The Active Through Football programme is a new project we’ve funded the Football Foundation to deliver, that works with communities in new ways that promote increased activity levels.
Last year, 50 areas across England were identified and organisations such as local authorities, county FA’s and community club organisations were invited to form consortiums with community groups to apply for up to £1 million of investment.
This summer, the 13 consortia were chosen to receive the investment aimed at increasing physical activity and tackling inequalities in their area.
Over the coming months we anticipate up to 12 more consortia being awarded, taking the total number of places we're working with to 25 - from a total pot of £15m of National Lottery funding
Here, I’m going to explain why this project is different to others and give some examples of how the key principles of the project are already being put into place.
Taking a place-based approach
Working alongside the Football Foundation, we worked hard to highlight the new place-based approach focussed on community engagement instead of generic consultation.
Consortiums were asked to focus on small areas and well-defined target audiences by engaging at a level deeper than the local statistical data and insight they already had.
We wanted to hear the story of the place and those within it and were fascinated by some of the feedback from community engagement, with one of the common themes being frustration around the roll out of short-term projects by outside agencies.
We want Active Through Football communities to design, deliver and develop activities over a five-year period, with the ultimate goal being long-term behaviour change, representing a move away from short-term projects focused purely on attendance targets.
This is a change in the way of working for many of the organisations involved and appears to be a welcomed one, with many consortiums highlighting the true partnership being championed locally and encouraging development through learning, and ultimately benefiting communities.