Sport England has announced a portfolio of investments and new funding opportunities designed to build on the 15 million sport and activity regulars to keep their habit and stay healthy.
The money, which includes specific awards to governing bodies of sport and two separate open funding programmes, will be targeted at a group known as sport’s ‘core market’ – people who have a strong affinity with sport, including talented athletes trying to reach the top.
Around one third of people (14.9 million) are currently in sport’s core market. On average, they are involved in at least two activities at any given time and being active is a big part of their lives. Sport England wants to help them keep the habit, and grow the market by reducing drop out.
Every Sport England investment follows a new customer-led approach, where the needs and wants of the player, athlete or participant come first.
Sport England’s director of sport, Phil Smith, said:
Sport England’s new strategy is very clear that to achieve the next big increase in the number of people playing sport and being active, we need to change the way we invest money and put customers at the heart of everything we do. That’s as true of sport’s core market as it is of those currently less active.
There are millions of people with a regular sporting habit, who are often the most committed and resilient. But our research tells us we can never take them for granted and that life gets in the way of exercise sometimes.
The investment we are announcing today shows our ongoing commitment to supporting those who have a close affinity with sport. We are also backing the talent programmes in these sports to find and develop the best performers.
The number of sport and exercise regulars has steadily increased in the last decade and we think there is more opportunity for growth.
26 governing bodies of sport secure £88 million in new funding deals
Nearly £88 million of National Lottery and Government funding will be invested in 26 national governing bodies of sport.
The funding, which will come into force in April 2017, follows detailed discussions with each governing body about what contribution they can make to Sport England’s new audience-led strategy.
Governing bodies connect most naturally to sport’s core market and therefore most of the funding announced today will be targeted at that group. There will be opportunities for governing bodies to bid for other open funding rounds targeting other groups in the next four years.
It’s the first wave of governing body investments to be announced, with another to be made in February 2017.
Key investments include:
The waiting list for gymnastics clubs around the country has been an issue for some years, so British Gymnastics will use Sport England funding to increase capacity through partnerships with clubs and other providers such as leisure centres so there is space for gymnasts to take part.
Creating space isn’t enough though, so they will also work to support providers to deliver high-quality gymnastics experiences for participants. They’ll also work to educate parents on the role gymnastics can play in developing coordination and control – as a foundation for other sports and physical activities.
Gymnastics is often a sport that young people enjoy but then drop out of around the age of 10 or 11. British Gymnastics will work with clubs to ensure that when young people are ready stop taking part, they are aware of opportunities for them in other sports.
Finally, British Gymnastics will continue to support gymnasts who are progressing through the talent system.
England Hockey will develop a much more flexible offer for players, including more summer sessions at times that suit people. More versions of hockey will be created for those who like hockey but can’t, or don’t want to, commit to the 11-a-side game. They will improve links between schools and clubs so that keen young players inspired by Great Britain’s Rio success are helped to continue playing. With approximately 1,000 hockey pitches but less than 10% of them owned by hockey clubs, England Hockey will focus on protecting key facilities by ensuring full agreements are in place between clubs and pitch owners. Finally, England Hockey will continue to support players who are progressing through the talent system.
Cycling is one of the country’s most popular sports, with 6.2 million taking part at least once a month throughout the year.
A key element of British Cycling’s (BC) plan is to use cycling to help create active, healthy and sustainable places to live across the country. Through their Sport England and HSBC UK partnership, they will encourage large numbers to participate in programmes such as traffic-free cycling festivals, a national campaign encouraging families to cycle together, and the continuation of Breeze, Ride Social and Ride Local programmes.
For regular cycling lovers, British Cycling is going to continue to improve the quality and safety of events it delivers by supporting volunteers and the club workforce.
Finally, BC will continue to support cyclists who are progressing through the talent system through its Go-Ride programme and network of clubs and volunteers.
Badminton England (BE) is going to focus on creating more court time for customers, working with operators and providers to make it easier for people to book a court. This will include priority booking, discounts and improving the customer experience for regular players.
They’ll also build on their successful ‘Smash Up’ programme by creating 60 new junior clubs and a network of clubs linked to schools – so that keen young players, especially girls and disabled players, have clearer options to continue taking part.
Finally, BE will create a greater variety of high-quality competition opportunities, including more social tournaments. BE’s work on the Badminton 4 Macmillan programme has shown that the right kind of competition can act as a great first taste or reintroduction to playing for many people.
Linked to Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is going to develop a range of flexible, welcoming and fun cricket formats for women and girls trying the game for the first time. They’ll also focus their attention on getting more people from south Asian communities playing, a major area for potential growth.
With insight showing young people increasingly preferring quicker and more exciting 20-over cricket, more opportunities will be created throughout the country.
The ECB’s successful ‘Get the Game On’ programme will be extended to additional 100 leagues, preventing matches being cancelled unnecessarily.
Finally, the ECB will continue to support cricketers who are progressing through the talent system, with an increased focus on supporting women and girls.
The ASA will broaden the system that supports talented para-swimmers, so that more budding Ollie Hynds and Hannah Russells can work towards fulfilling their potential. A new foundation level will be introduced to the talent system and will include nine year olds and upwards. There will also be a new junior development level (11-13 years) and a development level (14-16 years). All swimmers on the programme will receive visits to their home club and will have access to a number of training camps.
Phil Smith said:
I want to thank all the governing bodies we’ve worked with to agree solid plans. These investments allow governing bodies to reach the customers they know best, and provide them with their regular sport in the way they want it. These are investments in clubs, in coaches, in matches and in competitions – the ‘core market’ of sport – and to keep English sport at the top of the world. There’s also some real innovation in here, as sport keeps pace with consumer demand.
Alison Howard, CEO of Rounders England said:
We welcome the continued investment in Rounders by Sport England, and will focus our efforts around supporting the needs of Rounders players and volunteers, including developing new membership offers and competition programmes. We will also pilot a programme aimed at inactive people, with a view to extending this work in the future and actively explore new revenue streams.
£3 million to help sports bid for major events and create legacy
Sport England has today launched two open funding programmes to help governing bodies bid to host major events and get more people involved in their sports off the back of them.
Since London 2012, England has played host to over 40 major sporting events. This has included events such as the European Swimming Championships and the Track Cycling World Championships, and in 2017 England will be playing host to the IAAF Athletics World Championships for the first time. Over £35m of National Lottery support, through UK Sport, has gone into winning these bids.
As a result, Sport England has committed that, over the next four years, it will continue to work with UK Sport, DCMS and the governing bodies that host these events to ensure we continue to think creatively about how we maximise these events for greater return.
£1 million is available to prospective hosts to help them develop their bids to bring the best of their sport to England and a further £2 million is available to engage a much broader range of people in and around major sporting events.