Sport meets social issues
Could a County Sports Partnership help your area?
By Lee Mason, Chief Executive, County Sports Partnership Network
The County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) has much in common with Local Trust – we both want to improve lives. Find out what CSPs do and how they could help your area.
At the end of 2015, Government announced the biggest shake up of sports policy in more than a decade. Their new strategy emphasised that the needs of individuals will shape how sport and physical activity is provided for them. What’s more, success will be viewed by how being active contributes to improving physical and mental wellbeing, and individual, social, community and economic development.
So, like Local Trust, County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) have a community and resident led approach. We help residents to identify what matters most to them, understand what barriers they face to being physically active and work out how sport and physical activity can help improve lives.
Our Fit Villages, in Suffolk’s smallest villages, brought physical activity to village communities that did not have existing provision to be active. Developed and led by the community, in partnership with the CSP, the programme successfully got inactive adults more active and harnessed community connectivity.
There’s a CSP near you!
The network of CSPs is made up of 44 independent organisations covering every Local Authority area in England, which are committed to improving lives through grassroots sport and physical activity. Collectively CSPs employ 735 staff, who work collaboratively with non-sporting and sporting partners to identify the needs of local communities and look at how sport and physical activity can be part of an integrated solution.
Physical activity changes lives
Further examples of our work include a collaborative project in the West Midlands, which engaged hard-to-reach young people who are involved or at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. CSPs helped to secure investment from the Police and Crime Commissioner to make it happen.
The project provides diversionary activities tailored to the young people’s interests, as well as qualifications and volunteering opportunities that help build self-esteem. 75% of those involved reported improved and increased aspiration, confidence and communication skills. Here sport and physical activity was used as a tool to tackle multiple issues and deliver outcomes which benefited the people living in these communities. Find out more about the project.
Get in touch with your local CSP
A number of Big Local areas are already collaborating with CSPs and receiving guidance and support to maximise opportunities to improve their communities. We are aware that sport and physical activity won’t be what matters most in some Big Local areas. However, sport and physical activity has many benefits, often helping to address issues we may not expect and will likely have a contribution to make to the challenges you are tackling. If you are interested in sport and physical activity, or just wellbeing in general, I would recommend that you get in touch with your local CSP to see how they could help you.
Please click here to find contact details for your local CSP.