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Power of Sport Toolkit

Welcome to the Power of Sport toolkit. This toolkit will enable you to explore the vital role that sports and physical activity programmes can play in supporting better social cohesion and integration in local communities and local places.

We know that sports programmes and activities are already having a positive impact on social cohesion and inclusion. Many may not be aware they are doing this. Others have a better understanding of their impact and are already able to demonstrate this.

This toolkit brings together a wealth of best practice examples, guidance, practical tools and resources to help those who are designing and evaluating sports and physical activity programmes deliver better cohesion and integration outcomes. It presents a stream-lined, accessible, step-by-step guide to design and evaluation.

The Belong Network work together with our members to advocate for a kinder, fairer, inclusive British society. If you would like to join us you can find more details of how to do that here.

What do the terms cohesion and integration mean?

Cohesion and integration are terms that describe the extent to which people from different backgrounds mix, interact and get along with each other. Those differences are typically ethnicity or faith, but they could also be social class, age, gender or disability. Building cohesive communities is about developing neighbourhoods, workplaces, institutions and social spaces where difference is welcomed and celebrated. It is about moving beyond narratives of “us” and “them” towards ideas of kindness, trust, shared identity and a sense of belonging between groups. The terms cohesion and integration have been used at different times to describe this important idea in different ways, but here we are using them as entirely interchangeable.

What role can sport play in building cohesive communities?

Sport has a unique power to bring people together. When we approach sport the right way, it can play a powerful role in bridging divides and helping people to understand and connect with one another. Designed well, sport has the power to break down barriers between individuals and challenge ingrained prejudices. This toolkit explains how sport can help to build greater social cohesion and provides practical support for designing and evaluating sports and physical activities that can help to achieve this.

Is this toolkit for you?

Are you designing or delivering a sports programme or activity involving sports that will bring people from different backgrounds together?

Are you designing or delivering a sports programme or activity involving sports that you think could play a role in helping to build more cohesive communities?

Are you commissioning a programme that is focused on improving social cohesion, or which could play a role in helping build more cohesive communities?

Are you conducting an evaluation of a sports programme or activity involving sports that involves people from different groups?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this toolkit is for you!

This toolkit is for those commissioning, designing, delivering and evaluating sports programmes that could play a role in helping to strengthen cohesion and integration in their local area.

  • Funders and commissioners can ask for proposals to be submitted on the basis of toolkit completion
  • Project initiators can design and evaluate their project with the aid of this toolkit

How do you use this toolkit?

This toolkit provides best practice examples, opportunities to reflect on your practice, and questionnaires to support and develop your understanding. You can save your results and come back at any time! After each section, we will email you a copy of your answers to save for future reference.

Each section includes:

  • Key questions about your programme:
    • What are the social cohesion outcomes you might be able to help address?
    • Who are the target audiences?
    • How will you design your programme in a way that will support social integration and cohesion?
    • How will you check that you are having your intended impact?
  • Best practice examples and case studies from other sports programmes
  • Signposting to relevant data sources, research and resources
  • Templates and mini activities to develop your knowledge and improve your practice

What does this toolkit contain?

This toolkit:

  1. explains how sport and physical activity can lead to greater cohesion and integration
  2. provides a practical guide to support you in the design and evaluation of these activities

It is structured around sequenced steps, based on the different stages of programme development, delivery and evaluation, as displayed in the following flowchart: