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What we'll do: Meeting people where they're at

What we'll do now

Expanding our place partnerships

In order to focus our investment and resources on the communities that need it most, we’ll significantly increase the number of places across England that we partner with and invest in, building the movement from the ground up by working with organisations and communities to understand the issues and barriers facing people to get active, and working together to develop local solutions.

We’ll draw on everything we’ve learnt, and will continue to learn, from our existing local delivery pilots, work done or led by Active Partnerships, our Together Fund and other place-based work – like our Strategic Facilities Fund and We Are Undefeatable activation areas – as we expand our network of place-based partnerships.

All of this will help us find places where we have a shared vision or purpose, with data and insight helping us to form partnerships with places that have the strongest connections to our big issues and support our fundamental aim of tackling inequalities and using sport and physical activity to level up communities and create a fairer society.

Two women walking arm in arm.

This will be a collaborative and transparent process, with an understanding that each place is different, and will therefore have different needs.

We’ll work with a consortium of partners in each place, supporting the development and practical application of skills, capabilities and collaborations within these networks of people – for example in leadership approaches or innovation and digital skills – and facilitate connections within places, for example connecting talent pathways.

We’ll also channel capital investment into local facilities, community assets and places and spaces to help more people get and be active.

As we take actions together, we’ll find new and better ways of sharing data and insight that’ll help identify opportunities, unearth what does and doesn’t work and why, and build a continuously developing culture of learning and sharing.

These learnings will inform our other work packages, such as our campaigning and our focus on advocacy.

By empowering places and people and arming them with the resources they need, alongside diverse leadership networks that are at the centre of their communities, we can, together, make sustainable change happen.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

We’ve built on what we’ve learned from our local delivery pilots and other place-based work to make the most of the opportunities the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham present.

We’re focusing this work on tackling inequalities through the lens of equality, diversity and inclusion.
This work, supported by more than £30m of investment, includes:

  • A £3m Creating Active Communities programme, which runs across four areas of the West Midlands with the greatest levels of inactivity and health inequalities, working in collaboration with place leaders and communities to use different types of interventions to support people into activity
  • A £3.5m Places and Spaces programme, which will support community clubs and organisations to strengthen their fundraising capability though crowdfunding, and invest into small-scale capital projects across the West Midlands
  • Working closely with Commonwealth Games sports to focus on how they can work together to make the most of the Games to tackle inequality in participation in their sports
  • Working with these sports to identify opportunities to develop innovation in how they reach, support and connect people into regularly being active – for example via digital marketing
  • A further £4m investment into the School Games - including £2m for the 2022 National Finals - using Birmingham 2022 to connect to more young people
  • Investing in and supporting the Team England Futures programme, designed to inspire, engage and prepare around 800 high-potential athletes and their support teams for a career in high performance sport via education, mentoring and development, plus a ‘behind the scenes’ taste of the Games
  • Investing into both the aquatics and mountain bike sites, alongside investment into a range of supporting infrastructure that will provide community access post-Games.

Data and research on inequalities

We’ll collaborate with a more diverse set of partners to further identify, quantify and illuminate the inequalities that exist in sport and physical activity, and people’s own experiences.

This will help us build a shared understanding of where and why these inequalities exist – for example, developing a stronger picture of how representative the sport and physical activity workforce is and the barriers that exist – and support others to put the learning into action to help tackle them.

It’ll add to key work already done, including the 2020 ‘Sport for all’ report and the publication in June 2021 of two reports as part of the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport Review, which identified gaps and common themes alongside recommendations.

We’ll then share everything we learn in the new resource hub we’ll develop, so it’s easy to access and use.

What we'll do next

New long-term strategic partnerships

We’ll reach out to organisations and networks that can help us to meet people where they’re at, forming new long-term strategic partnerships.

Our approach to forming these partnerships will be to identify organisations who have trust, credibility and connections with the people we’re trying to reach.

These organisations may not yet be fully utilising physical activity, but they could be supported, through collaboration, to use, invest in, advocate for and promote sport and physical activity or work with sport and physical activity providers.

This could particularly help us connect with people and communities who may not all live in a single place or may not identify with a place, but come together through online communities and networks – for example, some disabled people now connect more online than in person because of Covid-19.

Building on our campaigning

We’ll build on the resources available from our This Girl Can campaign and We Are Undefeatable, developed in partnership with 16 health and social care charities, while building on what we’ve achieved and learned through our Join the Movement campaign – so partners can use them to meet their needs and those of their audiences, with relevant refreshed assets and more flexibility in how they can be used.

As well as new waves of these campaigns, we’ll also look at the potential for a new campaign that tackles attitudinal or emotional barriers for a specific audience or issue, if the insight tells us it’s needed.

Storytelling and framing the narrative on inequalities

As the inequalities in people’s opportunities to be active widen, we need to lead and frame the narrative about why change is vital, who that change will help and the impact it’ll have.

We want to increase awareness of the inequalities in sport and physical activity, and increase the urgency, understanding and empathy of the realities of these inequalities among our partners and beyond.

We’ll do this by using our communications to set the tone and language – using plain English and terminology that’s true to how people talk about themselves.

And we’ll share stories – and help our partners share stories – that humanise data and evidence on inequalities and inspire change.

We’ll work with partners and people with lived experience to bring to life people’s everyday realities in a way that shifts perspectives, and in a way that doesn’t reinforce harmful stereotypes.

What we'll do later

Connecting and supporting grassroots organisers

We know many local clubs, groups and organisations want to make a difference in their communities through sport and physical activity and would benefit from connecting with others in their area to share equipment, skills, knowledge, time, facilities and resources – we want to make this kind of collaboration a reality.

To do this, we’ll work with local and national partners to prototype different approaches that can be scaled up if they work and are of real value, so organisations and organisers can develop local skills, assets and capacity, helping them build valuable relationships and grow.

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