SPORT ENGLAND CEO: SUPPORTING THE MISSION OF THE COALITION

In this blog Tim Hollingsworth, the Chief Executive of Sport England, writes about the Sport for Development Coalition and the recent announcement of new funding to support the growth of its work. Tim also kindly participated in a live Twitter takeover at the hashtag #SportForDevelopmentCoalition – check out the highlights here.

These are truly unprecedented times for us all, but as we continue to deal with new challenges, and adapt our immediate work to current circumstances, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of where we are working to get to.

We know that being active can significantly improve both physical and mental wellbeing, and as the first changes to lockdown allow many of us to enjoy more physical activity, we must continue to enable this as far as is possible within the guidelines.

However, we must keep front-of-mind, and readily plan for, the role that the sector will play in bringing communities back together as we emerge from the continuing restrictions.

COLLABORATE

Nowhere is this truer than across the sport for development branch of the sport and physical activity sector, and I am delighted that Sport England will continue to support the Sport for Development Coalition with new National Lottery funding. Sport for development, and the health and social value that sport and activity can provide, has never been more important.

In tandem with Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good, Sport England has supported the Coalition since 2018. I’ve hugely welcomed the work that they have led to convene those operating in this space, bringing organisations big and small together to collaborate and democratise an important part of the sector.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing such significant disruption to sport and physical activity, the Coalition’s mission to unlock more resources for community sport organisations is going to be essential to our collective recovery from Covid-19. Their aim is to create a movement, galvanising those working in sport for development around shared outcomes and keeping people, place and purpose at the heart of it all; I could not be more supportive.

StreetGames’ Doorstep Sport programme to deliver sport in less affluent communities; Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s transformational mentoring for disadvantaged young people; Street League’s work to tackle youth unemployment: just three examples of countless programmes that have all proven invaluable to the communities they support.

INCLUSIVE

I’m excited too by the ambition to grow the network to at least 400 organisations over the next four years. As we look ahead to how we might emerge from this period, the value of working in partnership to deliver community-focused, place-based activities cannot be understated.

This has real synergy with how we are seeking to work at Sport England, living our values and striving to be increasingly collaborative, innovative, inclusive and ambitious.

There won’t always be easy answers to the challenges that we are presented with, but doing things differently is a necessary part of our collective future, and we must continue to celebrate the phenomenal work that is being delivered as we battle through these difficult times.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair.”

RELEVANT

Nelson Mandela’s famous statement about the power of sport is one of the most frequently referenced in this space, but it remains timeless, and is particularly relevant this year.

Sport really does have the power to change the world. Now more than ever, it has the power to unite people, and together, perhaps we can create some hope where other sentiments have prevailed in recent weeks.

No small feat, but together I believe we can do just that.

Read more about Sport England’s response to the pandemic at sportengland.org.

SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT COALITION UNVEILS SUPPORTING PARTNERS

The Sport for Development Coalition (SFDC) has unveiled some of the key partners who will be supporting its mission to build a national ‘Movement’ of organisations using sport and physical activity to generate positive social outcomes.

Last week the SFDC revealed it was to receive new National Lottery funding from Sport England, along with further support from Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good.

Now it has announced it will work with partners including the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Made By Sport, and ConnectSport as it seeks to grow the Movement of organisations which includes national networks such as Active Partnerships and individual delivery organisations like Greenhouse Sports. As it grows, the SFDC is open to working with more partners that share its ambition to create a nationwide Movement.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance will host the SFDC team in its London offices whilst the Coalition develops its governance and organisational structure.

Chief Executive Lisa Wainwright said: “The Sport and Recreation Alliance is delighted to partner with the Sport for Development Coalition, an organisation which strongly shares our vision, values and purpose.

“Now more than ever, this type of collaboration is essential as we come together to encourage the nation to become happier and healthier through physical activity. We want to drive change using sport and recreation to empower positive social outcomes and to overcome stubborn inequalities that still remain.

“We know how physical activity can positively impact the lives of communities across the country and we look forward to working with the Coalition to evidence, showcase and highlight how sport and recreation can play an essential role across society.”

Andy Reed, Chair of the SFDC, said: “We are grateful to the Sport and Recreation Alliance for hosting us and we look forward to working with them as we grow the Movement along with partners across the sport and physical activity sector.”

The SFDC has been working closely with Made By Sport since it was launched in June 2019 by Prince Harry and boxers Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams. The charitable campaign aims to raise the profile of sport for development and elevate the power of sport to change young people’s lives in the national consciousness as well as raising new funds for the sector.

The SFDC and Made By Sport will work together with the Coalition’s network of organisations to help inform and evidence the issues that will drive Made by Sport’s campaigns. Sophie Mason, Chief Executive of Made By Sport, said: “I am delighted that the SFDC has secured this funding from Sport England, Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good.  The amazing work done by the whole sector has been underfunded and under-valued by a sport-loving nation as a whole. We need compelling stories and evidence that will help everyone appreciate that sport is the most powerful tool we have to address social issues.  With the inequality gap now widening, we need this more than ever.”

ConnectSport will continue as media and communications partner for the SFDC. The not-for-profit media channel for UK sport for development and community sport also provides content and communications services to the sector, and has been supporting the Coalition since 2016. Founded by the former Sports Editor of the Press Association, Simon Lansley, its aim is to build a workforce of journalists that is more diverse and representative of modern society.

Simon said: “We have been honoured to support the SFDC over the last few years, and we’re excited to be playing a part as it evolves and gathers momentum, with organisations of all sizes and from all communities across the regions becoming involved. Telling their stories and demonstrating their impact is our mission, and our passion.”

