SportInspired partnership with UBS wins 2016 London Sport Resources Award

SportInspired partnership with UBS won the 2016 London Sport Resources Award

SportInspired partnership with UBS won the 2016 London Sport Resources Award


SportInspired’s long-standing partnership with UBS was awarded one of eight prestigious awards by London Sport in recognition of the charity’s approach to maximising the impact of resources to deliver social change through grassroots sport.

The SportInspired ‘UBS Games’ programme in Hackney won the 2016 Resources Award, supported by the Greater London Authority. UBS has partnered with SportInspired for the last eight years. Since 2009 the firm has provided a combination of volunteers and funding towards the ‘UBS Games’ to increase activity levels, confidence and life-skills among young people in Hackney, by helping them find a sport they love. UBS volunteers are at the heart of programme delivery, with hundreds of UBS employees annually volunteering and fundraising to deliver the Games. The programme empowers them as role models for young people, while building a long-term relationship between UBS and the community.

The programme was introduced in response to the levels of deprivation and physical inactivity in the borough – Hackney is the second most deprived borough in London and at the time had only 43% of pupils participating in physical activity inside or outside school, compared to the 55% national average. To help address these challenges, since their inception, the ‘UBS Games’ programme has supported more than 7,000 children in Hackney to become more physically active and has worked with over 1,000 children to improve their employability skills. With UBS’s support, the charity has established 68 school sports programmes and has engaged 2,500 corporate volunteers.

SportInspired’s CEO and founder, Richard Raynes, commented: “We are thrilled to have been recognised for the impact that our programmes have in terms of increasing the levels of physical activity, developing young people’s skills and bringing communities together.”

“When we first started working in Hackney, we were astounded at the disconnect between local community clubs, housing associations and schools – preventing the clubs from reaching children and helping them get more active. Our experience over the years has taught us that this is a relevant issue for a lot of deprived communities in the UK – not so much the lack of resources, but the connectivity between them.”

“Our approach to addressing this challenge was developed through our ‘UBS Games’ partnership – we put the asset-based community development approach (ABCD) at the heart of our model, allowing us to deliver more for less. Our Games support communities to be more resourceful with what they’ve already got.”

Nick Wright, Managing Director, Global / EMEA Community Affairs, UBS said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award for the partnership with SportInspired. UBS has supported SportInspired since its inception as part of our strategic Community Affairs programme, which has targeted support towards our neighbouring Borough of Hackney for over 30 years. UBS values its partnership with SportInspired because of the charity’s ability to develop and execute programmes that create lasting community change, engage employees year after year, and which help meet our Community Affairs programme objectives.”

SportInspired’s goal in 2017 is to reach over 12,500 children in the UK by delivering programmes in 25 communities. Their work in Hackney continues this year with the ‘UBS Games’ scheduled for this summer.


For further information, contact:
Lidia Borisova
SportInspired Development Director
Tel: +44 75 8062 8576

About SportInspired

SportInspired is a national charity based in London, but works with people all over the UK. The charity’s vision is of connecting communities, where people enjoy being active. Its mission is to turn the tide of inactivity through fun and inclusive community programmes which bring together local businesses, sports clubs, schools and councils, inspiring new connections, life skills and opportunities.

SportInspired started in 2008 and since then, has worked with over 70,000 people across the UK with a strong vision, backed by big ambitions of how to increase and develop further. SportInspired was awarded a Big Society Award by David Cameron in 2013 for the work that they do. At the time, the Prime Minister said: “SportInspired are bringing together people in communities across the country and using the power of sport to build young people’s life skills, confidence and to improve their health. I’m impressed by their fast growth and their simple, yet powerful ambition.”

About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.

UBS UK’s Community Affairs programme aims to overcome disadvantage in its neighbouring London Borough of Hackney and surrounding communities by supporting education and social entrepreneurship through a combination of targeted funding and the commitment and skills of its employees.

Farewell Jordan!

A few weeks ago I returned home to the United States after spending two months studying abroad in London, and although I spent much of my time sight seeing and traveling about the country, it doesn’t take much thought to know the time I spent at SportInspired was some of the best I experienced in the UK.

Walking in my first day I didn’t know what to expect, but straight away as I was welcomed by Rosie, Kat and the rest of the SportInspired team I knew this was going to be a place I would smile walking into each day. From the beginning I wasn’t treated as an outsider, but a member of the family, and on the second day I was already out at Olympic Park for a SportInspired festival at the Copper Box Arena. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into preparing for these festivals, whether that be confirming schools and volunteers or making sure all the sport coaches would be there, but when you see the smiling and laughing faces of the primary school children running through the welcome tunnel it’s instantly worth it. These festivals allow children of any level of athleticism, of any level of involvement in physical activity, find a sport to fall in love with that they may not have found otherwise. These festivals teach these kids, and possibly the young leaders and adult volunteers as well, the true meaning of sport — and that’s a beautiful thing.

