A national plan for sport, health and wellbeing Contents

Chapter 3: Principles underpinning the national plan

103.This chapter seeks to identify key principles which should run through the national plan. These are the need to develop physical literacy, particularly from a young age; the need for sport and recreation to be delivered in a welcoming and inclusive environment; application of the sciences of behaviour change and motivation; for delivery of sport and recreation to be proactive in tackling health inequalities; and to contribute to individual development and community cohesion. These themes recur throughout this report and were frequently cited by witnesses as being necessary to create the underlying conditions for supporting active lifestyles.

Physical literacy

104.Physical literacy provides a vital framework to support the development of skills, confidence and enjoyment of physical activity. Sport England defines physical literacy as “the combination of our enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge of how to be active”.145 It is closely linked to PE in schools because having positive experiences and learning basic coordination and competence during childhood is most likely to lead to a love of movement. However, it is a principle that can enhance people’s confidence and enjoyment of physical activity across all ages. We discuss physical literacy in relation to children and young people further in Chapter 4.

105.Nigel Harrison, CEO of the Yorkshire Sport Foundation, told us that physical literacy is about “getting down to basics” through teaching skills like balance, coordination and how to throw and catch a ball.146 Dr Durden-Myers, Past Chair of the International Physical Literacy Association and Senior Lecturer in Physical Education, Bath Spa University and University of Gloucestershire, told us that physical literacy should be “the core message around our early encounters with physical activity and promoting physical activity for life”.147

106.We heard how other countries are incorporating physical literacy in their national policies to boost activity rates. For example, Dr Durden-Myers told us that Australia uses the language of physical literacy to promote lifelong learning and deliver “physical, psychological, social and cognitive health and wellbeing benefits”, and that New Zealand has used it to create an approach leading to physical activity designed by the participant.148 Dr Fahlén, then Associate Professor at Umeå University, Sweden, emphasised the distinction made in Norway and Sweden between PE, which teaches “the joy of learning how to move” and wider school sport.149

Box 2: International definitions of physical literacy

Sport New Zealand

Sport New Zealand describes physical literacy as: “A combination of their [people’s] motivation, confidence and competence to be active, along with their knowledge and understanding of how being active contributes to their life … It affects how, why and if they participate in physical activity throughout their life.”150 Physical literacy is one of Sport New Zealand’s three core approaches.151

Sport Australia

Sport Australia’s Physical Literacy Framework establishes a common language to help Australians develop their physical literacy at every stage of life. Sport Australia states that physical literacy gives you: physical skills and fitness, the attitudes and emotions that motivate you to be active, the knowledge and understanding of how, why and when you move, and the social skills to be active with others.152

Sport Wales

In 2014, Sport Wales introduced the Physical Literacy Programme for Schools (PLPS) which seeks to embed physical literacy. In 2015, it created a physical literacy framework to support the development of the new curriculum and produced the Physical Literacy Journey which defines physical literacy as: “Physical Skills + Confidence + Motivation + Knowledge + Understanding = Physical Literacy”. It adds that “with these elements a person is more likely to be physically literate—be happy, healthy and confident—and have the tools to enjoy being active.”153

An evaluation of the PLPS programme and the Physical Literacy Framework reported improvements in young people’s physical, social and emotional development, as well as young people’s engagement, attendance and behaviour.154

Source: Written evidence from Dr Liz Durden-Myers (NPS0028) and supplementary written evidence from Dr Liz Durden-Myers (NPS0150)

107.Mo Jafar, Head of PE at the Royal Liberty School, Romford, told us that there is a lot of research and plenty of UK-based expertise to enable Government and schools to make better use of physical literacy.155

108.Improving physical literacy must be a key principle at the heart of a national plan. Although the focus on teaching physical literacy must be directed toward children and young people through PE and school sport, it will also be crucial to ensure that opportunities to developconfidence and a love of movement are available to people of all ages and backgrounds.

A welcoming and inclusive environment

109.Providing a welcoming and inclusive environment is about ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and able to take part in an activity that suits them. This involves recognising the different ways people choose to stay active, supporting and empowering those from underrepresented groups, providing affordable, accessible and safe facilities, and ensuring that sports and recreation is free from all forms of abuse and discrimination.

Formal and informal participation

110.Part of a welcoming and inclusive environment is ensuring that everyone has access to space and facilities to be active. Formal participation is sport that is played through membership of a club and in a league structure, overseen by a sports governing body. Informal participation is engagement in a sport or activity that falls outside the formal structure. It can include going for a run or a walk on your own or with others, dancing and gardening, and includes participation in commitment-free events such as parkrun.

