The latest round of Sport England’s Parliamentary Sports Fellow Scheme launched this week with a lively event at the House of Commons with sport governing bodies, national partners and parliamentarians.
The scheme, now in its fourth round, matches MP and peers with sports organisations for a two-year period and aims to build a better understanding of sport in Parliament.
“National governing bodies of sport and sports organisations need champions to help deliver strategic and political advice and support,” said Fellowship founder and former MP, Derek Wyatt.
“The Fellowship has given Parliamentarians from all three main political parties an eye-opening experience in the world of sport – it has created parliamentary ambassadors who can address some of the legislative and regulatory burdens which affect sport. It also ensures that lesser known sports can generate a greater profile and exposure.”
Hosted by Rehman Chishti MP, Sport England Fellow for 2010-12, more than 30 sports organisations were on hand to network with the parliamentarians and discuss how they could work together on a Fellowship.
In the coming weeks, these discussions will see partnerships agreed, and the new cohort of Parliamentary Sports Fellows will be in place by the end of summer.
Sport England set up the Parliamentary Sports Fellowship Scheme in 2005 following a recommendation by Derek Wyatt that the worlds of sport and politics needed to better understand each other and work more closeley together.
MPs and peers spend seven days over the course of their fellowship with their partner organisation to gain real insight into their work and learn how sport can enrich communities. In return, employees from the partnering organisation spend three days shadowing their fellow in Westminster to gain a better understanding and appreciation of Parliament and how to effect change.
To date, the Fellowship has created 57 different partnership, with many more still to come.