Game changer

Think tank: Centre for Social Justice

Author(s): Dr Sam Bruce; Sabrina Hummel

September 23, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Social Justice looks at the Government’s Get Active Strategy.

We welcome the ambitions set out in the Government’s recently published Get Active Strategy. However, we now need a clear, strategic national plan delivering on those ambitions—especially for disadvantaged children and young people. This report sets out clearly how this can be achieved across government policy areas including criminal justice, education, family, local communities, health, skills and employment.

Efforts to widen access to out of school activities through the National Youth Guarantee are a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, in both cases we have taken evidence suggesting that funds are not being used to full effect, with low levels of accountability and cash leaking into different programmes.

Meanwhile, the potential to leverage the immense private wealth, philanthropic appetite, and new innovation surrounding youth sport is left largely untapped. Charities such as OnSide are harnessing private philanthropy to significantly increase the supply of first-class youth infrastructure. The Nick Maughan Foundation has supported the roll out of the innovative BoxWise programme at 42 venues across the UK, including in partnership with the youth homeless charity Centrepoint. And brands including Nike and Adidas have led innovative schemes, matching employee donations to their impact funds and collaborating with Premier League Football Clubs to address issues including knife crime.

Yet, all too often, Government has missed opportunities to innovate sustainable and effective funding streams for sports. Opportunities to develop Social Outcomes Contracts, partnerships and match funding have repeatedly been missed. This report calls for an entirely new approach, bringing together government, schools, sport governing bodies, community organisations and philanthropists to widen sporting opportunities for all young people.