111.Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, noted the example of leisure facilities being used as integrated community hubs—spaces which host various community services, including facilities for both formal and informal sport and recreation activities.156 Kirsty Cumming, CEO of Community Leisure UK, told us that leisure centres are ideally placed to support both formal and informal activities and can offer activities beyond traditional sport.157

112.Mads Andreassen, Head of Activity Development at the Norwegian Sports Confederation, told us that it makes sense for facilities to be open to informal and self-organised sport and for the government to support that alongside provision of formal sport.158 Dr Fahlén noted that it is becoming the norm in Sweden that facilities will make themselves open to informal and self-organised sports.159

113.Parkrun is a notable example of a successful informal offer. Chrissie Wellington OBE, Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at parkrun, explained how it works:

“[The parkrun model] has been designed to remove as many barriers to participation as possible, whether they be financial, practical, social, cultural or psychological. For example, taking part is free. There is no need for special clothing or equipment. People can walk, run, jog, volunteer, come along and watch, and have a coffee afterwards. We do not exclude certain groups … Above all, the events are welcoming, friendly and social, which is key to encouraging sustained involvement.”160

114.Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, told us that “informal participation and traditional organised sport are complementary”, noting that people who start exercising informally may choose to join a local sports club or group later on.161 However, Andy Reed, Co-Founder and Director of the Sports Think Tank, cautioned that although offering informal opportunities is a good idea, many small sports clubs do not have the capacity or volunteers to deliver a wide range of programmes.162

Underrepresented groups

115.As outlined in Chapter 1, there are too many groups in society who are not meeting minimum recommended levels of activity. Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment requires the identification and removal of barriers that may be deterring or preventing certain groups from participating in sport and recreation.

116.When thinking about barriers to sport and recreation, Arun Kang, CEO of Sporting Equals, urged us to take account of how intersectionality and multiple discrimination result in people facing numerous barriers to participation.163 Sanjay Bhandari, Chair of Kick It Out, observed that “it is very difficult to disentangle the impact of any one characteristic” and together they can have a “multiplier effect” leading to accumulated levels of discrimination.164

117.We heard that, too often, there is a lack of communication and engagement with underrepresented groups. Sanjay Bhandari told us that people were not being talked to or listened to properly.165 Yusra Uney, Engagement Lead at GoodGym, highlighted the need to get the language and communication right to attract people from underrepresented groups.166

118.Chrissie Wellington spoke about how parkrun employs “the principle of proportionate universalism” which means being open to all but also targeting those most in need.167 The Sport for Development Coalition told us that proportionate universalism should be a “core principle” for national policy and planning for sport and recreation.168 Lisa Wainwright and Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames, welcomed that the principle of proportionate universalism was included in Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy.169

119.Several witnesses noted the role of coaches and the workforce in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Veterans Athletic Club, and Youth Charter, a sport for development project, recommended that coaches should be trained to acknowledge unconscious biases to avoid coaching in ways that may exclude underrepresented groups.170 UK Coaching recommended that all coaches and educators need to be provided with opportunities to share best practice and to engage proactively with community groups.171 Julian Starkey, Chair of the Bracknell Athletic Club, stated that training should be available for coaches and officials “to ask better questions” when working with underrepresented groups to help accommodate and deliver inclusive offers.172

120.Witnesses told us that people feel more welcome and motivated if they can see coaches and participants who are like them. Gordon Banks, Chief Community Officer at Saracens Sport Foundation, emphasised the impact that professional players can have as positive role models when they engage with their local community.173 Dr Kristy Howells, Reader in the School of Psychology and Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University, noted that LGBT+, disabled and ethnic minority athletes can help inspire people from diverse backgrounds.174 Laura Cordingley, CEO of Chance to Shine, gave the example of having female coaches from south Asian backgrounds as part of their team which has meant that “parents were much more willing to support their girls’ involvement”.175

121.We also heard views on the scale of the challenge to engage those currently underrepresented in sport and recreation. The APPG on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights cited research by Women in Sport and the Youth Sport Trust which found that only 56 per cent of girls enjoyed taking part in school sport compared to 71 per cent of boys.176 Ali Oliver MBE, CEO of the Youth Sport Trust, said that despite many years of effort, the “stubborn gap” between girls’ and boys’ participation rates have hardly narrowed.177

122.Andy Reed told us that disabled people are among the least active of all the underrepresented groups and were also among the hardest hit by the pandemic.178 Barry Horne, CEO of Activity Alliance, told us that physical and logistical barriers for disabled people are “significant” but that “by far the biggest barriers” for disabled people are psychological.179

123.Reece Finnegan, a tennis player at Metro Blind Sports and a participant in our engagement event with disabled young adults, expressed frustration at clubs and facilities who exclude disabled people over misplaced concerns about liability for injury or accidents.180 Martin McElhatton, CEO of WheelPower, highlighted financial barriers such as expensive specialist equipment.181 Azeem Amir, who plays blind football for England and Great Britain and also participated in our engagement event, suggested that one way to make sport more inclusive for disabled people would be to provide everyone the opportunity to take part in disability sports, such as blind football, regardless of whether participants had a disability.182

124.Martin McElhatton and Barry Horne also told us that some disabled people worry that they may lose their benefits if they become more active, telling us there is “genuine fear” that being physically active may affect their income, particularly among those “who live very close to the line.”183

125.The LGA emphasised the importance of public facilities in engaging underrepresented groups. It told us that a disproportionate number of disabled people, ethnic minorities and lower income residents depend on local authority-run facilities.184 Community Leisure UK predicted that the economic fallout from the pandemic may lead to increased demand for access to free or subsidised community facilities.185

126.AoC Sport said that a lack of focus on colleges is a missed opportunity. It noted that colleges have above national average representation of ethnic minorities, 23 per cent of students have learning disabilities and that high levels of students are from lower socio-economic backgrounds.186

127.Sport England acknowledged that “stubborn inequalities have existed between different demographic groups’ activity levels for too long”. It added that the impact of COVID-19 is both a reminder and an opportunity to “ensure that the sport and physical activity sector rebuilds in a more inclusive way”.187 Ben Dean, Director for Sport and Gambling at DCMS, told us that the Government “fully recognise” that parts of the population are not achieving the desired rates of activity.188

Accessibility and availability of facilities and spaces

128.To create a welcoming and inclusive environment, facilities and spaces need to be accessible, affordable, safe and offer good quality equipment and services. Facilities are the physical infrastructure for sport and recreation and include, for example, leisure centres, gyms, pitches, sports clubs, stadia and facilities located in schools. Spaces include local parks, national parks and trails and other outdoor green and blue spaces as well as public access to farmland and private land. As previously noted, local authorities are the biggest public sector investor in sport and recreation and schools are the largest owners and operators of sports facilities.189

129.The Sporting Future strategy advocates development of multi-sport facilities where it is possible to offer a wide range of sports and recreation activities rather than single-use facilities. It also notes the importance of playing fields. Sport England’s Strategic Facilities Investment Prospectus 2017–2021, published in 2018, sets out that its £40 million strategic facilities fund for large-scale investment projects will prioritise facilities that are integrated and, where possible, co-located with other community services and able to cater for multiple sports year-round.190

130.Lee Mason, former CEO of Active Partnerships, told us that communities, particularly in disadvantaged areas, need locally accessible facilities rather than big, major facilities.191 Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson CBE, Chair of the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board at the LGA, expressed concern many leisure facilities and swimming pools are coming to the end of their useful life and that, without investment over the next 5 to 10 years, many will close.192 Nigel Harrison told us that accessibility is just as important as distribution and that this includes addressing issues like street lighting and safety concerns.193

131.The Country Land and Business Association told us that sport and recreation is “fundamental” to the rural economy and that many private landowners provide access to land and facilities to communities and groups for sport and recreation purposes. It welcomed the proposed Environmental Land Management scheme which will provide financial assistance for access but noted that the planning system presents a significant barrier to improving access and that funding is required to cover much needed maintenance, improve signage and information, better parking and toilet facilities and organised bus routes.194

132.There was frustration from witnesses around the cost and difficulty of accessing some facilities. Anne-Marie Waugh, Founder of RollaDome All Skate, told us that groups often have to “fight for times and slots”.195 Eastcote Hockey Club and Ealing Hockey Club both expressed frustration that they were unable to grow their clubs due to lack of facilities.196 Peter Mason, Chair of the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre and Football Club, called for a national strategy looking at facilities including parks and pitches and how the public can access them.197

133.The British Masters Athletic Federation expressed concern that local delivery systems do not pay enough attention to older age groups and suggested that local authorities establish local sports councils working with clubs and other delivery bodies to improve services for all ages.198 The Centre for Ageing Better suggested that a more “age-positive” approach should be backed with government funding.199

134.The FA told us that “the number one concern” around local delivery for football players is poor local football pitches.200 Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, said that the distribution of grass football pitches is uneven across the country in terms of quality and quantity.201 The Football Foundation told us about its Local Football Facility Plans developed with and for every local authority, but noted that more investment was needed to meet demand for local football facilities.202

135.Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society at DCMS, told us that the Government is “sincerely committed” to providing additional facilities with a focus on football pitches but also for mixed sport facilities.203 Ben Dean of DCMS told us that DCMS and Sport England want to make sure that people have access to the facilities they need and are given more options.204

136.Inactivity rates among some groups remain stubbornly high and progress to tackle this problem has been disappointing. The Government must utilise the new funding and delivery mechanisms developed through the national plan to tackle these stubborn inequalities. This must include assuring and ensuring that disabled people will not be penalised for being active by the benefits system.

