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Implementation plan: Year 1 (2021-22)

A coach in front of a group of women standing in front of footballs on a pitch.

Uniting the Movement, which we published in January 2021, is our 10-year strategy to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.

We need to now build strong foundations to help make this vision a reality.

This implementation plan outlines the work we’ll do to the end of March 2022 to deliver Uniting the Movement, in what will be a year of transition.

To support this work, we’ve developed a set of goals – these are the things we’ll focus on this year and work on collaboratively with partners.

They balance the continuing need to be responsive to the short-term challenges of Covid-19, with the need to be proactive so we can meet the ambitions we’ve set out in our strategy.

Scroll down this page to read about these goals.

Our longer-term strategy implementation plan for 2022-25 will be published later in 2021, when we expect to know more about the impact of Covid-19 and the picture as restrictions ease.

This will be the first of our longer-term implementation plans. Each will be regularly reviewed and where necessary refined, meaning we can highlight our collective achievements, as well as adapt if and when things change.

This page is all about our year 1 strategy implementation plan - keep reading, or go to our main strategy page.

Uniting the Movement

Our goals for this year

The goals we’ve developed for this first year of implementing Uniting the Movement will support us to move from our previous strategy, Towards an Active Nation, through our response to the impact of Covid-19, and on to the changes we want to see with Uniting the Movement. Each goal has a part to play in helping us further the ambitions within the big issues and catalysts.

The specific work within each has been informed by the views of partners and stakeholders who’ve taken part in our extensive online consultation.

They give a clear framework for the delivery of our work and clarity on where our time, effort and resources will be directed, while recognising the significant overlap and
interdependencies across each area.

They’ll also help those who we work with, and want to work with in the future, begin to understand where there’ll be opportunities for working more closely together.

Our four goals for this year are:

An icon illustrating our 'respond' goals


Help the population to keep moving and support the right partners to deliver safely and effectively during Covid-19 restrictions.

Read about our 'respond' goal
An icon illustrating our 'transform' goal


Continue to change our way of working to be consistent with Uniting the Movement, with a primary focus on cultural change and leadership.

Read about our 'transform' goal
An icon illustrating our 'plan' goal


Create a plan for the implementation of Uniting the Movement to 2025 and lay the foundations in this first year.

Read about our 'plan' goal
An icon illustrating our 'transition' goal


Review, manage and evaluate existing business commitments, functions and responsibilities to further allow the delivery of Uniting the Movement.

Read about our 'transition' goal

Progressing the big issues

At the heart of our strategy are five big issues that we collectively need to address. This is how each big issue will be progressed this year:

Recover and reinvent

Recovering from the biggest crisis in a generation and reinventing as a vibrant, relevant and sustainable network of organisations providing sport and physical activity opportunities that meet the needs of different people.

This year, we'll...

respond to the current picture by supporting the network that provides organised sport and physical activity opportunities, to help ensure people can recover habits and return to what they enjoy. We’ll also use the disruption of Covid-19 to lay the foundations for a more relevant, sustainable and inclusive future for organised sport and activity.

Connecting communities

Focusing on sport and physical activity’s ability to make better places to live and bring people together.

This year, we'll...

work with our local delivery partners to support the recovery of activity, creating a more connected approach to tackle inequalities and help communities thrive. We’ll join up our investments in the places we’re already working intensely and build a plan for extending our place-based work, working with our local delivery pilots. We’ll build a shared vision for expanding our local leadership programme, and for supporting the nationwide network of clubs and community groups that provide the foundations of sport and activity.

Connecting with health and wellbeing

Strengthening the connections between sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing, so more people can feel the benefits of, and advocate for, an active life.

This year, we'll...

we’ll lay the foundations to further strengthen the connections between sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing by continuing to develop important relationships with decision-makers, experts and influential parties, and will work with partners and colleagues to understand the challenges and opportunities in more detail. We’ll also progress our work with social prescribing and the Moving Healthcare Professionals programme, which supports healthcare professionals to promote physical activity.

Active environments

Creating and protecting the places and spaces that make it easier for people to be active.

This year, we'll...

focus on supporting community sports facilities through their Covid-19 recovery, while also maximising outdoor opportunities to be active through partners such as the National Trust, Forestry England and the Canal & River Trust. We’ll also build the blocks needed to support wider active environments work in the longer term, i.e. strengthening our relationships with cross-sector strategic partners.

Positive experiences for children and young people

Unrelenting focus on positive experiences for all children and young people as the foundations for a long and healthy life.

This year, we'll

help children and young people recover and return to the activities they love, have missed or have taken up and want to continue. We’re supporting schools with the return of school sport in the summer term, reactivating club-based and structured activities, as well as providing non-traditional PE lessons for girls with our Studio You digital library. We’ll also lay the foundations for future work by developing a greater understanding of what it takes to encourage certain groups of children and young people to be more active, through our Active Lives Children and Young People Survey and further research.

Income and commitments

We’re so much more than a funder, but distributing government and National Lottery good cause money remains an important part of our role.

Our investment will be a key element in helping us to deliver the goals set out in this plan, along with the vision and mission set out in Uniting the Movement. 


We expect to receive £117 million from the government this year – for a mixture of revenue funding (to support things like the School Games, or fund many of the talent programmes we support) and capital funding (building and improving sports facilities).

In addition to this money from the government, we expect to receive a further £219m from the National Lottery this year, which supports a huge variety of projects and programmes, including much of our work in response to Covid-19.

This means our total income for 2021-22 has been budgeted at £336m.


While we expect to receive £336m this year, we’re planning to commit a total of £531m. This difference is mainly due to having to account for the whole of a commitment in the
year that commitment is made, even if it stretches over a number of years.

These commitments will include:

  • £50m towards Covid-19 recovery, building on the £220m we invested in 2020-21
  • £43m to the Football Foundation for their work building and upgrading football and multi-sport facilities across the country
  • £18m to support talent development and talent inclusion.

Many of the other areas set out within this plan will also involve commitments made, as they continue to develop and we work with partners to explore new opportunities to invest our money.

The table below shows how we currently expect our Exchequer and National Lottery income will be committed.

Commitment 2021-22  Budget
Exchequer revenue awards £40m
Exchequer capital awards £56m
Lottery awards £388m
Non-cash grants £3m
Staff costs £19m
Sports development £10m
Administration £8m
National centres £5m
Core capital £2m
Total £531m


Accessible versions

Our strategy is available in a variety of formats. You can listen to an audio recording, watch it in British Sign Language and order a copy in Braille.

Alternative formats

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