At no point during my time at SportInspired could I ever question the level of devotion the SI team had as it worked to achieve its goal. So, while it saddens me I won’t be able to be there every day to help, I take solace in knowing everyone who is there will get the job done. No question about it.

Thank you SportInspired, your impact on the communities you work with can never truly be measured.

Jordan Guskey

SportInspired Intern Summer 2016

Interns from around the world

Just as our Games are diverse in the use of different sports and various means to ensure the day is a smashing success for all involved, so too is the SportInspired intern staff. The places we call home stretch from across the Atlantic Ocean to mainland Europe, so why not get to know us a little more? You’ve seen us from time to time at events across the UK, running around as we give reign to the sport-loving kid inside of us, so here’s a little about the people behind the collared shirts …

Jordan Guskey

  • From: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  • Role: Marketing Intern
  • Why SportInspired: I grew up loving sports and appreciating firsthand how important volunteering in my local community is, so when the opportunity arose to work at a place like this I just couldn’t pass it up.
  • Notable experience so far: My second day on the job I was out at an event at The Copper Box Arena in Olympic Park. My first SportInspired Games was amazing and I can’t speak enough about how incredible an area it was for the Games to take place.
  • Fun Fact: I’ve spent much of my life growing up in America but this isn’t the first time I’ve crossed an ocean for a period of time. I spent three years of my childhood growing up in Japan and have taken trips to China, Australia and more. You know what? Sport truly does transcend cultural differences.

Roman Goldstein

  • From: Cannes, France
  • Role: Marketing Intern
  • Why SportInspired: I was looking for an internship that could help me improve some of my professional skills related to marketing and communications, but wanted an employer who understood the importance of giving back to society and gave me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people.
  • Notable experience so far: I took part in my first Games this past week and watching the 150-plus kids, some with disabilities, I smile remembering how the other children did their best to help their classmates move past their disabilities and take part in all the activities. It was great to see a team with children with disabilities win the “team-spirit” trophy and see the joy on their faces. As someone who’s never really been present for moments with kids like this, it’s something I’ll never forget.
  • Fun Fact: I have the worst luck watching a football game, or any sporting event really. If I need to get up to go do something real quick you can be sure there’ll be a goal or some hugely significant moment.

Michael Balabanov

  • From: Munich, Germany
  • Role: Finance Intern
  • Why SportInspired: This internship makes possible my desire to give something back to the community. Watching the children enjoy themselves, gain confidence and self-esteem and improve their skills with teamwork and communication represents the pinnacle of all my work at SportInspired.
  • Notable experience so far: Already I’ve had the opportunity to help out at a SportInspired Games Festival where the competitors were a mix of children aged seven to nine with and without disabilities. They were able to try out 6 different sports like wheelchair-basketball, football and cycling, and throughout the day it was amazing to see the impact sports can have on children’s lives as their faces lit up with big smiles.
  • Fun Fact: A fun thing about me is I am a ski instructor and have been teaching kids for three years. It’s been a great experience for me so far. Kids learn best when they are having fun, it makes learning easier and more natural.

Tre-Jordan Smith

  • From: London, United Kingdom
  • Role: Finance Intern
  • Why SportInspired: It was a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people all while doing something great for the community. I have learned so much by having first hand experience in the finance role and it’s great to know that your efforts are contributing to an overall greater cause.
  • Notable experience so far: One thing I found quite fun during the festivals was blowing the loud horn to let everyone know when it is time to change games. It’s quite amusing how all the hustle and bustle in the room suddenly stops and everyone turns to look at you, quite startling actually!
  • Fun Fact: I love listening to all types of music and a hobby of mine is making my own songs.

Learn, have fun, and be active… the amazing Lloyds Banking Group ‘Active Learning Programmes’

Surely there’s a mistake in the title above? Can you really help young people to learn through being active and actually enjoy it?

This week, 900 of the fabulous Lloyds Banking Group staff are finding out the answer, as part of their annual Give & Gain Week through their partnership with national charity, SportInspired. Employees spend some of their work time volunteering in the communities local to where they work. Since 2008, nearly 20,000 employee volunteers have helped inspire young people through our Games programmes, and we remain as passionate as ever about the difference volunteering makes. The influx of new role models, new skills and new ideas brings a community together, builds confidence and re-injects energy and passion. For the sponsoring employer, it is a powerful tool in the development and engagement of the individual, and the motivation and pride of the workforce, while building all manner of sustainable relationships with local stakeholders.

