge blow”.
  • examining the impact on under-represented groups being served by organisations in the sector, the SFDC reports the pandemic as helping to “reinforce outdated gender roles”, highlights “the disparities in our society between different ethnicities” and says it has “crippled” many families living in poverty.
  • one organisation within the StreetGames network reports “a lot of our families lack even basic resources like a football to play with”, while Empire Fighting Chance states: “Those in toxic backgrounds will have issues exacerbated over next few months, mental wellbeing will worsen.”

The report also looks at the impact of the pandemic on delivery organisations themselves. StreetGames estimates a third to a quarter of the ‘Locally Trusted Organisations’ in its network stopped operations and furloughed all staff, while Sported reported that – as the full effect of lockdown kicked in – one in four community groups were not sure if they would exist in six months’ time.

SFDC Chair Andy Reed said: “The Coalition seeks to bring together and unite all of those organisations who are using sport and physical activity to improve society, and this report demonstrates the remarkable reach of the Sport for Development sector into people’s lives and communities across the UK.

“Whilst we hope it proves useful to the DCMS Committee inquiry at this crucial time, we also want this to be a wake-up call to what could be lost if the sector isn’t supported soon. These organisations work with some of the most deprived communities and they have been hit hardest. There is a real need to get these back and on a sound financial footing as soon as possible.”

The DCMS Committee has been holding evidence sessions “to hear directly from stakeholders, arms-length bodies and Government about what is being done and what further support is needed”. Read more about it here.

  • The Sport for Development Coalition is a growing Movement of charities, governing bodies, funders, networks and delivery organisations who all believe in the power of sport and physical activity to act as effective interventions tools for generating positive social outcomes.
  • For more information, visit www.sportfordevelopmentcoalition.org or follow @SFDCoalition on Twitter.
  • For media enquiries and interview opportunities, contact simonlansley@connectsport.co.uk.

FIRST ONLINE COURSE ON SPORT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LAUNCHED

Copyrights: Aaron Kearney – Australian Broadcasting Corporation International Development (ABCID)

A new, freely available online course will help individuals and organisations harness the potential of sport in their work towards sustainable development.    

With more governments and organisations around the world recognising sport as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sport is increasingly being used as a tool to address issues ranging from health and education to employment and conflict resolution. 

But, despite the increasing use of sport and growing perception of its value, individuals and organisations have limited opportunities to learn how to maximise sport’s positive impact.

SUSTAINABLE

To address this gap, the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat have collaborated to support the development of a free online course on Sport for Sustainable Development. 

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes marks the release of the first ever free massive open online course (MOOC) on sport for development. 

Designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners, including government officials, intergovernmental and sports organisations, public policy experts, the private sector and civil society organisations, the course allows learners to explore aspects of programme design and implementation, and understand how to measure the impact of policies and programmes. The course also allows learners to explore key concepts on sport and gender equality, disability, human rights, social inclusion, peacebuilding and safeguarding. 

VALUABLE

Featuring contributions from around the world, the course shares lessons learnt, best practice and top tips from policymakers and practitioners, helping learners to explore different approaches to sport for development from those delivering sport-centred programmes on a day-to-day basis. 

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The longstanding work and engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of collaboration among our member countries to develop policies and programmes on sport and development have yielded valuable perspectives and practical understanding of how life opportunities for people from all backgrounds can be improved through well-designed and adaptable strategies.

“Our focus is on extending the benefits of sport to more people, from more diverse backgrounds, more often. This course offers leaders, practitioners and young people alike superb professional development opportunities to build their skills and develop highly effective policies and programmes which enable the potential of sport as a force for good to be realised fully and inclusively in the countries of the Commonwealth – and more widely.”

COLLABORATION

The collaboration between the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop the course is underpinned by each organisation’s focus on providing accessible opportunities for learning. 

