Around 600 Black, Asian and minority ethnic people will be given the opportunity to tell their story of racial inequality in sport as the five UK sports councils begin their lived experiences audit.
In September we announced that we, along with UK Sport, sportscotland, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland were joining forces to tackle racism and racial inequalities across their nations.
The aim was to develop a collective plan to help build a sporting community that’s reflective of the societies they represent. And part of that announcement was a commitment to making a safe space for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people to recount their experiences of racial inequality.
The alliance of sports councils has now appointed AKD Solutions to create a lived experiences opportunity and launched the #TellYourStory campaign, asking people to share their knowledge and understanding of accessing, being involved in, or being excluded from sport.
The Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University has also been appointed to bring together existing data on race and ethnicity in sport, to identify gaps within these records and gain greater insight into participation and progression barriers.
Both pieces of work will make clear recommendations for change that the sports councils can then take forward.
“No matter what your background, you should always feel able to take part, to feel welcome and to feel safe in sport at any level,” said Tim Hollingsworth, our chief executive.
“But for too long, deep-rooted issues have led to racial inequalities and racism going unchecked and the voices of those who have been most affected have been silenced or ignored.
“This is finally changing and part of our work as the leaders of the UK's five sports councils is to be part of that change and to gather a clear picture of where we are today and to fully understand what people have experienced.
“This project is an important next step and I am delighted we are taking it.”
Through the #TellYourStory campaign, 600 personal stories will be collected via virtual forums and stories submitted to the campaign's website - either in written, audio or video form.
For too long, deep-rooted issues have led to racial inequalities and racism going unchecked and the voices of those who have been most affected have been silenced or ignored
Chief executive, Sport England
These opportunities will allow BAME people to speak frankly about their experiences, including historical and present-day issues, in a safe environment and without criticism or prejudice.
It's a move welcomed by UK Sport chief executive officer Sally Munday.
“Creating the opportunity to hear lived experiences is a much needed and fundamental step in doing everything we can to stamp out racism and build a sporting community that truly reflects the diversity of our society,” she said.
“We’re offering the platform for necessary changes to be made to ensure the sport we all know and love is truly inclusive.
“The campaign offers a safe space for those we need to hear from most to be open and honest and through this we will be presented with clear learnings and recommendations for change.
“The outcomes of the #TellYourStory campaign and the work undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University will allow us to be in a place to better understand and engage on the issues of racism and racial inequality that exist in our sector and act as a result.
“We recognise that while individually each sports council has sought to tackle the issue, it has not gone far enough or been done collectively. Working in partnership as sports councils, we are determined to take the lead and drive the change we want to see.”
The data study undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University will focus on the workforce in sport, from volunteers to the paid workforce and senior leadership, as well as participants in sport – from grassroots to talent and high-performance.
Both pieces of work are expected to be completed by March, after which they’ll be consolidated to produce a final report and a roadmap for action as part of the Tackling Racism & Racial Inequality in Sport initiative.