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About us

Established by Royal Charter in 1996, we’re determined to give everyone in England the chance to benefit from sport and physical activity.

Our mission

A girls' hockey match with one girl hitting the ball as opposition players close her down.

We’re here to invest in sport and physical activity to make it a normal part of life for everyone in England, regardless of who you are.

Because it’s not always a level playing field. Right now, the opportunities to get involved in sport and activity – and reap the rewards of being active – depend too much on your background, your gender, your bank balance and your postcode.

We’re determined to tackle this and unlock the advantages of sport and physical activity for everyone.

This isn’t just about our long-standing purpose of helping more people to enjoy playing sport and being physically active. We believe that by removing existing barriers to sport and activity, we can be part of a bigger picture of work that helps to address many of society’s biggest challenges.

Uniting the Movement is our 10-year strategy for 2021-31 aiming to do just that.

Together, we can change lives for the better in every home, and in every community, right across the country.

Introducing our strategy

Find out more about how we're making our mission a reality.

Uniting the Movement

The benefits of being active

At the heart of everything we do and everything we invest in are five health, social and economic

Being active is not just good for you physically, it has the power to do so much more – it can, for example, help prevent or manage medical conditions, reduce anxiety or stress, improve a person’s confidence or self-esteem, or bring people from diverse backgrounds together.

Click the buttons above to read more about each of the five outcomes and the role sport and physical activity can play.

Who we are

We're an arms-length body of government responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and getting more people active across England.

We started out as The Sports Council, an independent body under the Department of National Heritage, that was established by Royal Charter in 1972.

In 1996 an amended Royal Charter established The English Sports Council, which came into being on 1 January 1997 as The Sports Council was reorganised into UK Sport and the home nations sports councils – we were then rebranded as Sport England in 1999.

Every Royal Charter is different and you can read ours below.

We’re working to keep movement, sport and physical activity central to the lives of everyone through a combination of National Lottery funding and grant-in-aid from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which classifies us as a non-departmental government body. Around two-thirds of our funding comes from lottery players.

In 2018-19, we invested £260 million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding into projects and programmes that support people to be physically active, with 1,575 individual awards ranging from £300 to £18 million.

What we’ve funded

Every penny we spend ties in to our vision that everyone in England should feel able to take part in sport and activity.

You can see a full list of how and where we’ve invested our money since April 2009 by clicking below.

Young girls playing netball in sports hall

How we're structured


Our Board

Our Board is appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In accordance with the Royal Charter, it consists of a Chair, a Vice Chair, and no more than 10 other members.

Meeting at least six times a year, the Board takes overall responsibility for us and our performance.

Our Board is chaired by Chris Boardman, who was appointed Chair in June 2021.

Meet our Board


Our Executive Leadership Team

Board members set direction and give our Executive Leadership Team, who are responsible for the day to day running of the organisation, support and advice.

The Executive Team is headed by Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth, who joined us in November 2018 from the British Paralympic Association.

Meet our Executive Leadership Team

Campaigns and our work

Our campaigns

We’re using insight-driven campaigns to help more people become and stay physically active.

Awarded funding


In April 2024 we launched our Movement Fund, designed to streamline the process of applying for funding from us.

The £140 million fund offers crowdfunding pledges, grants - of up to £15,000 - and resources to help projects that encourage active lifestyles and create enriching experiences for local communities.

Strategic work and partnerships

Collaboration runs through everything we do. We partner with thousands of organisations large and small in the traditional sport sector and beyond to help foster real change.

Latest news

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