137.The Government must also conduct an audit and develop a clear, fully costed national facilities strategy for pitches, leisure facilities, swimming pools, parks and outdoor spaces. This strategy should be created jointly with local authorities. The strategy need not duplicate the Football Foundation’s facilities plan for football and artificial football pitches. Instead, it will complete the picture of what each local authority needs to ensure that a full range of high-quality facilities and spaces are available and easily accessible to everyone.

138.Local communities, leisure trusts, local clubs, schools, colleges and other higher education institutions with sport and leisure facilities, charities, and social and voluntary enterprises delivering sport and recreation will need to be consulted on the audit and plans resulting from the facilities strategy that pertain to their local area. This includes design and planning of future facilities to ensure that they are accessible to local communities and provide a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Tackling discrimination

139.Sports and recreation can never provide a welcoming and inclusive environment if people are subject to abuse and discrimination. If any reminder of this were necessary, we need only look at the recent racism scandal engulfing the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Abuse comes in many forms including racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, and ageism.

140.Ben Dean of DCMS stated that tackling racism, homophobia and transphobia in sport is something that needs to be addressed through “collaboration across a lot of different partners”.205 Sanjay Bhandari of Kick It Out told us “we have to get the morals right” noting that currently a person can be banned for fewer games for racist comments at a football match than for a betting infraction.206 Janett Walker from Black Girls Hike told us that education is at the core of rooting out racism and other forms of abuse, either on social media or on the pitch.207

141.Girlguiding called for a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment including within schools and events hosting youth sport.208 Dr Howells recommended abolishing gender-based sport in schools which she said reinforces perceptions of gender difference and physical inferiority of girls.209

142.Pride in Tennis noted barriers for LGBT+ people including an unwelcoming environment, internal barriers created by unconscious bias and stereotyping, negative previous experiences and a lack of role models. It made a series of recommendations to improve the experience of LGBT+ participants including supporting clubs who offer LGBT+ inclusive sports sessions and promoting “positive role models, news stories and flagship events such as the Gay Games”.210

143.Gendered Intelligence, a charity working to increase understanding of gender diversity and improve the lives of trans people, told us that trans people are keen to participate in sport but face a range of barriers including a lack of welcoming environments, and facilities and structures that only suit binary men and women participation.211 Stonewall and Mermaids, two LGBT+ charities, highlighted that the lack of availability of suitable changing facilities “can cause profound distress for LGBT+ people of all ages and backgrounds.”212 However, Conservatives for Women told us that single-sex spaces provide a safe space for women and girls and contested that in some cases this was threatened when the category of ‘sex’ is replaced with ‘gender identity’.213

144.Activity Alliance told us that presumptions and misconceptions about disabled people lead to reduced opportunities and have created long-lasting barriers for disabled people resulting in higher rates of inactivity. It called for disabled people not only to be seen in sport as elite athletes.214

Social media

145.Some sports, notably football and other high-profile sports, have struggled to deal with racism, bullying, and other forms of abuse online against players, commentators and supporters.

146.Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, Sports Reporter for Channel 4 News, suggested that the Government needs to hold social media platforms accountable for the content on their sites and gave the view that people who need to protect themselves from abuse should stay off social media platforms until social media companies are able to effectively police content posted.215 Gary Cliffe, Ambassador for the Offside Trust, said that social media companies need to be held to account and need to alert the police of potentially criminal abuse.216 Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women in Sport, said there needs to be accountability for those using social media and better regulation of social media companies.217

147.The FA and the LTA both stated their support for the forthcoming Online Harms Bill to make provision for social media companies to be held accountable for what is posted on their platforms.218 The FA noted that it has recommended that the Government “pilot a special unit to look at hate crime in football—with a particular focus on social media.”219

148.Discrimination comes in many forms and it is always unacceptable. As part of the national plan the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing will need to take steps, together with Sport England and UK Sport funded bodies and other key stakeholders, to ensure there is a safe environment for participants in sport and recreation and to raise awareness of the channels through which complaints can be made and how participants can seek support.

149.To tackle abuse on social media platforms, the Government must hold social media companies to account for harmful content online. The forthcoming Online Safety Bill should ensure that social media platforms are regulated to prevent such harm with robust enforcement and significant sanctions.

Behaviour change and motivation

150.We heard that behavioural change theory and nudging techniques can make a significant contribution to promoting physical activity. Sport England’s Sporting Future strategy states: “Behavioural insights and an understanding of how to help people to make better decisions themselves will be at the heart of the new approach to delivering sport and physical activity”.220 This includes raising awareness and public health messaging to encourage people to take up physical activity.221

151.Influencing behaviours can make a big difference during those stages of our lives when many of us tend to fall away from sport and recreation. These drop-off points often occur when we leave full-time education, move home, start a new job or have children.222 Dr Kathryn Atherton, Adviser at the Behavioural Insights Team, explained “any point when there is a disruption of your habitual behaviours is an opportunity for behaviours to be lost.” She suggested that more could be done by teachers, health officials, and local authorities to help people identify and plan ways to stay active as they settle into a new job, a new home, and other new life circumstances.223 Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge, stated that drop-off points strengthen the case for instilling lifelong habits of physical activity habits at a young age.224