“Recognising the need to increase access to resources and educational opportunities for a wide and varied audience, this course focuses on helping learners to understand how to effectively integrate sport into policies and programmes to advance the SDGs,” explained Gunnar Hagstrom, from the Laureus Sport for Good and member of the International Platform on Sport and Development Steering Board. “In an era where the face-to-face delivery of sport has been disrupted and threatened, this course helps audiences to think critically and understand how to leverage sport, drive innovation and challenge the status quo.”

For more information on the course and to sign up, please visit the International Platform on Sport and Development website.

COALITION CHARITIES RESPOND TO CHANCELLOR’S KICKSTART SCHEME

Street League supports young people aged 16 to 24 not in employment, education or training

Sport for Development Coalition charities that focus on employability have been responding to the Chancellor’s announcement of a £2billion ‘Kickstart’ scheme to help young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24.

It is part of an emergency package aimed at preventing mass unemployment in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

SUPPORT

Lindsey MacDonald, Managing Director of the sport for employment charity Street League, welcomed the Kickstart scheme and said her organisation was looking forward “to hearing the detail of how and where these investments will be made”.

“Guaranteeing that the right support reaches young people and employers to access these opportunities is critical to ensuring young people who are most in need of support are able to benefit,” said Lindsey.

“We hope that there will be an emphasis placed on youth employment services prior to, and during the initial six-month work placements, to make these solutions sustainable.

“For young people whose opportunities are not continued beyond the six-month period, there needs to be a clear transition back into support so that the skills and experience they gained are not lost. We know that an ongoing cycle of unemployment when young can have devastating consequences throughout a person’s life and career.

“Street League’s Aftercare Service offers in-work support and sees us ensure that six months after going into an opportunity at least 60% of young people who moved into a job are still there or have moved into a new opportunity six months later. Support to transition from one job to another has been particularly critical in the past few months as lockdown changed the shape of the labour market.”

MINDSET

Lindsey warned: “There is a risk that a short-term mindset could only serve to delay the youth unemployment crisis we are trying to avoid.”

Paul Evans, Chief Executive of Leadership Through Sport and Business (LTSB), pointed out that the current generation of young people seeking to start their careers have already lived through austerity and cuts to public services, followed by uncertainty brought on by Brexit and what he believes was a “confused” Apprenticeship Levy roll-out.

Young people attending the Leadership Through Sport and Business programme

Evidence shows the “vulnerable and marginalised always suffer most, and suffer longest” from pandemics, according to Paul.

“For this unluckiest generation, the action required by central Government should be unequivocal,” he said.

“It should be uncompromising in its commitment to creating an education, training and employment landscape that allows the country to build a future on the talent of the next generation of key workers, skilled trades, innovators and entrepreneurs.

PRESSURE

“LTSB is proud to be part of the Youth Employment Group, led by Youth Employment UK, that has been putting pressure on the Chancellor to take these steps. After (this) announcement there are grounds for hope.”

Ben Hilton, Chief Executive of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, agreed with Paul that provision must be made for those furthest from the labour market.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust provides one-to-one mentoring for young people

“In the last youth employment spike, we saw that those closer to the labour market benefitted most, and those with greater vulnerabilities and complexities in their lives, were ones who generally became a long-term unemployment statistic.”

He added: “We would also like to see support for these young people during the initial stages of employment. While the announcement of more work coaches is welcomed, additional support and mentoring from people outside of the traditional system can be of great benefit.

EXPERIENCE

“We use elite athletes from a range of sports to mentor and support the young people we work with and we know from experience and evaluation of our programmes, how beneficial this can be.”

Sarah Mortiboys, Chief Operating Officer for Dallaglio RugbyWorks, said: “Dallaglio RugbyWorks welcomes the announcement of the new Kickstart scheme to support young people back into employment.

Dallaglio RugbyWorks helps young people achieve their potential

“As an organisation we work with some of the most at-risk young people who because of circumstances out of their control fall out of education and therefore have a limited chance of achieving their full potential.

“We believe that this just isn’t right and that all young people have the right to achieve and be the best that they can be.

