National Assembly for Wales


Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee


CELG(4) PS 08


Inquiry into participation levels in sport in Wales

Response from : Sported.


What is sported.?

sported. is the UK's leading sporting legacy charity of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. sported. was set up by Sir Keith Mills (International President and Chief Executive of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid and Deputy Chair of LOCOG) to create a voice for the Sport for development sector across the UK and deliver a powerful legacy at the grass roots of community sport. We are a FREE membership organisation which provides support to community and grassroots organisations that deliver 'Sport for Development'.

Our Members are amazing groups and individuals who operate across any number of sports but what makes them different from traditional clubs is that they put on sport in an effort to bring about social change within their communities. We support these organisations by providing business resources and financial assistance, so that they can concentrate on doing what they do best - improving the lives of disadvantaged young people through sport. In addition to helping individual organisations, we also provide a voice for the Sport for Development Sector as a whole. 


sported. now provides this support - through a UK wide network of Managers and 250 Skilled Volunteers. We support over 2,400 clubs with funding and business advice to help them grow and run their organisations to the best of their ability and enable them to reach and improve the lives of more than 200,000 disadvantaged young people. We know that sport is being used in different ways in different contexts to change the lives of the young people so we concentrate our work on achieving the following outcomes:

1.     Building strong communities

2.   Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour

3.     Reducing barriers to regular participation for marginalised groups

4.     Developing young people by providing them with skills for the workplace and life

5.     Education in health and well being

sported. has been operating in Wales since February 2012 and we are seeing a real demand for our services with over 100 member organisations joining in just over a year from across all 22 of the Local Authority areas. sported. operates across the whole of the UK supporting disadvantaged communities and young people.



We are also aware of some of the solid work that is being done at a community level throughout Wales and the UK by our member organisations such as Port Talbot Town Boxing Club and Vi_Ability and those projects being supported by the likes of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales and Ambition. sported. has a strong partnership working ethos and works in varying degrees with all of the National Sports Councils, along with other organisations small and large from the Private, Public and Third Sectors.


This inquiry comes at a time of great opportunity in Wales to harness the power and legacy of London 2012. Participation in sport can benefit disadvantaged young people in Wales both on and off the field. Today, we have ‘Sportworks’, a new and renowned shared impact measurement tool that can quantify with credibility, the impact of sport to society, off the field. If organisations can work together and develop new approaches, we can make a real step change in sport and can make an important contribution to increasing participation levels among marginalised groups and to improving the lives of young people in deprived communities.


The extent to which the Welsh Government and Sport Wales are achieving the goals set out in the Programme for Government, the Creating an Active Wales action plan and the Vision for Sport in Wales with regard to participation levels in sport;


sported.directly contributes to the Sport Wales Vision for Sport priority areas:


Sporting Communities: Our membership supports over 10,000 young people in Wales to access sporting opportunities. In the short time sported. has been operating we have directly funded our membership to provide opportunities for 1384 young people from specific marginalised groups to gain access to sport.


Growing a Skilled and Passionate Workforce: We are extremely proud of our Volunteer Mentoring Service. This unique FREE programme has been running since 2009 and for many of our Members it has been a real lifeline. Our diverse team of voluntary Mentors use their professional experience to build the knowledge, skills and confidence of our Members helping them to run their organisations in a more effective and sustainable way.


To date we have made 18 Mentor placements, supporting organisations across Wales to become more business savvy. As a result of our support to our membership in Wales we have leverage in an additional £400,000 of funding into the Sport for Development Sector in Wales and supporting club growth.


“We see the benefits of sport in the widest sense, not solely impacting on Improving the physical health of the nation, but also in bringing communities together, building confidence in young and old, providing new skills and training and attracting investment into Wales. Sport Wales will boost its effort to champion the positive impact of sport on all aspects of Welsh life, and encourage partners to articulate the benefits of sport for all”

(Professor Laura McAllister, Chair - Sport Wales, A Vision for Sport in Wales)

sported. is resolute in our belief that we are well placed to support  and articulate the benefits of sport for all and welcomes opportunities to further develop our work relationship with Welsh Government and Sport Wales.


sported. shares Sport Wales’ ambition to provide all young people with the opportunity to participate in sport and to get them hooked for life.”

(Professor Laura McAllister, Chair - Sport Wales, sported. 2012 Annual Report)


The availability of datasets and statistics to measure participation levels in sport, particularly those disaggregated by equality strand and socio-economic groups;


In March 2010, two years before the Olympic Games were due to take place, sported. commissioned social research specialists Substance to deliver a comprehensive piece of research, creating the business case for investing in sports for development work for disadvantaged young people in the UK. The key objectives of the research were to:

• Assess and demonstrate the value of the sport for development sector

• Identify how to improve the planning and effectiveness of delivery across a range of social policy domains


sported. is committed to securing a future for the sport for development sector and, in order to do so, understands the need to demonstrate evidence of the impact of sports participation on individuals and communities across the UK. Using demographic data to provide representations of participants’ risk based on the outcomes of ‘similar’ people, alongside modelling of the best available evidence of what works in protecting against those risks, the research led to the development of a new impact assessment application known as Sportworks.