Public messaging campaigns

152.Targeted campaigns such as This Girl Can and We are Undefeatable were praised by several witnesses for their potential to inspire underrepresented groups and demonstrate that anyone can take part in sport and recreation.225

153.Ben Dean of DCMS highlighted the This Girl Can and We Are Undefeatable campaigns as good examples of targeted interventions.226 Lisa Wainwright told us that This Girl Can was an “incredibly successful campaign”.227 Anna Kessel, Women’s Sports Editor at The Telegraph, said that the campaign presented positive messaging and “busted a lot of taboos”.228 Sport England said that 3.9 million women reported taking some action as a result of the This Girl Can campaign.229

154.However, Dr Atherton told us that the number of women being active in response to the campaign was based on survey results asking people if they knew of the campaign and had been more active as a result. She told us that this “is not an objective way of measuring behaviour change”.230 Mads Andreassen told us that he did not believe public health campaigns deliver long-term impact.231

155.Professor Kim Edwards, Professor of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Education, University of Nottingham, said that there is a lack of evidence for how effective public messaging interventions are for underrepresented demographic groups and recommended that target groups be included to co-design public messaging campaigns.232 Professor Dame Marteau said that public health campaigns should be part of a mix of interventions that can promote physical activity and recommended framing messages “positively, emphasising immediate benefits that are social and affect mood”.233

156.We support the positive role that public health campaigns like This Girl Can and We are Undefeatable play. We recommend that Sport England seeks robust evidence to better understand their impact and to learn lessons on how public health messaging can be made more effective, especially for underrepresented groups. This is the type of task that could be led by the Physical Activity Observatory.

Tackling health inequalities

157.Encouraging sport, recreation and an active lifestyle is about promoting physical and mental health and wellbeing and improving quality of life for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

158.Mark Davies, former Director for Population Health at DHSC, explained several ways that the Government is using sport to address health inequalities. He highlighted the Government’s Better Health campaign which is encouraging people to be physically active. He also noted that NHS England is using social prescribing, and the Government is taking steps to help healthcare professionals understand the guidelines of physical activity issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers and increasing the number of weight management services available.234

159.We also heard how professional clubs and their foundations operate in their local communities to deliver projects. For example, Martin Fearon, CEO of the Accrington Stanley Community Trust, told us that they focus on four key themes for community projects—sport participation, education, health and wellbeing and inclusion—and that they deliver projects to “thousands of children” each week often in areas of high deprivation.235

Social prescribing

160.Social prescribing, also known as community referral, enables health professionals to refer people to non-clinical services to help improve physical and/or mental health and wellbeing. People may be prescribed, for example, to volunteer, to join art activities, to take up gardening, or to take more exercise or join a sports club or group. There are different models for social prescribing being employed across England. Most involve a link worker, also known as a community connector or health adviser, who works with people to access local sources of support.236

161.Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy commits to strengthening the connection between sport and physical activity and the health system and calls for physical activity advice to be included “in the every day conversations of front-line NHS staff”.237

162.Mark Davies told us that social prescribing is “part of the armoury” for tackling health inequalities.238 Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson told us that for social prescribing “the role that local government can play very successfully is signposting to community groups that are able to support people, and in being able to do direct things”.239 Huw Edwards said that social prescribing can help target those groups where inactivity challenges are more “entrenched”.240

163.Paul Owen, Sporting Ambassador of Sport in Mind, said that GPs are still finding it easier to prescribe a drug than physical activity and a cultural change is needed to shift that balance.241 Chris Wilkins, Co-founder of Sporting Memories, expressed “real concern” that the quality of social prescribing varies considerably across the country, that some health professionals are signposting to organisations they know little about, and that there is often no evaluation of whether the prescription led to a positive health outcome.242

164.Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity for Mind, cautioned that social prescribing has “huge potential” but it is not designed for everyone and that “we need to be open about its limitations, and who it is and is not for”. She also noted that social prescribing suffers from a lack of funding and resources.243

165.Local authorities, working with its health and wellbeing boards, local NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, must ensure that coordination and quality of social prescribing is improved. This must include monitoring and evaluating interventions to ensure that social prescribing is reaching those in need and achieving positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Local clinical commissioning groups should consider the development of a local register of organisations suitable for social prescribing to provide assurance to medical practitioners.

Sport for development

166.We have heard that sport and physical activity can teach life skills and create opportunities to change people’s lives through sport for development programmes.

