Active Through Football
An exciting new programme from Sport England, funded by The National Lottery and delivered by the Football Foundation.
What we're trying to achieve?
Increased understanding of opportunities/barriers for target audience to play football, through community engagement
Increased involvement of target audience in design and delivery of activities through ongoing community engagement.
Increased activity levels in people aged 16+ from target audience through football.
Target audience sustain improved long-term physical activity habits through behaviour change.
Selecting the Places
In July 2020, we wrote to stakeholders across 50 local authority areas to make them aware of their opportunity to apply for Active Through Football investment.
To support our shortlisting, we created a strategic mapping tool that utilised deprivation, physical activity levels and socioeconomic group data to identify the highest concentrations of our target audiences across the country in each local authority area.
This mapping provided us with a shortlist of 50 local authority areas spread across the
country where we wanted to engage stakeholders and share further details.
Following a competitive application process through to the summer of 2021, the decision was made that targeted revenue investment would initially be invested in 13 Places over the next five years, with an aim of tackling some of the inequalities that make certain communities less active than others.
Successful consortia from the following 13 Places have accepted their Grant Offer. Each consortium has an appointed lead organisation which is also shown below:
|Shortlisted Area||Lead Organisation|
|Barnsley||Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council|
|Birmingham||Aston Villa Foundation|
|Blackpool||Blackpool FC Community Trust|
|Leeds||Leeds United Foundation|
|Plymouth||Argyle Community Trust|
|Rotherham||Rotherham United Community Sports Trust|
|Stockton-on-Tees||North Riding FA|
The answer to tackling these inequalities doesn’t sit with one organisation! For the biggest impact to be achieved, we know that collaboration is key.
For that reason, shortlisted areas were challenged to establish a consortium made up of a broad range of organisations who cut across sectors and understand their audiences and communities, including local community organisations.
For those areas successful with their application, organisations are now working in partnership with one another to share their learning and expertise around the people and place they’re engaging. It is hoped that the membership base and structure will grow and develop organically with each project, supporting them to deliver against the programme outcomes.
Engaging the community
The programme has adopted a ‘bottom up’ approach to working with communities. Our evidence shows that the best community projects are designed and delivered in partnership with the community, and communities are more likely to take part in activities and use facilities if they’ve been included in the development. That is why community engagement has been placed at the heart of this approach and used to inform all projects.
For us, community engagement is about talking, listening, and working with people to understand their needs and build relationships and trust. This should be an ongoing process that includes the community in the design and delivery of activities and facilities leading to a greater level of community ownership.
We’ve developed a Community Engagement Toolkit to support projects looking to work this way.
It’s in communities, and organisations within them, where the inequalities specific to that area can be best understood, and where the best prospects of tackling them lie.
Consortia members have identified a place or a small number in which they’ll work. A plan for the place will be implemented which focuses on working with the community to activate a range of key settings, predominantly through the delivery of recreational and informal small-sided football. Over time, the plan will support the development of a local workforce so communities can take on the delivery of activities long term and facilitate groups to self-organise, to support long term sustainability.