CEO Arun Kang OBE Statement: Uniting The Movement Sport England 10-Year Strategy Review

The new Sport England 10-year strategy known as 'Uniting the Movement' has now been officially launched. Sporting Equals wanted to firstly take the opportunity to commend everyone at Sport England involved in the new strategy for its strong commitment to tackling inequalities/The focus on a bottom-up approach supports our own method of approach with our extensive and growing network of member organisations.  
 
One aspect of the strategy that we feel it is prudent to acknowledge is that policies, practices and engagement strategies must be devised with an understanding of the varied diverse communities that the sector serves. There have been continuous evidenced failings of engagement with ethnically diverse communities, particularly Black and South Asian communities as evidenced by successive Active Lives datasets. It must be noted that a one size fits all approach would not be impactful in terms of delivering a resolve to the problems that we are facing as a sector. 
 
There are challenges we must tackle around issues of intersectionality and ensuring the barriers that prevent some communities from being active, and more active, and we must be more mindful and proactive with when reviewing policies, practices and resources. The issue of race and discrimination has come to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic and we feel it would be useful for these lenses to be adopted to ensure we can deliver inclusive spaces for communities to better engage in and with the sport and physical activity sector. Through partnerships and working collaboratively we can make a positive difference.  
We were appreciative of the acknowledgment for a need to be working closely with those that are trusted amongst the most marginalised communities. We also thought the exploration of digitising the sector was very timely and will be much needed as we look forward to rebuilding the delivery of sport and physical activity post the COVID-19 pandemic. However,  it may be worth noting that the number of families and individuals from ethnically diverse communities do not have digital access and this concerns us with how engagement is still being approached when looking at the communities we at Sporting Equals work with. Considering that our work is amongst a multitude of inactive communities, it was important for us to see less of “sport” mentioned and more of a focus on “movement” was really encouraging.  
The pandemic has resulted in decreased levels of participation and activity in sport setting back the progress of many ethnically diverse communities particularly Black and South Asian communities  as highlighted by the Active Lives (October 2020) dataset. We sincerely hope that moving forward,  a key part of this strategy will be actively checking and challenging any notions of delivery which may cause further exclusionary practices to these already disengaged groups.
 
We have been actively working towards creating healthier, fairer and stronger communities and we are pleased to see that this strategy resonates with that ethos. We look optimistically to seeing the impact of this strategy over the next decade.