167.Ollie Dudfield, Executive Director of the Sport for Development Coalition, defined sport for development as “the intentional use of sport and physical activity to contribute to specific wider development outcomes” including supporting communities, tackling inequalities and prevention of criminal and antisocial behaviour. 244 Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames, explained that “sport for development organisations exist along a continuum” with some organisations using sport as a hook, offering a short programme of sport to achieve, for example, an employment outcome, whilst others are closer to community sports clubs and are focused on long-term participation in sport and the social outcomes that result.245 However, he noted that there is a “lack of understanding of what it does” and what it can achieve.246

168.The Sporting Future strategy does not use the term ‘sport for development’ but it does emphasise the need for sports projects and programmes to deliver “social outcomes”.247 Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy similarly does not refer to sport for development by name, although its vision is to “transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity”.248 Sport England estimated that the social and community development value of sport and physical activity is £20 billion to the UK but that it is “nowhere near its full potential”.249

169.Witnesses called for greater cross-departmental working and coordination to recognise the value of sport for development. For example, Ollie Dudfield called for “the development of clear plans” to maximise the contribution of sport and physical activity to individual and community development.250 The Sport for Development Coalition told us that achieving Sport England’s vision “will require more extensive cross-government, multi-sector and societal engagement”.251

170.We heard from a range of witnesses and organisations who use sport to achieve wider social outcomes. Henry Hazlewood from the Lord’s Taverners explained how embedding Police Community Support Officers into their cricket sessions had built trust between young people from Asian backgrounds and the police.252 StreetGames told us about their 1,000 Doorstep Sport Clubs, which are informal sports clubs hosted by community projects that use a variety of sports and physical activity to reach young people in deprived areas and has helped to improve employability, wellbeing and reduced youth reoffending.253 We also heard about the LTA SERVES programme which works with locally led community groups to take tennis to disadvantaged communities.254

171.We heard how professional football clubs and their foundations, as well as those of other sports, play a crucial role in the sport for development sector. Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson told us about a past project run by Pompey in the Community, a charitable trust affiliated to Portsmouth FC, in in which a child or young person absent from school received “a text message from one of the players at the football club saying, ‘Why aren’t you at school?’”. He noted that this was an effective way of engaging with young people and getting them back into school.255

172.As another example of the work being done by professional clubs and their foundations, Steve Johnson, Disability Manager at Everton in the Community, told us their work started off trying to give disabled people in the community the same sports opportunities as non-disabled people and has now expanded to support people in everyday life through providing work placements, job opportunities and paid employment and volunteer opportunities.256

173.Because the outcomes of sport for development projects, both in community and criminal justice settings, cover sport and recreation and community and individual development, projects may be eligible to receive funding from a variety of sources.257 StreetGames told us that one of the “long-standing challenges” of delivering sport for development is that such work can defy easy placement within a specific government department which can make it difficult for sport for development projects to find funding.258 Mark Lawrie said that sport for development organisations often lead a “hand-to-mouth existence”.259 Peter Mason from the Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre and Football Club told us that many organisations working with communities are “below grassroots” and consequently funding never reaches them.260 Justin Coleman, Chief Operations Officer of Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, said that the funding for the sport for development sector “needs to be looked at properly.”261

174.On monitoring and evaluation and the impact of sport for development projects, the Sport for Development Coalition told us that there is a “broad recognition … of the important contribution sport and recreation can make to wider social and economic outcomes”.262 However, Dr Ferguson noted that “the absence of a population level evaluation model for sport for development restricts the sectoral ability to demonstrate value”.263 We discuss measuring and evaluating impact of sport and recreation further in Chapter 2.

Sport for development in criminal justice settings

175.Professor Meek, Professor of Criminological Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, recommended that “we need to think creatively about the multitude of ways” sport and physical activity can be used in criminal justice settings “as a way of instilling life and communication skills” or encouraging people to engage in positive relationships.264

176.In August 2018, Professor Meek’s independent review of sport in youth and adult prisons, A Sporting Chance, was published. The review found that the “utilisation of sport across prisons and youth custody is inconsistent and under-developed” and “incarcerated men, women and children are typically less likely than those in the community to participate in sufficient physical activity.”265

177.The review recognised the positive impact of both in-house programmes and partnerships that are already being run in prisons. Chrissie Wellington told us:

“3,500 people have completed one of the 24 [parkrun] events in prisons and young offender institutions, supported by around 1,100 volunteers. This was made possible because of a collaborative effort, a shared ethos, a shared vision, a respect for each other’s way of working, open and honest dialogue, and a willingness to take a risk and do something a little differently.”266

178.Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) told us they are developing a HMPPS Sports Strategy with the aim of increasing participation in sport and wellbeing activity across the entire prison and probation population. In doing so, they will work “in collaboration with partner organisations to support the diverse needs and help to overcome barriers to access and engagement of physical and wellbeing services.”267

179.The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice has been working with their partners to consider how to “connect that [sport for development] to lifelong provision across the estate and then into the community, to which they [offenders] will go back.” Justice Coleman explained that the Alliance would “not put something on in the establishment that is really expensive” as this raises the expectations of young offenders who are released and then cannot access that sport or activity.268

