How to apply

Following an incredibly positive response, we know that many places across the country are seriously considering applying to be one of our local delivery pilots

The selection of the places we choose as pilots will be an extremely competitive process. In order to help you decide if this opportunity makes sense for you or your partners, please ensure that you have read all of the web pages which explain the outcomes we are looking for and what we require.

This opportunity is very different to how we have invested previously. We want to:

  • Understand how we can use local identities and structures to deliver sustainable increases in activity levels across the country
  • Test whether taking a behaviour change approach in a place can make this happen
  • Focus on closing the gap in whatever inequalities are most persistent in a place
  • Understand how we can empower local communities to tackle this themselves.

We need places that can create a compelling case that they understand what we are trying to achieve and demonstrate how they could be effective partners with us. 

How to apply

In order to become one of our local delivery pilots, we require any interested place to submit an expression of interest form by 5pm on 31 March 2017. We also expect at least one person from that place to have attended one of the workshops which took place during February and March.

Download the expression of interest form

The expression of interest form contains a series of short questions grouped around five aspects of the selection criteria. This is defined as Stage One. This first stage is designed to be simpler and less time-consuming than developing a full funding application. It allows us to see an outline of your proposal and the thinking behind it. 

There is an overall word limit for any completed expression of interest form of 10,000 words. This limit is designed to allow you to answer all of the questions with sufficient detail.

Based on your feedback, it will give you flexibility to answer some of the questions in more detail where you wish. Most word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, contain a word count option, which will allow you to keep track of your word usage as you develop your answers.

Also in the interests of fairness, we will not consider any additional documents such as strategies, research or letters of support at Stage One. These will be important  but only if you get to the next stage of the selection process. We will only consider the completed expression of interest form and a map clearly indicating the boundaries of your chosen place.


At this stage, we will assess applicants against five aspects of the selection criteria: 

  • Your Place – we want to understand the story of your place. You must have a strong and robust definition of your place and why that definition makes sense. We want you to have an excellent understanding of the most important issues in your place that are relevant to this pilot programme.
  • Audience – we want to know who you are trying to influence and change through your pilot. You must have a good understanding of the people you wish to focus on in your pilot and how you can influence them to change their behaviour. Equally, we are keen to understand what you don’t know but would like to explore through this pilot programme.  
  • Leadership – we know that any successful pilot will require strong and clear leadership. We need to know that this is something you can provide for your pilot. We need to understand how this will fit with other leaders in your place. We also want you to be clear and honest about the challenges you will need to overcome.
  • Outcomes – we expect you to be clear about what you wish to achieve from your pilot and that this should be significant and transformational. We would like to know why these outcomes are of importance to you, your partners and why they will interest us. We also want to know more about your understanding of what transformational change will be required to deliver these outcomes.
  • Learning – this pilot programme is all about enhancing knowledge and understanding through testing concepts and ideas. We need you to tell us what you think we could test in your pilot. We need to be assured that your place is comfortable working in an experimental manner (and the scrutiny this will bring) and that you are committed to effective and timely sharing of any learning including about what hasn’t worked.

You will also be given an opportunity to summarise your case as to why your place should be chosen as a pilot.

In deciding which applications to take forward, we will look at the overall strengths and weaknesses of each submission. We are aware that there are likely to be many submissions which provide a compelling case against all five criteria. This means there are other aspects which will inform our final decisions, so we can ensure there is maximum value from the whole local delivery pilot programme. These aspects are:  

  • The need for a mix of different types, scale and location of places
  • A mix of different approaches so we are testing different variables
  • Ensuring the programme as a whole sufficiently reflects our wider key investment priorities around tackling inactivity and targeting under-represented groups.

How will my application be assessed?

The assessment process begins with the workshop where you will learn more about our approach and what we are seeking to do. The workshop is primarily for you to learn more about the programme and understand how or if you wish to apply. It is also an opportunity for us to understand your initial thinking and approach. You will be asked to reflect on the workshop learning in completing your expression of interest form. 

The content of the expression of interest form is the principal way in which we will select those we want to become our pilots. We will assess your submission against the five criteria outlined above which are also clearly indicated on the form.

Once your completed expression of interest form is submitted we will also obtain intelligence that will allow us to check and verify the content of your submission. It will also allow us to understand any other relevant factors to help us reach a final decision.

What happens when the decisions have been made at stage one?

We are aware that there is strong interest in becoming a local delivery pilot from places across England. While we welcome this demand, we are conscious that we'll only be able to take forward a small number of places as part of this funding opportunity. This means it is likely that many good submissions will be unsuccessful. 

If your expression of interest submission is successful at stage one, we will need to develop your submission further. This development is the focus for stage two. At this stage, a range of Sport England colleagues will work closely with you to scope out the detail of your pilot including potential investment ranges. Once this scoping phase has successfully concluded you will then be formally invited to apply for funding.

stage two will be completed when a formal funding application is submitted. The length of time to complete stage two will vary between each place and we will discuss an indicative timetable with you.

Please note that even if your expression of interest submission is successful at stage one, there is no guarantee of ultimately receiving funding from us. In order to receive funding, you will have to be successful at Stage Two. 

If your expression of interest is unsuccessful we will let you know in writing within eight weeks of the closing date. All places which are unsuccessful will be asked if they would like to remain in communication with us to receive updates on the learning emerging from the pilot areas.

We are also aware that many places that have shown an interest in this opportunity will not ultimately submit an expression of interest form. We will also seek to ensure any learning is also communicated to those places and individuals.