Government Serious Violence Strategy presents opportunity for sport and recreation

The government’s Serious Violence Strategy recognises the value of sport and recreation in tackling one of societies biggest issues and presents a potential opportunity for funding.  

Government published its first Serious Violence Strategy last week in response to the recent serious violent crimes, including knife crime, gun crime and attacks involving acid and corrosive substances.  

The strategy highlights sport and recreation as an active, preventative solution to the critical public challenge. It also emphasises the role of communities and local partnerships in helping to tackle violent crimes.  

An anti-knife crime Community Fund comes into effect later this year and could present an opportunity for sport and recreation organisations that work with young people at risk of involvement in violence, to bid for funding.  

The strategy highlights the social value of sport and recreation by referring to Sport England funded programmes aimed at young people, particularly those vulnerable to involvement in violence. It discusses programmes which target areas with high deprivation and crime rates where mental health issues within the young male population are prevalent. 

Volunteering is also documented as an important intervention to provide young people with new skills and confidence, particularly through the National Citizen Service (NCS).  

This positive recognition of how sport and recreation is and can be a preventative tool presents an opportunity for our members and the wider sport and recreation sector to contribute even further to this societal issue.  

Key recommendations from the strategy include:  

Funding opportunities  

  • A new £90 million fund, announced in January 2018, will support disadvantaged and disengaged young people with their transition to work. This funding is being developed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Department for Education (DfE), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Big Lottery Fund.  
  • The Youth Investment Fund, launched in September 2017 by DCMS and the Big Lottery Fund, will allocate £40 million to boost local ‘open access’ youth provision in six targeted disadvantaged areas in England. The new fund will provide access to a range of activities for young people to develop skills and positive relationships.  

Supporting communities and local partnerships  

Anti-knife crime Community Fund  

  • The strategy provides more detail about the new Community Fund, launched in October 2017, which offers funding for local initiatives to tackle knife crime in England and Wales. Funding has been awarded to projects designed to provide intensive support alongside sports and performing workshops.  
  • The Home Office will hold further rounds of funding bids in 2018/19 and 2019/20, with up to £1 million each year to support local communities. The Community Fund for 2018/19 was announced in March 2018 and will be launched later in Spring 2018.  

Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation (EGVE)  

  • The Home Office has set up an EGVE Fund to provide local community initiatives in England and Wales as part of a wider programme. 
  • Several projects are working with young people in programmes that combine mentoring and one-to-one support with sport, music or other activities.  


Inter-Ministerial Group on the Serious Violence Strategy 

  • Government will establish a new Inter-Ministerial Group on the Serious Violence Strategy to oversee the implementation of the strategy. This group replaces the Inter-Ministerial Group on Gangs and will meet on a quarterly basis. Membership will include Ministers from DfE, DHSC, DWP, MHCLG, DCMS, and MOJ.  


  • Proposed new legislation on offensive and dangerous weapons which will include corrosive substances.  
  • New legislation will be introduced to take additional steps to prevent online retailers selling knives to young people under 18 years old. 

The Serious Violence Strategy is an opportunity for sport and recreation organisations to build on the recognition of how physical activity can contribute to reducing serious crime. We will be looking out for further information on the development of the strategy and opportunities for our members to bid for funding.  

If you have any questions about the strategy, please contact the policy team