180.Justin Coleman explained that measuring impact across the criminal justice estate is difficult due to the lack of an agreed framework through which programmes can be evaluated. He also emphasised the need to encourage robust academic research when measuring the impact of sport for development programmes.269 The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice has worked with the University of Birmingham to build an impact framework for their Levelling the Playing Field Project which spans sport in the community and the youth justice system.270

181.Professor Meek explained that the Justice Data Lab271 established in 2013 is a “world-leading example” of how the Government can help researchers, practitioners and the voluntary sector explore and demonstrate the impact of their interventions in prisons.272 The Justice Data Lab service uses reoffending data to provide programmes with an analysis of their impact on reoffending.

182.Sport for development can turn people’s lives around. In formulating the national plan, the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing must work with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to review the role of sport for development in communities and criminal justice settings. It should consider how sport and physical activity opportunities can best be resourced and deployed to improve outcomes for those who stand to benefit most from sport for development programmes in our communities and those serving custodial sentences, and how these outcomes can best be measured.

145 Written evidence from Sport England (NPS0100)

146 Q 23 (Nigel Harrison)

147 Q 124 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)

148 Written evidence from Dr Liz Durden-Myers (NPS0028)

149 Q 85 (Dr Josef Fahlén)

150 Sport New Zealand, ‘Physical literacy approach’: https://sportnz.org.nz/resources/physical-literacy-approach/ [accessed 15 November 2021]

151 Sport New Zealand, The Three Approaches - A guide to creating better quality experiences for participants: https://sportnz.org.nz/media/1259/spnz-ag1039-spnz-three-approaches-aw3.pdf [accessed 15 November 2021]

152 Sport Australia, ‘Physical literacy’: https://www.sportaus.gov.au/physical_literacy [accessed 15 November 2021]

153 Sport Wales, ‘Physical Literacy’: https://www.sport.wales/content-vault/physical-literacy/ [accessed 15 November 2021].

154 The Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research, Canterbury Christ Church University, ‘Physical Literacy Programme for Schools’: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/science-engineering-and-social-sciences/spear/research-projects/physical-literacy-for-schools.aspx [accessed 15 November 2021]

156 Q 18 (Huw Edwards)

157 Q 21 (Kirsty Cumming)

158 Q 83 (Mads Andreassen)

159 Q 83 (Dr Josef Fahlén)

160 Q 64 (Chrissie Wellington)

161 Q 15 (Lisa Wainwright)

162 Q 18 (Andy Reed)

163 Q 137 (Arun Kang)

164 Q 137 (Sanjay Bhandari)

165 Q 136 (Sanjay Bhandari)

166 Q 67 (Yusra Uney)

167 Q 67 (Chrissie Wellington)

168 Written evidence from the Sport for Development Coalition (NPS0144)

169 Q 14 (Lisa Wainwright) and Q 104 (Mark Lawrie)

170 Written evidence from Veterans Athletic Club (NPS0132) and Youth Charter (NPS0079)

171 Written evidence from UK Coaching (NPS0054)

172 Written evidence from Julian Starkey (NPS0067)

173 Q 184 (Gordon Banks)

174 Written evidence from Dr Kristy Howells (NPS0072)

175 Q 126 (Laura Cordingley)

176 Written evidence from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights (NPS0076)

177 Q 120 (Ali Oliver)

178 Q 13 (Andy Reed)

179 Q 131 (Barry Horne)

180 Notes of engagement event with young adults with disabilities: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8065/documents/82934/default/

181 Q 131 (Martin McElhatton)

183 Q 131 (Martin McElhatton, Barry Horne)

184 Written evidence from the LGA (NPS0050)

185 Supplementary written evidence from Community Leisure UK (NPS0112)

186 Written evidence from AoC Sport (NPS0117)

187 Written evidence from Sport England (NPS0100)

188 Q 8 (Ben Dean)

189 Dr Chris Mackintosh, Foundations of Sport for Development, 1st edition (Routledge, 2021), p 101

190 Cabinet Office, Sporting Future: First Annual Report (February 2017), p 26: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590578/Sporting_Future_-_first_annual_report_final.pdf [accessed 15 November 2021] and Sport England, Strategic Facilities Fund Prospectus 2017–2021 (December 2018): https://sportengland-production-files.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/strategic-facilities-fund-prospectus.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

