What do we want to achieve?

We want to invest in projects that provide quality volunteering opportunities and offer individuals engaging, rewarding and enjoyable experiences

Of course what this looks like will vary from person to person, so we’re looking for projects that will provide people with opportunities which consider their individual needs and ensure they have the right support to get the most from the experience.

We also want projects to demonstrate a positive impact on the wider community. That might mean anything from cleaner parks and river banks, to improved community relations or reduced stigma around ex-offenders.

To be eligible for the funds, your project will need to demonstrate that it can have a double benefit, for individuals and for the wider community. Specifically, it should contribute to improving:

  • Mental wellbeing and/or individual development
  • Social and community development.

For more on what these definitions mean, see the government’s Sporting Future document and our own Towards an Active Nation strategy.

Pathways and progression

Meaningful volunteering and social action takes time – and the benefits to individuals and communities are unlikely to be achieved through one-off opportunities.

We’re keen to invest in projects which have clear plans to set people on a volunteering journey, with opportunities to grow and progress. This might mean, for instance, working towards a qualification or certificate, a new volunteering role with more responsibility, or gaining enough experience to transition into employment.

However, we know it’s important to be flexible – we don’t want you to put off potential new volunteers by requiring too much commitment too soon. Your focus could simply be on getting first-time volunteers to come back again – and again.

You will need to demonstrate that you have considered what progress looks like, and why it is appropriate for your audience.

Learn what works

To unleash the full potential of volunteering in sport and physical activity, we want to learn more about how to engage people from different backgrounds – and how to keep them involved to achieve real, long-term results. We want to learn what approaches work and why and we are prepared to try out new ideas, even if they turn out to be less successful.

There’s any number of potential learning opportunities. Maybe you’re planning an unusual partnership, or want to test ways of using new technology to get young people engaged in social action. Perhaps your organisation has never had any connection with sport or physical activity before, but has something different to offer. Whatever your ideas, we’re keen to find out what we can discover together.

Replicate and scale

Learning what works also means finding projects that have the potential to be replicated or delivered on a larger scale. That could mean exploring how a tried and tested approach can be adapted for different audiences or introduced to a new community. Or it could be testing whether a successful model used in a different sector, like performing arts or conservation, could be replicated in an active setting.

We’re looking to strike a balance between investing in existing, proven ways of delivery and finding new and innovative ideas. Our aim is to find solutions capable of delivering game-changing results. While sport and physical activity should be involved, it doesn’t have to be the sole focus. Simply put, we’re looking for brilliant ideas.