The application was piloted with 3,888 projects from 198 agencies over a six-month period up to 31st March 2012 and produced some promising initial indications of impact. Sportworks was able to estimate the positive impact of sport for development projects against seven outcomes (Detailed in the Sportworks Full Report).


Projected figures indicated that sport for development projects had the greatest impact on crime and substance misuse, closely followed by improved educational attainment and wellbeing. The research has shown that these impacts can be valued in terms of the financial savings to society. The biggest savings were projected in relation to the reduction of substance misuse, crime and anti-social behaviour, followed by improvements in wellbeing and reductions in the number of NEET young people.


Overall, the findings show that the sport for development projects included in the pilot assessment were likely to generate a total societal cost saving of £4,174.12 per participant, per annum. With over 10 million young people living in the UK, this presents a very strong case for increased investment in the sector whether it comes from public, philanthropic or social investment funds.


Sportworks Full Report – Please Click Here

The opportunities and barriers to sports participation that exist for different groups of people, including by equality strand and socio-economic groups;


sported.acknowledges that young people face many different barriers to participation in sports. Since our inception in 2008, we have been seeking to understand who these young people are that face barriers to sports participation and importantly why? Today, sported., identifies 6 broad categories of young people that face barriers to participation. From our inception in Wales in February 2012 sported. has grant funded projects in the region to remove barriers to participation in sport for the following marginalised groups (Table 1) :


Table 1. Removing Barriers to Participation Outcome (February 2012 – April 2013)

Number of young people from a specific marginalised group involved with sport (As a result of sported. Grant Investment)






Disabled people


Rurally isolated


Living in poverty or in an area of deprivation


Other – please state





In 2012 sported. supported over 200,000 young people across the UK including over 10,000 young people in Wales to engage with sports.  It is anticipated that by the end of 2013 sported. in Wales will be supporting over 20,000 young people to engage in sporting opportunities.


What are the links between programmes to develop sport in Wales and other Welsh Government Initiatives to increase physical activity:


sported. is currently undertaking a pioneering, pilot Grant Programme with Sport Wales and Rhondda Cynon Taff Local Authority. The overall aim of the pilot is: “to support community sports clubs take a more business-like / enterprising approach to developing sustainable sporting opportunities for young people aged between 11 and 25.”


We work with Sport Wales in addressing the priority areas of Workforce Development and Thriving Clubs of the Sport Wales Community Sport Strategy. sported. is particularly interested in supporting those grass route clubs and projects


sported. is keen to support organisations in Wales in making a difference to childhood health inequalities which are prevalent in deprived areas. sported. endeavours to support actions towards the Sport Wales Child Poverty Strategy. sported. is seeking additional capacity and resources to make a lasting difference in this increasingly important area.


The impact of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy, the Ryder Cup and other high profile Welsh sporting events and achievements on participation levels in Wales.


When Lord Seb Coe and Sir Keith Mills took their team to Singapore to bid for the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games in 2005, they made a number of promises. The most ambitious of those promises was that if successful, they would use the Games to inspire disadvantaged young people around the world to use sport as a means of improving their lives.


sported. was founded in 2008 with a donation of £10million from Sir Keith Mills as his personal commitment to deliver on these important promises and to ensure a real legacy is left in the UK. In 2012 sported. leveraged over £2.6million of external funding into the UK Sport for Development Sector. sported. is looking to work with partners to grow Investment into the Sport for Development sector.


A significant piece of research was undertaken to establish where the gaps in sporting provision were in the UK and a picture began to emerge quickly - that there are several thousand small groups and clubs, predominantly run by volunteers,  that use sport as a means of engaging disadvantaged young people. These groups use sport to help young people stay away from crime, drugs, anti-social behaviour and other negative influences and help them improve their lives through education, training and jobs.


 “…sported. is playing a key part in this, ensuring that those people who put on sport in our most challenged communities are getting the support that they need to grow and prosper.”

(Lord Seb Coe sported. Patron)


Historically, these inspirational groups are off the radar, have had to fend for themselves and often lack the business skills needed to ensure they are financially sustainable. sported. now provides this support - through a UK wide network of Managers and 250 Skilled Volunteers.


In conjunction with The Sun Newspaper we are running the Choose Sport Campaign, a London 2012 legacy campaign, encouraging more young people to get involved with sport.


“Sport has completely changed my life and I think every young person in the UK should have the chance to experience the power of sport too.”

(Jade Jones, sported. Ambassador & London 2012 gold medallist)


sported. would like to thank the Welsh Assembly for the opportunity to contribute towards this important consultation into sports participation in Wales and welcomes the opportunity for future dialogue.


This is how we change young people's lives through sport: - sported. 2012 Annual Report Link