Back to all News

Sport for Change Impact in 2015-16

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

Please note that this refers to impact and learning from our Partnership Awards (previously Development Awards). These differ from our Open Grant awards and seek to test new ways of working and to build evidence around what works, what doesn't work and why in areas of particular interest to us, as part of our wider Innovation and Learning approach. These awards cannot be applied for through our open application process. Instead, organisations may be invited to apply, or awards may be advertised openly for application, depending on the programme. 

The Robertson Trust has had a long-standing interest in supporting community sport projects and understanding the potential they have as diversionary activities for young people. More recently we have recognised the specific area of Sport for Change where sporting activities are intentionally used to deliver social impact for individuals and communities beyond increasing participation in sport.

Through our theme of Sport for Change we aim to:

  • Increase understanding of Sport for Change approaches and ‘what works’ when trying to develop sustainable sports organisations that meet the needs of their communities.
  • Develop the evidence base on what type of approaches are most likely to be effective.
  • Support funded organisations to deliver better impact through sport.
  • Inform the policy and practice environment around Sport for Change.

What we did >

We funded, managed and evaluated a number of programmes which fall into three portfolios:

Working with Young People aims to develop the evidence base about the types of approaches that are most likely to be effective at engaging hard to reach young people.

Supporting Organisational Capacity and Sustainability explores what core skills, resources and infrastructure community sport organisations require in order to be more sustainable and impactful.

Strategic Support and Sectoral Development seeks to improve understanding among policy makers and practitioners around the core skills, resources and infrastructure required by community sports organisations and to identify what support, leadership and investment may be required to deliver this.

Within these portfolios we:

  • Facilitated conversations with key strategic partners working in the field of Sport for Change, including Scottish Government, sportscotland and national third sector organisations.
  • Published and shared evidence with a range of stakeholders, including reports containing learning from programmes such as Active East and Legacy 2014: Sustainable Sport for Communities
  • Presented at a national Sport for Change conference in Manchester and a further three in Scotland
  • Were invited to join the National Strategic Group for Sport and Physical Activity Evidence Sub Group which is tasked with looking at and strengthening the evidence base around sport and physical activity
  • Commissioned research to explore how Sport for Change, as an approach to deliver positive impact for individuals and communities, cane be developed and supported within Scotland

What we have learned >

  • When delivered in the right way sport and physical activity can be valuable vehicles for achieving positive social outcomes for individuals and communities. However, participation in sport does not automatically result in positive outcomes being achieved. Sport organisations need to be supported to articulate what outcomes they are trying to achieve and how to achieve and measure them.
  • Community sports organisations may require additional support with capacity, skills and knowledge to help them take on wider aspects of organisational operation, governance and development beyond delivery of sport.
  • Many community sports organisations work in relative isolation from the non-sporting third sector and statutory partners in their area. Partnerships tend to be with other sporting delivery agencies. Signposting community sports organisations to other third sector support agencies may help to improve their broader sustainability.
  • There are some critical factors which can support organisations to be more sustainable and have the potential for greater impact on a wide range of social outcomes. These include having:
    • A focus on governance and planning
    • A clear sense of the impact that they want to make with their work
    • A focus on building relationships with their service users/customers
    • Strong partnership relationships with sporting and non-sporting bodies

What is changing as a result of our work?

The external evaluation for our Youth Work in Sport programme has identified improved skills for funded organisations. For example:

  • They are better able to evidence the impact of their work
  • They are better able to engage, build and sustain new relationships with young people
  • In some cases there is evidence that the learning is informing the activities of the wider organisation, not just those related to the funded project

To keep in touch with our Sport for Change work, please follow us on Twitter.

Download our full Impact Report 2015-16 for case studies and breakdown of impact made in other themes.