I’d also like to highlight a very significant and ambitious piece of work with UK Sport and the sports councils of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It involves two complementary pieces of work - the first research bringing together existing data on race and ethnicity in sport to identify gaps and make recommendations on where action is most needed.
The second is a concerted, honest attempt to hear from those most impacted, and understand the lived experiences of racial inequalities and racism in sport by offering people a safe space to tell their stories.
Both strands are nearing completion and I look forward to sharing the outcomes in the coming months.
It’s not just racial inequality that we must address, however, it’s all inequality.
Over the past six years, our groundbreaking This Girl Can campaign has helped women of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds to tackle the emotional barriers that can stop them exercising.
We’re also continuing our work to address the inequalities faced by disabled people, including developing partnerships with a wide variety of organisations who can help us address these issues, whether that is working with Mencap to deliver the Round the World Challenge or supporting ukactive to make the leisure sector more inclusive and accessible.
To tackle these inequalities, we must ensure that we continue to be innovative, adapt and shape our approach in light of challenges we face and most importantly, listen to those who experience it and trust those closest to it.
Our Tackling Inequalities Fund - which forms part of our wider £271.5 million support package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis – epitomises just that approach.
The fund was created directly to reduce the negative impact of coronavirus and the widening of the stubborn and worrying inequalities in sport and physical activity that were present before it struck.
We’ve used £20m of National Lottery money to invest in trusted partner organisations to help us to get closer to communities and reach those previously unserved by more traditional delivery structures.
We’re also focused right now on creating opportunity. Our fantastic emerging partnership with the University of East London is focused on supporting the development of talented athletes from ethnically diverse backgrounds who might previously have been excluded from sports’ pathways.
I’m also delighted we're supporting Surrey County Cricket Club’s ACE Programme that is geared to getting more young people from Afro-Caribbean communities into cricket. If you haven’t seen ACE’s recently released video of their work, you can check it out here – it’s brilliant.
Those two examples demonstrate how we’re looking to work with as many groups as possible to solve these problems. We know we can’t do it on our own. We will work with networks, partners and communities across the country to bring real change.
Our mission must be to enable everyone – regardless of their circumstances – to benefit and that to achieve that we need to overcome the stubborn inequalities that have prevented such opportunity for too many.
We’re determined our strategy will be above all a revolution of the how – how we engage, how we invest, how we collaborate.
Tackling the inequalities, from the pitch to the boardroom, will not be a swift or easy task.
But though we will not solve all the issues that underpin these inequalities overnight, we are determined to not just play our part. but lead the charge.