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Partnering with your community to achieve social outcomes


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A 3-hour workshop focused on how community partners can use sport as a tool for bringing communities together, creating social integration and achieving social outcomes which change people’s lives.

Sport and physical activity can play a key role in tackling many social outcomes, including:

  • Improving health and increasing physical fitness
  • Reducing obesity
  • Creating a safer and more cohesive community
  • Reducing anti-social behaviour and youth offending
  • Improving educational attainment in your community
  • Reducing the misuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing

However when we seek to use sport and physical activity to achieve broader social outcomes it is important to recognise that, whilst getting people active is a powerful tool, it is not a solution in and of itself.

To give an example, imagine a young person who has a parent who is struggling with addiction and who has limited social support and poor attendance at school. Taking that young person and having them play football once a week will not automatically improve their life chances.What it does mean is that young person now has an element of structure in their life which can act as a point of engagement and a platform to connect them with other people, services and opportunities which can enrich and improve their life for the better. If they were invited directly to a homework club, a counselling service or a drug and alcohol support group they may never show up, but through sport, we can seek to reach people who may otherwise not have felt able to engage.

Nonetheless, we must recognise that the audiences we hope to work with may have very diverse relationships with sport and physical activity. Sport does not resonate with everyone and hence it will not automatically act as a cohesive ingredient in every situation; least of all with those for whom sport is not a current part of their lives.

However with careful curation, the appeal of sport can be broadened, to encompass a wider definition and a greater range of activities, alongside creating welcoming and positive environments which anyone can feel part of.

This workshop focuses on how sports providers and community organisations can work together to create sport and physical activity environments that act as a gateway to tackling a range of social outcomes.

A 3-hour workshop

Over the course of 3 hours the workshop will explore:

  • Understanding sport and physical activity as a tool to engage different audiences for different social purposes
  • The values that we want to promote through sport and physical activity
            an understanding of other beliefs, ideas and approaches
            mutual respect
            shared goals
            cooperation and support for one another
  • Understanding the relationship that different types of people have with sport & physical activity
  • Role models – why do they matter and why they should look like your audience
  • An introduction to contact theory – how contact between groups reduces prejudice and intergroup hostility
  • How to create positive contact situations within sport and physical activity
  • How to work with social prescribers and best help them and their clients to achieve their mental and physical health objectives
  • Partnering with the local community – identifying local organisations with expertise in the community issues of interest
  • Sharing expertise – working collaboratively to combine relevant expertise from different partners
  • Not just sport – how and when to introduce other services, support and opportunities
  • 10 steps to create shared value and become a hub for your community

Participants will discuss how to develop community relevance and become a connected deliverer who focuses on what we can do for you, what you can do for us and what we can do together. Participants will be encouraged to be seen and heard within their local community and to seek out community partners from a range of partners including faith groups and centres, arts and cultural groups, local charities, health providers and neighbourhood associations.

Throughout the session, the workshop will incorporate case studies which showcase examples where sport has been used for social change in practice. There will also be a number of exercises to allow participants to practice the skills they are learning and explore different ways a scenario may play out in practice.

Participants will receive the following takeaway resources from the session:

  • Factors to support a positive contact situation
  • 10 steps to create shared value for your community

At the end of the workshop, the participants will have a clear idea of how to begin working in partnership to use sport and physical activity to achieve a range of social outcomes.