Top down or bottom up – which way forward for sports development and enterprise?

There seems to be schools of thought how to grow sports participation. One model (top down) is that ‘the top’ develops the programmes and develops the templates, sets up some funding mechanisms and providers can then apply for funding to run those programmes where they are.

The other model (bottom up) involves local people developing their own initiatives, getting them off the ground, often with little or no involvement from ‘the top.’

The sad thing is that ‘the top’ rarely are rarely aware of the enterprising things that are happening as a result local community enterprise. As a result the many success stories that are happening locally are not replicated across the country.

Sport could learn a thing, or two, from the hospice movement. They have a great blend of top-down and bottom where they share success stories from different hospices. Hence why there are dozens Midnight Walks across the UK run by local hospices, engaging their communities and generating income. The one in Harrogate attracts 2,500 people and raises £150.000!

They have started running local fund raising Doggie Walks which are started to spread around the country. They are called ‘Bark in the Park’!

If only our community sport could the ‘bottom’ closer to the ‘top’ and vice versa.

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