Identifying the social value of sport

Robert Gill, Policy Support Officer, introduces our first Fit for the Future themed month, on the social value of sport.

As part of our Fit for the Future work, we will be running themed months across 2016 on areas highlighted in our original report published in June 2015. Through these themed months we aim to:

• Provide a platform for the sport and recreation sector to share good practice and innovation
• Support the development of knowledge and skills within our sector through training or events
• Champion the sport and recreation sector through our lobbying work
• Create an environment in which sport and recreation can thrive

Our first themed month, from this week to mid-February, will be on the social value of sport.

But what do we mean when we talk about the social value of sport?

We see it as any way that sport can be used in order to help an individual improve their health, whether physical or mental, their individual development, whether at school or as a vehicle for young people to develop skills to help them get a job. Or as a way of helping people from disadvantaged communities steer clear from crime and as a way of fostering social cohesion and community development.

The Government’s recent sport strategy featured a “new focus on social outcomes” and that future funding decisions will now be based on how well each sport delivers a social benefit.
So now is the perfect time to explore in detail what the sport and recreation sector is doing in this area, to share best practice for others to replicate or build on and explore what more needs to be done.

There are already great examples of how our sector is running projects that fulfil these social needs. From the likes of School of Hard Knocks using rugby and Street Games through Doorstop Sport to help disadvantaged youngsters develop key skills, to England Boxing showcasing some of the great work clubs such as Empire Fighting Chance do with people who have mental health problems.

Some of the activity we plan to run as part of our sport for social good themed month include:

• Launching a series of essays written by experts in the field who have experience of delivering sport for social good related projects such as Mike di Giorgio, CEO and Founder, Greenhouse Sports and Chris Grant, CEO Sported
• An interview with Ansell Chezan, Director and Examiner at UKA Dance, who talks about the social value of dance
• Publishing a members briefing on sport and youth justice on our website
• A guest blog from Nick Roberts, Public Affairs Executive The Football League, about some of the work clubs in the football league do around social good
• A blog on some of work done abroad around sport for social good and what organisations in the UK could learn from them

We would encourage any of our members who are running projects that uses sport as a force for social good to tell us about their work by filling in our case study template and send it to me at