Let’s spread the word about the great impact that sport can have on our communities

It’s time for people and bodies involved with what is known as ‘Sport for Development’ (SfD’) started blowing their trumpets better and louder. Tell your stories of how you are helping people and communities to grow.

6th April (Easter Monday) has been designated as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace #sport4betterworld. Please get involved.

The majority of organisations working in SfD in the UK have stronger alliances with the sports sectors and weaker links with non-sports bodies and funders within health, education and social development.  We need to improve the way we communicate and engage if SfD is to grow and make a bigger impact.

There are thousands of individuals, groups and organisations across the UK who are delivering SfD.  Using sport as a hook to engage young people, these groups can affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged people in a positive way. How does this sector capture those sport programs for Social Change or projects providing Sport for Good, operating in a funding landscape supporting sport for participation?  The Sector must work together in the UK to start to identify the key priorities, so it can continue to grow and thrive at a time when many groups, not part of any structure or supported by any umbrella organisation, are facing a struggle for funding and support.

There are already considerable opportunities for community sport and physical activity to have a major impact on the local economy, physical and mental health, training and education, social cohesion, crime and social behaviour, and all in all, help build stronger communities.

Sport and physical activity cuts across race, ethnicity and territorial boundaries, and often coaches can act as role models and mentors to young people and change their lives in different contexts.

There is a considerable change in the way that our public services are being funded and delivered. There seems to be even bigger scope for community sport and physical activity to create positive social change and be used as a tool to engage disadvantaged people and communities and to help improve lives in a sustainable way.

In SMN’s experience, many people within our sports bodies see their main role as growing sports participation and therefore often regard SfD as an irrelevant distraction. To those people, I say: Please note how many, previously inactive, people have become engaged in sport through initiatives within their communities, on their doorsteps, in their housing estates, etc. The traditional role of sport bodies can hinder partnership while community focussed programmes can be more innovative in their style.

Also, many stakeholders outside sport and physical activity are not convinced of their universal claims and are often reluctant to commit to supporting sport, financially or otherwise, without clear evidence, based on their own criteria. So, these providers need to be able to build up a robust evidence base demonstrating the power of sport as an instrument of social change in order to attract funding for their work.

Successful sports providers work in partnership with local authorities and public bodies, local businesses, likeminded social enterprises – and with some pots of funding – they have been able to make a sizeable impact on communities, helping to address social issues such as anti-social behaviour, poor physical and mental health, unemployment and poor educational attainment.

So, whether you are a small community group delivering great benefits to your local community through sport or a national charity now is the time to tell your stories and demonstrate the impact of what you do. Improve enterprise skills

Tell your stories. demonstrate your impact:

Two steps:

1. Send your stories to us: svend@smnuk.com

Sports Marketing Network and Sport Enterprise Connections are fully behind this great initiative. We will be publishing stories, daily over the next week. Linking up to websites, Facebook pages, etc.

2.         Join the Scots on 6th April

 The 120 odd members of SENScot senscot.net Sport SEN Members use sport to change the lives of people of all ages in communities across Scotland.  Busy as these organisations are, and with that Scottish tendency not to blow their own trumpet, this great work often goes un-noticed.

They’re planning to change all that on April 6th, when the Sport SEN will be taking over Senscot’s social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) as part of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) – we hope you can join us #sport4betterworld

SENScot will be engaging media outlets across Scotland, the UK, and the world in order to draw attention to the sector and the success stories that are going on throughout the network. IDSDP has been made official by the United Nations and is being managed by the sportanddev.org Sport for Development Platform.

So, please join in and let’s raise the profile of the massive impact sport can have. Let’s become more enterprising and build sustainable business models, to secure our work. Let’s share best practice and experiences. I look forward to hearing from you and to see your tweets and messages social media.  

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