Two years on, what’s the practical impact of Sporting Future?

Thea Rogerson, Press and PR Officer at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, explains how she has been working with the Member Reference Panel to get an insight into how Sporting Future has impacted sport and recreation organisations. 

I’ve been working with our Member Reference Panel - a group of members who have agreed to provide us with real time and honest opinion on topical issues impacting the sector – to understand the impact of the Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future. 

What has been the focus? 

Over the course of a few months I put questions to the Panel which focused on: 

  • The impact of moving to an outcome focused funding model; 
  • The challenges of showing impact against the five outcomes (physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development); 
  • The current funding situation. 

The results 

56% of the Panel stated Sporting Future and the introduction of the five outcomes, has changed the way their organisation operates. And just under half (44%) don’t believe the Government's sport strategy has introduced operational change.  

Recognising that the Alliance has a diverse range of members, including those who are not publicly funded, could explain why nearly half of the Panel believe there hasn’t been operational change at their organisation to demonstrate impact against the five outcomes. 

A lack of resource was identified as one of the biggest challenges to showing impact against the five outcomes. For example, mental wellbeing was highlighted as one outcome where benefits can accrue over time. With this long-term benefit it requires continuous monitoring and assessment which can be challenging to manage and fund. 

The insight from members poses two questions: 

  • Is the right support available to help the sector demonstrate impact against the five outcomes? 
  • And, with sport and recreation organisations being pushed to diversify funding and become less reliant on public money – is it now less important for organisations to focus on demonstrating impact against the five incomes and more important that they focus on sourcing new opportunities for funding? 

On income generation, 69% of our Member Reference Panel said their organisation’s funding had remained consistent over the past two years. And less than 10% specified that they have increased the proportion of their income coming from commercial partnerships or sponsorship. 

To help us get an even greater understanding of how different challenges and opportunities are affecting you, I want to encourage you to join the Member Reference Panel. 

The launch of the Alliance Hub has made it easier for you to be a part of the Panel. All you need to do is select the Member Reference Panel as one of your communication preferences. Being a part of the Panel means you will receive an email from me once a month, with a short selection of questions to answer.  

On average the questions have so far taken less than three minutes to complete and provides us with invaluable insight which informs how we support the sector.  

If you’d like more information on the Member Reference Panel or need help using the Alliance Hub, please get in touch.