The CSP Network has today welcomed the new strategy published by the Government, Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation. The strategy signals a change of direction for investment in grassroots sport and physical activity, including a greater focus on children and a commitment to tackling growing levels of inactivity. It encourages the sport sector to adapt better to changing consumer trends, places more attention on the wider benefits derived by individuals and communities from their participation in sport and activity, more locality based investment and a strengthening of governance and welfare in sport.
Chair of CSP Network, Richard Saunders MBE, said:
“Our mission is to improve people’s lives by growing grassroots sport and physical activity, and this new strategy will mean even greater alignment between Government aspirations and the aims of our network. We are passionate about the power of sport to enhance health and wellbeing, create stronger communities, stimulate employment and economic growth, develop young people and improve educational attainment. We are pleased to see the 5 key outcomes placed at the heart of the new strategy.
Our network structure of local CSPs that adapt to meet the needs of their communities means that we are well placed to support the drive to enable decentralisation to local areas whilst benefitting from economies of scale and replicating what works. We link national bodies with local partners and we welcome the support for ‘local areas to take collective ownership for the sport and physical activity agenda’ and the commitment to significant locality based investment. We will continue to facilitate local partnerships with our key partners in local government and everyone involved in sport to combine effort, reduce duplication and enhance impact.
We adopt a holistic approach supporting people of all ages and backgrounds to get active through a range of sport and physical activities. We therefore particularly welcome the increased focus on engaging under-represented groups, the ‘removal of unhelpful distinctions between sport and physical activity’, and the extension of Sport England’s remit to ensure children from an early age are given the skills and motivation to develop an early love of an active lifestyle.”
Lee Mason, CSP Network Chief Executive, commented:
“This new strategy signals a need for a change in approach and this is something we fully embrace. Whilst CSPs have become an important element of the sporting landscape, have successfully delivered high profile national programmes, and have good stakeholder support; we recognise that there is significant change taking place within our operating environment and that we need to adapt in order to meet the changing needs of our customers, communities and stakeholders. We therefore welcome the proposed independent review of the role of CSPs and have already begun work to create a stimulating and aspirational vision to ensure the ‘next generation’ of CSPs are fit for their future role in delivering local and national priorities.
We feel CSPs are well placed to help create the increased customer centric approach the strategy is calling for, focusing on helping the local sporting infrastructure to become ‘more productive, sustainable and responsive’ to customer needs, and helping drive a cultural shift in grassroots sport.”
It was also announced in the strategy that Government will commit to the Workplace Challenge run by CSP Network as part of its wider approach to promoting the wellbeing of civil servants. The Workplace Challenge provides a unique mix of technology and on the ground support from County Sports Partnerships for businesses to get active. Lee Mason welcomed this commitment:
“It’s fantastic to see that government will lead by example to other employers and provide Civil Servants with access to the Workplace Challenge. Our evidence based approach will enable government to realise the benefits of a healthy and active workforce. We hope many more employers will follow in the footsteps of government and join the Workplace Challenge community which already includes 38,000 employees from over 5,000 workplaces across England.”
Other businesses are encouraged to get involved in the ‘New Year New Business’ campaign which starts in January with a National 8 Week Activity Log Challenge and a campaign which encourages employers to get their workforce active focusing on revolutionising the lunch break!