BEYOND SPORT UK – IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SPORT ENGLAND – ELEVATES PURPOSE-DRIVEN BRANDS AND CROSS-SECTOR COLLABORATIONS AS KEY TO SPORT EVIDENCING ITS TRUE SOCIETAL IMPACT
Forum convenes hundreds of leaders to join forces to tackle the UK’s pressing social challenges and launches Beyond Sport UK Working Groups to foster partnerships
London, England: On 25 June, over 300 leaders from across the public, private and third sectors spent the day at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium immersed in exploring solutions and cross-sector collaborations that would better position sport to address the crucial societal issues the UK is facing and the need for evidenced-based impact aligned within larger global sustainable development frameworks.
The forum, developed by sport for social change pioneer, Beyond Sport, and held in partnership with Sport England, brought together speakers and attendees from across all sectors, including bodies such as the FA, Commonwealth Games Federation, the Premier League and the ECB; businesses such as Unilever, SAP Next-Gen and Bloomberg, grassroots initiatives, such as Muslim Girls Fence and Brighton Table Tennis Prisons Programme, and inspiring young athletes, Jasmin Akter, Freya Levy and Molly Thompson-Smith.
Impact Hub, Birmingham co-founder and director Immy Kaur kicked off the forum, providing her frontline perspective and underscoring the important point that there is ‘no such thing as a hard to reach community’. Sport England’s Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth then summarised how sport is uniquely placed to respond to societal challenges and the importance of seizing ‘corporate social opportunities’ to truly deliver on genuine purpose-led organisations.
Speaking at the event, Hollingsworth said: “Our job now is to think and act anew, not to focus on existing solutions, but instead fall in love with the problems we are trying to solve. It’s now time to bring our empathy, energy and creativity to explore how we can use the power of sport to help people to overcome the barriers they face.”
Hosted by thinkBeyond Director of Strategy, Radha Balani, delegates heard from diverse initiatives highlighting national and international best practice in social and local community development through sport.
Nick Keller, Founder and President at Beyond Sport led Unilever’s, Rebecca Marmot, Bloomberg’s, Alix Mills, and SAP Next-Gen’s, Ann Rosenberg, in a discussion delving into authentic and holistic ways to integrate purpose in business practices and the need for the three sectors to form unlikely partnerships to bring about the systemic change that would positively impact communities, customers and employees.
Alexandra Chalat, Managing Director at Beyond Sport, moderated a panel to examine the UK’s contribution to the global impact agenda. Leaders from the FA, The All England Club (Wimbledon), Sport England and Commonwealth Games Federation focused on sport’s role in helping the country meet key UN Sustainable Development Goals and the drive to evidence the collective impact of sport on social change.
To put words into actionable solutions, delegates then joined one of ten workshop options led by subject experts that focused on crucial challenges in the UK where sport is having an impact, from preventing gang-based knife crime to improving diversity and inclusion. They then joined one of twelve workshops on deploying approaches that work, from using Major Sporting Events, to UN SDG frameworks to creating community-focused infrastructure and safe spaces.
Finally, three powerful young voices took the stage to describe their hopes for the future. Jasmin Akter, who captained Team England at the Street Child United Cricket World Cup highlighted the need for equal opportunities and access for girls in sport. Molly Thompson-Smith, five time national lead climbing champion spoke on her drive to diversify climbing and the need for a more diverse range of role models, whilst Freya Levy, a current member of the UK and England wheelchair rugby 7s team described her campaign for access to sporting opportunities for disabled people and normalising in the media.
The event also saw the launch of Beyond Sport UK Working Groups to develop and spread best practice vis a vis different social issues and approaches. Group members will include senior personnel from sporting bodies, grassroots initiatives and brands committed to sport for good, in addition to inspirational cause-driven athletes.
Nick Keller said: With the range of challenges facing society today, we have never needed sports’ contributions more. This seminal forum highlighted the clear thirst for impact and the real measure of success will be ongoing work. We look forward to engaging with partners and stakeholders through the Working Groups to make this happen.
Beyond Sport: Karen Asare, [email protected], +1 (646) 854 5535
Wide PR (for Beyond Sport): Nik Pollinger, [email protected],+44 (0) 20 3289 9671
Notes to Editors
1. About Beyond Sport
Beyond Sport is the leading global force for sustainable social change through sport. The organization achieves this by convening, supporting and advising leaders from the worlds of sport, business, government and development on how sport can be used as a tool to achieve both social and business objectives, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With its robust global connections and experience and expertise built up over more than a decade, Beyond Sport has the ability to see how diverse sectors can effectively work together to accelerate positive social change through sport – and the platforms to bring them together. beyondsport.org
2. About Sport England
Sport England is a public body which invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.sportengland.org
3. Beyond Sport UK made possible by:
Headline Partners: Beyond Sport and Sport England
Official Partners: UK Sport, the FA, Commonwealth Games Federation, Supported by Mayor of London
Official Sponsors: EVERFI, Autodesk
Champion Partners: NFL, Wimbledon, Sport Industry Group, ECB
Development Partners: Sport for Development Coalition, UNICEF