ConnectSport has smashed its target to secure 50 words of support from at least 50 organisations within 10 weeks of its 10th anniversary.
Everton in the Community became the 56th organisation to make its pledge this week when Michael Salla, Director of Health and Sport, declared: “Everton in the Community appreciate the importance of sport and physical activity with tackling various social challenges and improving health outcomes.
“Having the platform of ConnectSport allows this impact and key learnings to be disseminated effectively to various target audiences, which is so important.”
Other key organisations to add their support since the 50/50 initiative was launched on April 4th include national charities such as Comic Relief, Unicef UK and StreetGames, as well as football and rugby club foundations and local charities embedded in their communities.
Liz Twyford, Sports Programmes Specialist at UK National Committee for Unicef, commented: "ConnectSport is a really valuable resource for the sector in the UK. Not only does it help us stay on top of the latest developments in sport for development, it also champions key issues and helps us get our message to a wider audience."
"ConnectSport has grown to be more than just the voice of the sport for development sector,” said Olu Alake, Strategic Grants Lead for London Marathon Charitable Trust. “It has become a source of information and inspiration, as well as a hub for collaboration that has helped us get a better understanding of need and how to address this in exciting, impactful ways.”
Local charities and community-based organisations have praised the platform for championing projects and programmes at both national and local level over the years, especially those from under-represented and under-served groups and communities.
Hasna Kahlalech, founder of Step Up 2 Fitness, said: “As a 100% ethnically diverse and women and girls-led grassroots organisation, we feel ConnectSport truly captures inclusivity in sport. The newsletter is always packed with fascinating stories of grassroots organisations which are facing huge challenges whom would not have a platform to share their stories without their incredible work.”
"ConnectSport has been our megaphone, amplifying our voice,” said Namrah Shahid, founder of Hijabi Runners in Leeds. “Ever since working with ConnectSport I have seen our publicity grow as more people have reached out and are engaging with us. ConnectSport has helped build our network and now we're flourishing thanks to them. They care about small sports groups like us who are trying our utmost to make a difference with regards to diversity and representation and they strive to highlight, celebrate and empower our achievements."
George Turner, co-founder of Carney’s Community in south London, said: "We have found ConnectSport plays an incredibly important role in not only promoting and encouraging the great work that is done by countless organisations, but most importantly to challenge the negative stories that seem to saturate current society (especially when talking about youths). In their reporting of organisations and individuals achievements (often against the odds) they help to inspire others to create more opportunities for people to develop the transferable skills and confidence that is central to the world of sport.”
"Sport is inherently competitive and that doesn't always lend itself to collaboration,” said Lindsey MacDonald, Managing Director at the national employability charity Street League. “ConnectSport plays a vital role in bringing sport for development organisations together to achieve greater social impact."
ConnectSport has been showcasing and serving the sport for development sector since 2011 but was hit hard by the loss of sponsorship and income during the Covid-19 pandemic and is now seeking support to sustain and grow the platform. More than 400 organisations have signed up to our free-to-join directory.
“We have got exciting plans for more video content, jobs and events pages, competitions and compelling campaigns to help unite the sector, share best practice and transfer knowledge,” explained founder Simon Lansley.
“We had to put those plans on hold due to lack of capacity but in late 2020 we still managed to launch our ‘sport for development journalism’ project in partnership with three Universities, which means we have up-and-coming reporters – including many from diverse backgrounds – writing features and filming videos for ConnectSport as part of their training and development.
“Most importantly, this means we can tell more stories about your amazing work.”
Find out how your organisation could benefit from partnering with ConnectSport. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.