The partners will support the SFDC’s mission to work closely with networks such as the 43 Active Partnerships across England who work in collaboration with local partners – both inside and outside of sport – to build more active communities. Lee Mason, Chief Executive of Active Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to work with the SFDC and collaborate with all the partners involved to help create the conditions for an active nation, and use the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives across all communities.”

They will also aim to champion and support the outstanding work of individual charities and delivery organisations like Greenhouse Sports who work in more than 50 schools across London to provide long-term coaching and mentoring to pupils in the greatest need of support. CEO Béatrice Butsana-Sita said: “These destabilising times have revealed more than ever the role sport and all physical activity has to play in the health and welfare of a society that can offer opportunity for all. It is not only welcome but hugely important that the SFDC has secured funding from Sport England, Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good, to assist charities like ours unlock the power of sport and change lives.”

The SFDC is currently advertising for an Executive Director who is expected to be appointed within the next three months. Find out more about the role here.

COALITION AIMING TO GROW AFTER NEW FUNDING ANNOUNCED

The Sport for Development Coalition (SFDC) is aiming to “significantly grow” its network after new National Lottery funding was announced by Sport England, along with further support from Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good.

The SFDC, which has been supported for the last two years by the same funders, is a ‘Movement’ of charities, national governing bodies and networks who believe in the power of sport and physical activity to act as effective tools for intervention when generating a wide range of positive social outcomes. These range from tackling youth violence to improving mental wellbeing and increasing community cohesion.

The funding will be used to build and co-ordinate the Movement, and gather sector-wide evidence of positive social outcomes. This evidence will enable the SFDC and its partners to demonstrate the value of investing in sport and physical activity at a national level – especially to other sectors such as health, criminal justice or education.

The aim is to unlock significant additional investment and resources for community sport organisations. More than 70 have already signed up to the SFDC’s Charter, and the ambition is to grow the network to a minimum of 400 within the next four years.

The SFDC’s mission is seen as vital by Sport England, Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good in helping the sport and physical activity sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and complements the work each funder is already doing to support the sector at this difficult time.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, said: “Covid-19 has had a profound impact on people’s relationship with sport and activity, and on the sport sector as a whole. People and organisations are doing their best to adapt and it’s never been more evident just how much benefit being active can bring to people’s physical and mental health. Sport England will continue to make the case for investing in sport and physical activity at a national level to help solve local solutions – and that’s why we’re pleased to be supporting the Sport For Development Coalition, alongside our partners Comic Relief and Laureus.  This investment will allow the Sport for Development Coalition to grow its reach to a wider network of partners, creating a collective voice, new collaborations, and insight-driven development work – and ultimately helping us all to improve the lives of those who most need our support.”

Ruth Davison, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, said: “The work of the Sport for Development Coalition is more important than ever in these challenging times. Comic Relief is delighted to continue to fund this programme to help deliver long-term support throughout the Covid-19 crisis and its recovery.”

Adam Fraser, CEO for Laureus Sport for Good, said: “Laureus Sport for Good is committed to supporting the sport for development sector, which is needed now more than ever in these challenging times. That’s why we’re continuing our partnership with the Sport for Development Coalition, and are excited to help grow the Movement showing that sport has the power to unite us.”

The SFDC will initially be hosted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance as it develops its governance and organisational structure with the intention of it becoming independent by June 2022. It will advertise shortly for an Executive Director who is expected to be appointed within the next three months.

SFDC Chair Andy Reed OBE said: “We are extremely grateful to our funding partners for this new investment. The SFDC’s aim now will be to significantly grow the network and the momentum of this Movement, and demonstrate on a national scale how the power of sport can improve people’s lives and build stronger communities.”

NEW CHAIR OF COALITION APPOINTED

The Sport for Development Coalition (SFDC) has appointed its new Chair.

Former MP Andy Reed OBE succeeds Matt Stevenson-Dodd, who has led the SFDC’s Board as interim Chair since 2018.

The SFDC is a growing movement of organisations, networks and funders who believe in the power of sport and physical activity to generate positive social outcomes. It is supported and funded by Sport England, Comic Relief and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Andy, who was Labour & Co-operative MP for Loughborough between 1997 and 2010, has many years’ experience working in national sports policy, and international development issues.

He was Chair of the Sport & Recreation Alliance between 2011 and 2016, performed the same role for Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport for 12 years until 2017, and has also served on the Board of CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity).

Although now semi-retired, Andy is Director of Saje Impact, a boutique Public Affairs and Sport Management company specialising in the sport, faith and charity sectors, and is co-founder of the Sports Think Tank which is dedicated to sports policy development in the UK.

He is a passionate advocate of the power of sport to effect positive social change in our communities, and received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2012 for his contribution to community and sport in Leicestershire.

Matt Stevenson-Dodd, who also served as Chief Executive of leading sport for employability charity Street League between 2010 and 2019, is stepping down as Chair to focus on his consultancy, Trust Impact.

Andy said: “Firstly I would like to pay tribute to the work Matt has done to lead the Coalition over the last 18 months. His leadership has brought the Coalition to this exciting moment in its evolution where, as we head into a new decade, sport is now being widely acknowledged as a powerful tool for social change.

“Never has the need been greater; whether it’s the increasing focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals, or the need for social cohesion and integration in our communities.

“The many charities and organisations within the sport for development movement are already tackling a vast array of issues, from youth violence to social isolation and dementia amongst older people, from health and wellbeing inequalities to discrimination and deprivation.

“Our aim is to grow this movement by focusing on the Coalition’s three core aims of advocacy – showcasing the sector; impact – demonstrating the sector’s impact and making the case for investment – and investment, so securing new funds for the sector.”

Andy recently contributed to a webinar discussing priorities for Sport England’s next strategy (2021-25), with Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth. Click here to replay the webinar and submit your feedback.