The “wider social outcomes and positive change” that sport can help to generate must become a “strong focus” for the Government, says the Chair of the Sport for Development Coalition.
Former MP Andy Reed was responding to a report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee last week entitled ‘Sport in Our Communities’.
Published following the Committee’s inquiry earlier this summer, amongst various recommendations the report calls on the Government to launch a nationwide campaign to get children more active in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andy welcomed the report but called for a greater focus on how sport and physical activity groups and organisations could be supporting, and benefitting from major ‘non-sport’ Government funds such as the £4.8billion ‘Levelling Up Fund’ which is aimed at strengthening communities and bolstering local economies, and the proposed £1.5billion Shared Prosperity Fund, which will build on the £220million ‘Community Renewal Fund’ focused on growing local economies, and breathing new life into our communities.
The Chair told sportfordevelopmentcoalition.org: “We welcome the Committee’s report and recommendations, especially around enhancing participation for under-represented groups and targeted funding focused on addressing inequalities.
“Alongside these recommendations, we would urge Government to ensure a strong focus on the contribution that sport in our communities can make to wider social outcomes and positive change.
“This approach will maximise the contribution of community sport to the Government’s plans to level up and build back better after Covid-19, build on the foundation set in the Government’s Sporting Future strategy and help deliver the ambition of Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy ‘to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity’.”
The Coalition is a growing group of more than 200 charities and organisations working to maximise the positive social impact of sport and physical activity.
Andy added: “The Coalition is a wide network of charities, community groups and voluntary organisations within – but also outside – the traditional community sport structures. Collectively it has a singular focus on delivering positive social outcomes using sport and physical activity.
“Investing in organisations focused on delivering social change and tackling inequalities through sport has also been shown to have the potential to unlock investment from other sectors into community sport, which will be a critical need for the sector to recover and reinvent after Covid-19.”
The Coalition is calling for more sport for development organisations to join the movement and sign up to its Charter.
More specifically, it is seeking more signatories for its sector-wide shared measurement programme, and – as part of its latest policy initiative on sport and employability – calling on organisations to submit case studies, learnings and evidence by September 19th.