“Kickstart is a welcome addition to the range of interventions that as a sector we have at our disposal and Dallaglio RugbyWorks believes that, if used to their potential, this can really begin to address some of the challenges that we face ahead.”

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IN A CHANGING WORLD

Each month the Sport for Development Coalition presents a monthly theme, and for July 2020 we welcome Jenny Oklikah, the new Chief Executive Officer of Fight for Peace. Here Jenny talks about the work of the charity, and the challenges and opportunities presented at this time of change for society. Join Jenny for a live Twitter takeover at the hashtag #SportForDevelopmentCoalition on Monday 27th July (8-9pm).

The ongoing obstacles and acute hardships presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing movements against the injustice, prejudice and systemic racism that exist in our society, mark this moment out as unique in our lifetime, and certainly in the 20-year history of Fight for Peace. This moment brings with it significant challenges as well as vital opportunities, both for us as an organisation and for the wider youth and sport for development sectors.

From London to Rio de Janeiro, to Kingston, Jamaica, and across the 17 countries in which our Fight for Peace Alliance partners operate (including 46 organisations in the UK), we work in communities which face disproportionate socio-economic barriers that are significantly heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. For young people and families in our communities, daunting new and existing obstacles will need to be confronted and overcome in the coming weeks and months as we emerge from lockdown and, in some places, continue to battle the spread of the Coronavirus.

RECOGNITION

Families and young people with whom we work have been dealing with financial hardship, reduced income and unemployment, bereavement, domestic violence and missed schooling over a number of weeks. This presents very real threats to the development, and physical and mental health of our members, and can force those most vulnerable into difficult choices with negative outcomes for themselves and others.

The hardships are set to continue as the longer term social and economic impacts of Covid-19 are felt, and mitigating them through ongoing social support, delivery of food and essentials, and alternative programme delivery will continue to be the focus of our work, both locally and globally.

New Fight for Peace CEO Jenny Oklikah (pictured right)

The enhanced awareness of the discrimination and injustice which exist in our society also marks this moment out as unique. Recognition of these issues is long overdue. No-one should be held back, much less suffer abuse or violence, because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality, their gender identity, or disability – nor should they face added barriers where these intersect. For us, oppression and injustice are destructive barriers that stand in the way of our young people realising their full potential. Fight for Peace, and the wider youth and sport for development sectors, must be part of the solution.

For us this means two things. Firstly, it means going beyond mitigating and combatting the effects of oppression through our work with young people by using our voice and influence to highlight injustice and advocate for change. Crucially, it also means looking inward and assessing how we address and deal with these issues, how we can make them even more central to our work, how our young people and staff can most effectively discuss and educate themselves and each other, and how we can best reflect progression and change.

STRATEGIC

This week we took an exciting initial step in this process when we announced the creation of a new Leadership Group, not based on hierarchy but composed of leaders from across our organisation who will influence the strategic direction and decision-making of the next phase of Fight for Peace’s history, and that crucially represent the diversity of our staff and young people. We believe that setting an example for good practice within our sector and networks is arguably the greatest and most important influence we can have.

We have always been an organisation that has championed collaborative working and we believe that now more than ever partnership, knowledge and skills exchange, and collective impact will be vital. Fortunately, the nature of our global work is well set up for this and is developing all the time. Through the best practice exchange occurring across our global Alliance of 135 organisations and our established and emerging networks using collective impact methodology in Kingston (Jamaica), Maré (Rio de Janeiro) and Newham (London), we are able to draw on the vast knowledge of our partners, train and help develop fellow organisations, and work collectively to best meet the needs of the young people and communities we serve at this crucial time.

In 20 years Fight for Peace has never stood still, and this moment of change must be grasped as another opportunity to evolve – to adapt to best support our young people and communities, to champion change in the way society perceives and embraces young people, and promote even greater unity and solidarity in our continued fight for peace.

Join Jenny for the live Twitter takeover at the hashtag #SportForDevelopmentCoalition on Monday 27th July (8-9pm).