191 Q 22 (Lee Mason)

192 Q 30 (Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson)

193 Q 22 (Nigel Harrison)

194 Written evidence from the Country Land & Business Association (NPS0151)

196 Written evidence from Ealing Hockey Club (NPS0047) and Eastcote Hockey Club (NPS0108)

198 Written evidence from British Masters Athletic Federation (NPS0062)

199 Written evidence from the Centre for Ageing Better (NPS0049)

200 Written evidence from the FA (NPS0135)

201 Q 65 (Robert Sullivan)

202 Supplementary written evidence from the Football Foundation (NPS0136)

203 Q 245 (Nigel Huddleston MP)

204 Q 4 (Ben Dean)

205 Q 9 (Ben Dean)

206 Q 140 (Sanjay Bhandari)

207 Q 140 (Janett Walker)

208 Written evidence from Girlguiding (NPS0074)

209 Written evidence from Dr Kristy Howells (NPS0072)

210 Written evidence from Pride in Tennis (NPS0104)

211 Written evidence from Gendered Intelligence (NPS0120)

212 Written evidence from Stonewall and Mermaids (NPS0123)

213 Written evidence from Conservatives for Women (NPS0068)

214 Written evidence from Activity Alliance (NPS0073)

215 Q 46 (Jordan Jarrett-Bryan)

216 Q 155 (Gary Cliffe)

217 Q 146 (Stephanie Hilborne)

218 Written evidence from the FA (NPS0135) and the LTA (NPS0142)

219 Written evidence from the FA (NPS0135)

221 Ibid., p 31

222 Q 52 (Professor Kim Edwards)

223 Q 52 (Dr Kathryn Atherton)

224 Q 52 (Professor Dame Theresa Marteau)

225 For example, see written evidence from Versus Arthritis (NPS0042), the LGA (NPS0050), Dr Lindsay Findlay-King, Dr Geoff Nichols and Dr Fiona Reid (NPS0078), Royal Yachting Association (NPS0127) and the Richmond Group of Charities (NPS0141).

226 Q 8 (Ben Dean)

227 Q 16 (Lisa Wainwright)

228 Q 43 (Anna Kessel)

229 Written evidence from Sport England (NPS0100)

230 Q 49 (Dr Kathryn Atherton)

231 Q 88 (Mads Andreassen)

232 Q 49 (Professor Kim Edwards)

233 49 (Professor Dame Theresa Marteau)

234 Q 8 (Mark Davies)

235 Q 178 (Martin Fearon)

236 The King’s Fund, ‘What is social prescribing?’: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-prescribing [accessed 15 November 2021]

238 Q 8 (Mark Davies)

239 Q 28 (Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson)

240 Q 15 (Huw Edwards)

241 Q 59 (Paul Owen)

242 Q 59 (Chris Wilkins)

243 Q 59 (Hayley Jarvis)

244 Q 97 (Ollie Dudfield)

245 Q 97 (Mark Lawrie)

246 Q 101 (Mark Lawrie)

249 Sport England, Uniting the Movement: A 10-year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity, p 13. See also Sheffield Hallam University Sport Industry Research Centre, Summary: social and economic value of community sport and physical activity in England (September 2020), p 4: https://sportengland-production-files.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2020-09/Social%20and%20economic%20value%20of%20sport%20and%20physical%20activity%20-%20summary.pdf [accessed 15 November 2021].

250 Q 104 (Ollie Dudfield)

251 Written evidence from the Sport for Development Coalition (NPS0144)

253 Written evidence from StreetGames (NPS0091). See also StreetGames, Insight into Action: The lessons from the DoorStep Sport Club Programme 2013–2017: https://network.streetgames.org/sites/default/files/DSC-Lessons-A4-Full-Report-web-version.pdf [accessed 15 November 2021].

254 Written evidence from the LTA (NPS0142)

255 Q 30 (Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson)

256 Q 178 (Steve Johnson)

257 Q 90 (Justin Coleman and Professor Rosie Meek), supplementary written evidence from StreetGames (NPS0147) and written evidence from the English Football League Trust (NPS0097)

258 Supplementary written evidence from StreetGames (NPS0147)

259 Q 101 (Mark Lawrie)

261 Q 90 (Justin Coleman)

262 Written evidence from the Sport for Development Coalition (NPS0144)

263 Written evidence from Dr Kyle Ferguson (NPS0025)

264 Q 90 (Professor Rosie Meek)

265 Professor Rosie Meek for the Ministry of Justice, A Sporting Chance: An Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons (August 2018), pp 4 and 19: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/733184/a-sporting-chance-an-independent-review-sport-in-justice.pdf [accessed 15 November 2021]

266 Q 66 (Chrissie Wellington)

267 Written evidence from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) (NPS0155)

268 Q 93 (Justin Coleman)

269 Q 92 (Justin Coleman)

270 The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, ‘Levelling the Playing Field’: https://www.levellingtheplayingfield.org/images/2020/11/30/project-infographic4.jpg [accessed 15 November 2021]

271 Ministry of Justice, ‘Accessing the Justice Data Lab service’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/justice-data-lab [accessed 15 November 2021]

272 Supplementary written evidence from Professor Rosie Meek (NPS0152)

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