Andy Reed, Founder of Sports Think Tank and chair of SAPCA
Sport changes people's lives" is a line that gets trotted out very often. While it is undoubtedly true, I feel that we sometimes fail to present the stories and data to back the statement up.
We need to be able to say what we mean – and to demonstrate how sport has changed lives. The thing is, the stories and data do exist, we just need to be much more consistent
Making the case
On that note, in January 2020 I was appointed chair of the Sport for Development Coalition. It is best described as a movement – not a membership organisation – which is supported and funded by Sport England, Comic Relief and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
The coalition has three simple aims. These are Advocacy (to showcase the sports and physical activity sector) Impact (to demonstrate the sector's impact and making the case for investment) and Investment (securing new funds for the sector).
In short, our role is to amplify the great work done in the sector, get the sector investment ready and then work with our partners to generate that investment.
In order for the Coalition to be a successful advocate for the huge contribution made by the sector, we need to have a collective voice. We need to be able to clearly demonstrate and showcase the impact the sector has. There are many things we can put in place, through the Coalition, to help us support the sector to achieve this.
I do, however, feel the expertise already lies in the Coalition's existing organisations and partners – so we probably don't need another large team and organisation with all the related costs.
Rather, we need to show the movement in action and collaborating. Sport for development exists in local communities precisely because it is, in many cases, local.
The organisational side is still not fully in place and we will, for now, be hosted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance – at least in the short term. Another demonstration of our commitment to partnership!