Pic credit: Dolly Clew.

SUPPORTING DISABLED PEOPLE FROM LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS TO BE ACTIVE

Persion instructing supporting disabled man in a gym

Activity Alliance has released new resources on ‘Supporting disabled people from low-income households to be active’.

The engagement factsheet is the latest in a collection of resources that advise sport and physical activity providers on inclusive practice.

It is aimed at helping providers plan, target and deliver more appealing and accessible opportunities for disabled people.

INACTIVE

Research from Sport England shows that disabled people from lower socio-economic groups are much more likely to be physically inactive than disabled people from more affluent groups (43% compared to 29%). They are also three times more likely to be inactive than non-disabled people from higher socio-economic groups inactive (43% versus 14%).

The factsheet provides insight on how deprivation affects some disabled people’s lives, and explores the relationship between poverty and disability.

Ray Ashley, Activity Alliance’s Strategic Lead for Partnerships, said: “We want to empower organisations by providing the right support, connections and insight so that more disabled people have access to fair activity opportunities.

“Our latest factsheet is an important addition in supporting activity providers and organisations to encourage more disabled people to be active.”

IMPACT

The factsheet was created in partnership with Professor Tess Kay, Professor of Sport, Health and Social Science at the University of Stirling.

She added: “I am so pleased to see this important guidance emerging. Low income can have an enormous impact on people’s participation in sport and physical activity, but it is often overlooked.

“It is not just about being short of cash – there are so many associated effects, from stress and worry, to poor everyday living conditions. As this resource explains, disabled people can be at greater risk. This timely guidance has a wide relevance, especially at this uncertain time. I really applaud Activity Alliance for taking the lead on this crucial issue.”

Access the factsheet here.

‘REACTIVATE’ SUPPORTS RETURNING ACTIVITY PROVIDERS

ReActivate will be free to use for 12 months for anyone working or volunteering in the sport and physical activity sector in England / CIMSPA

A free training initiative has been launched to support sport and physical activity providers following the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ‘ReActivate’ scheme has been commissioned by CIMSPA (the Chartered Institute for the Management for Sport and Physical Activity) and funded by Sport England.

It provides a free, online training platform that will equip anyone working or volunteering in the sport, fitness, leisure and physical activity sector with the knowledge and skills they need to confidently return to work or restart their coaching activity.

GRASSROOTS

ReActivate covers areas such as risk management, social distancing, cleaning and use of equipment; along with refresher training, Covid-specific procedures and health and wellness support for staff still on furlough. It will also generate a CIMSPA ‘Covid-Safe’ training certificate on completion.

The platform will be free to use for 12 months for anyone working or volunteering in the sport and physical activity sector in England; including grassroots sports coaches and volunteers.

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said: “The sport and physical activity workforce and volunteers are going to play a vital role in keeping the nation fit and healthy as we emerge from this crisis.

“With our recent ‘Return to Work’ survey indicating that 40% have some degree of apprehension about returning, it is vital that we give them the support they need to return with confidence and create a safe environment for the public.

CONFIDENCE

“The resources we are providing with support from Sport England and our delivery partners are designed to give all stakeholders the ability to re-open with confidence.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, added: “Sport and physical activity play a crucial role in our health and wellbeing and we recognise the vital role of those who work in the leisure sector, as well as the countless volunteers and coaches who keep our communities active.

“It is absolutely vital to give everyone who needs it access to the resources and training they need to confidently return to their roles, and this is why we have invested in this major training initiative.”

Employers and facility managers interested in free access to the ReActivate training platform for their teams can find out more and register their interest at https://cimspa-reactivate.uk/

YOUTH SPORT TRUST CEO WELCOMES PE & SPORT PREMIUM ANNOUNCEMENT

Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver has welcomed the announcement that primary schools in England will receive £320million funding from the PE and Sport Premium during the academic year 2020-21.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that the funding, which was doubled in 2017, will continue at this higher rate of £320million next year.

