The Social Value of Sport / How to engage with hard to reach groups in the community

This is the title of a presentation given by Alison O’Connell MBE, FITCAP and Matthew Forsyth, Sport4Life at the conference Enterprise and Collaboration in Community Sport in the West Midlands

The event takes place on 28th April 2015 at Signing Tree Conference Centre, Ladywood, Birmingham B16 8SZ.

This is a one-day event focussing on how community sports providers can meet the challenges and benefit from new opportunities created by changes in people’s lives, the political landscape and the economic situation

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, community trust at professional sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, sports governing bodies, community groups and other community sports providers.

FITCAP (Fitness in the Community & Active Play) are a Non-profit Community Interest Company that works in the local community, for the community.

FITCAP aims not only to provide activities to encourage a healthy lifestyle and get young people off the streets, but to provide a range of training and volunteering opportunities to improve employability skills in an area of the city experiencing some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country.  The workers who deliver FITCAP projects are from the local area and meet regularly to plan/evaluate delivery based on their interactions with local people at their sessions.

Alison O’Connell has been changing lives in her local community since 2006 when she began running sports based projects, including the FITCAP project in Yardley, Birmingham.

lison gained an MBE in the 2014 new years’ honours list following her work setting-up FITCAP and was recognised at the inaugural Street Games awards in 2012, where she received an award for her “Outstanding Contribution to Doorstep Sport”.  Since August 2014, Alison has been working at Sport Birmingham as a Community Sport Mentor.

Sport 4 Life UK is the charity that changes the lives of Birmingham’s most disadvantaged young people through the power of sport. Founded in 2006 as a small community project in the ward of Ladywood, over the past 8 years they have developed into the leading youth and sports charity across the city of Birmingham.

The two main programmes Sport 4 Life deliver are:

  • Sport 4 Life TEENS – An educational programme designed for young people aged 12 to 16, empowering them to gain knowledge about urban issues that affect them at school and in their personal lives, using sport as the engagement tool.
  • Sport 4 Life NEETS – An employability programme designed for NEET young people aged 16 to 25. The aim of this programme is to assist young people to re-engage with education, employment and training. This is achieved through a series of employability workshops, personal development programmes, qualifications, and one to one support.

Matthew Forsyth has been the Operations Manager at Sport 4 Life since 2010 and helped the organisation experience a 64% growth. Matthew’s main duties involve service development, partnerships and networking, fundraising, governance and project management.

For further information about this event contact Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660. email or go to

This entry was posted in Grow Sport. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s