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Sports and activities sector

From grassroots to commercial: How is the sector supporting the sports and activities sector?

April 15, 2024

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From volunteers to supporting apprenticeships, there is a great deal of support available to keep organisations in the sector running. How could your business or organisation take advantage by improving the environment for volunteers, supporting activity for women and girls, or bringing on new talent?


Supporting volunteers at the grassroots level

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has launched new practical online support tools to help sport organisations and volunteers in Europe. For many grassroots organisations, passionate volunteers are the backbone of their organisations, and there is serious evidence that volunteering is declining. Most sports organisations especially grassroots are facing challenges with volunteer recruitment, management, and training.

V4V project

The V4V project has produced two new online tools to support organisations and volunteers. A free Practical Toolkit for Sports Organisations will help you assess your volunteering strengths and weaknesses and provide research-based resources and good practice case studies to improve in areas like recruitment, retention, and training.

There will also be an online training program called “Accelerating Volunteering in Sport” that provides in-depth but quick and easy courses with tips on creating a successful volunteering programme. The tools, based on extensive research, include a survey of 2,723 sports organisations, giving a detailed report of the realities, opportunities, and challenges facing sports volunteering in Europe.


Supporting physical activity for women and girls

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for evidence of how councils and organisations are supporting women and girls to be more physically active. The LGA is looking for case studies of interventions and activities that are effectively tackling inactivity and low participation levels in girls and women, as well as evidence of what’s not working and what needs to change.

The findings will be shared to influence effective practice and assist in shaping discussions with national stakeholders. CIMSPA has encouraged its members and partners to contribute evidence to the LGA, as part of their commitment to supporting, developing and enabling professionals in the sector.

This call for evidence comes after the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee published a report in March 2024 on the health barriers for girls and women in sport. The Committee heard oral evidence in late 2022 and early 2023 on girls’ and women’s experiences of sexism and inequality in football. It also focused on whether girls and women in sports more widely have been affected by a relative lack of understanding and attention given to female health and physiology-related needs.


Supporting businesses with employing apprentices

The UK Prime Minister has recently announced changes to apprenticeship funding arrangements to support small businesses. From April 1st 2024, small businesses that do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have the full cost of apprenticeship training funded for anyone up to 21. This replaces the previous ‘co-investment’ scheme that required non-Levy paying employers to partly fund the training.

The amount that Apprenticeship Levy paying organisations can transfer to support other organisations will increase from 25% to 50%. This will channel existing unused Levy funds from large businesses to enable smaller businesses to benefit from having an apprentice. The government has stated that this announcement is underpinned by £60 million of new funding, and it expects these measures to enable 20,000 more apprenticeships.

For sectors like the activities and sports sectors, the changes will encourage greater degrees of vocational training among prospective coaches and other sports professionals. Decreasing the burden on training new talent is an important step in creating a fruitful environment for training in the workplace.


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