The PE and Sport Premium is designed to help children get an active start in life, supporting primary schools to improve the quality of their PE and sport provision so that pupils experience the benefits of regular exercise – from becoming healthier both mentally and physically to improved behaviour and better academic achievement.

PRIORITIES

Responding to the announcement, Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver – who is a Board member of the Sport for Development Coalition – said: “As young people return to school, their wellbeing will be one of the biggest priorities in education.

“Sport and Physical Education have an essential role to play in children’s recovery, particularly following a period of lockdown which has seen too many either become less active or completely inactive.

“We are delighted that the primary PE and Sport Premium for 2020/21 has been confirmed at this critical time. Many primary schools will be using this funding to improve provision of PE and sport and to develop teachers’ confidence to deliver it, positioning PE and sport at the core of schools’ work to improve pupils’ health, wellbeing and ability to learn.”

PROVISION

The Department for Education has also confirmed that any PE and Sport Premium funding from the current academic year (2019-20) which schools were unable to use as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can be brought forward to use in the next academic year, giving school leaders an opportunity to develop or add to their existing provision, or to make improvements that will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “During these challenging times, it has become clearer to me than ever the importance of keeping active and how it benefits not just our physical health but also our ability to pay attention, our mood and our mental health too.

“Every family will have had a different experience of the pandemic, and I know that many children will have missed time spent outdoors with their friends – that’s why it’s so important that ahead of a full return to school in September, schools get the certainty they need to prepare their PE and sports activities for next year.”

Read more at youthtrustsport.org

CHARITIES AND GOVERNING BODIES UNITE FOR MERCERS PROJECT

A group of sports charities and national governing bodies have joined forces on a groundbreaking new collaborative project which will aim to ensure that 200 young people, who are currently at risk of falling out of the education system, will instead develop positive and productive futures.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and England Boxing have teamed up with Dallaglio RugbyWorks, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and SLQ Sports Leaders for the three-year project which has been made possible thanks to funding of just over £280,000 from The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation.

Using sport as a hook to engage the teenagers in positive activity, the project will provide life-skills and mentoring support across several schools in the capital, with the aim of enabling them to transition into further education, employment or training after mandatory education.

The partnership is particularly timely with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds set to face even greater challenges due to the economic downturn post Covid-19.

DEVELOPMENT

Each of the partners will bring different aspects to the project. SLQ Sports Leaders offer the opportunity to achieve a Level 1 qualification in Sports Leadership, while the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust will provide access to its mentoring expertise, which includes personal, social and emotional development programmes for young people facing disadvantage. The RFU and England Boxing will provide assistance with delivery to the Dallaglio RugbyWorks team as well as creating community engagement opportunities for participants.

Sarah Mortiboys, Chief Operating Officer for Dallaglio RugbyWorks, said: “As we move into uncertain times for everyone, it is essential that we continue to support future generations, especially those at most risk, and enable them to be the next leaders of sport and society. That is why I am thrilled that so many organisations have teamed up with RugbyWorks to deliver this unique and exciting project.

“I would sincerely like to thank The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, SLQ Sports Leaders, the RFU and England Boxing for coming together to join us in this project which will help to change the lives of young people in London for the better.”

The collaboration features several key supporters of the Sport for Development Coalition, a growing movement of over 100 charities, governing bodies and networks who all believe in the power of sport to generate positive social outcomes.

OPPORTUNITY

Richard Norman, CEO of SLQ Sports Leaders and a Board member of the Coalition, praised the organisations for coming together to focus on shared outcomes.

“We love working collaboratively to achieve social change and we are delighted to be part of this Dallaglio RugbyWorks project,” he said.

“Working with such prestigious organisations gives the project a unique opportunity to positively impact young people across London.”

Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director at the Rugby Football Union, said the governing body was “really pleased” to be able to “provide support to vulnerable teenagers at this very challenging time”, and Ron Tulley, England Boxing’s Head of Community Development, said: “the boxing clubs involved will provide a safe and secure environment where young people can grow in confidence and as young people.”