2016 brings an exciting new approach to the SportInspired Games programmes: ‘Active Learning’. Lloyds volunteers are helping us get 2,000 children and teenagers across the UK to learn new knowledge and skills through being active. This is a hugely engaging way of helping people learn a variety of skills from teamwork, to leadership, to resilience and even helping embed academic subjects such as science and maths in fun ways. Across the UK Lloyds volunteers are being role models and mentors for the children this week, giving even the least confident a safe environment for them to express themselves, try new things and have fun through being active.

We’ve had some great outcomes in previous years, and we know we’ll see the same from 2016. In Edinburgh, we were honoured to have Frankie come back to visit us. We first worked with Frankie in 2014, who back then, was shy and held back. The Lloyds volunteers cheered him on and gave him so much confidence that he discovered trampolining as a way to have fun and develop his skills. He’s been going to the local trampolining club ever since, and this year, he came back to showcase his new skills to over 300 children, young people and volunteers. The change for him, throughout his life, has been incredible.

For us, the SportInspired mission continues. If you too believe in the power of employee volunteering, and / or in having communities connected through young people enjoying being active, do get in touch. And a final word for our fantastic volunteers without whom it none of this would happened: THANK YOU – you really do make a difference.

Anna Springbett

“They made new friends and learned the value of fun over winning”

Four days into my two-month stint in London and on just my second day as an official intern for SportInspired, I found myself setting up game stations at The Copper Box Arena for the 2016 Newham Games.

The children who would enter in the coming hours hailed from John F. Kennedy, Carpenters, Park and Plaistow Primary Schools. They were football, basketball, cricket and tennis fans. They were runners, dancers and swimmers. They all fell in love with a new sport that day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

I, along with my fellow SportInspired team members, a host of Nike volunteers and young leaders from Chobham Academy, guided them from one activity to another.

The primary school children took turns at handball, basketball, wall-ball, dodgeball and table tennis. They braved some rain and tried cycling while also taking time to learn healthier ways to live. Split up into 24 teams, they competed for two trophies: an overall team points competition trophy and a team spirit trophy. The latter was larger than the former, and rightly so.

Sports are meant to bring people together and show how the joy of the game and teamwork are of a far higher order than the final score. While each child, young leader and Nike volunteer competed to win each competition, the sheer volume of their cheers for the team spirit trophy when it passed by drowned out everything else. The day’s focus helped children who were timid at first slowly come out of their shells. They made new friends and learned the value of fun over winning at-all-cost.

I sought to join the SportInspired team because I treasure what it was like to find sports as a youngster growing up in the United States. The friends I made then are still my friends now, and I haven’t lost any joy playing the sports we learned together. And yet, while much of the Newham Games reminded me of my youth, I learned something new that day.

I had never been exposed to wall-ball before the Newham Games, and discovering a new sport added fuel to the fire of my thought that sport is an entity that keeps on giving. SportInspired is about having fun. It is about teamwork. It is about trying new things. SportInspired is about the joy of discovery, and I can’t wait to experience that truth at future events.

As Will from Park Primary said: “I will remember how fun it was today and that I would like to come again.”


Jordan Guskey

SportInspired Marketing Intern

Fencing Frenzy Hits Hackney

Following the success of the summer ’15 UBS Games, 7 new sports clubs have been established in 6 of the local primary schools and there was one sport in particular that proved very popular among the pupils…

Little Musketeers are a club that introduces children as young as 3 to fencing in a fun and safe environment. They deliver specially designed programmes to schools, including extra curricular clubs and term time curriculum coaching. Queensbridge and Sebright Primaries used generous funds raised by UBS and donated to the schools to kick-start brand new fencing clubs, delivered by Little Musketeers, for their pupils.

We checked in with Keith Clarke, PE Co-ordinator from Sebright, after their first session to see how it went,

“The first lessons went really well, the classes were calm and focused. The SEN pupils fully enjoyed it. The Head, Janice Thomas was all smiles and said the pupils were fully engaged.”

A few months on, we checked back in with Keith and the long term impact of the fencing tuition on the kids was clear,

“He (the fencing coach) takes a challenging class and he manages to get them completely quiet. I can get them quiet because they know me but with outside guests, usually it’s difficult, but he gets them quiet. The moment he walks in with the fencing equipment, he’s got them in the palm of his hands.

We have 4 SEN pupils in that group who need 1:1 support but in the fencing class they’re perfect, they don’t need their 1:1.”

Q: Has behaviour improved more widely in other lessons as well as during fencing class?

“Yes, the lesson before and after fencing have improved dramatically.

They all love it and other kids in the school are all asking, ‘can we do fencing’, they all want to do it. There is a waiting list for the lunchtime club.

It’s unbelievable. The Headteacher is over the moon. She’s been wanting fencing since before I arrived at the school and I’ve been here for 11 years (!). The kids say thank you!!” 

We’re delighted for the school and for Little Musketeers. Both Sebright and Queensbridge will be continuing their clubs after their initial success during Terms 1 and 2 and De Beauvoir Primary will be following in these footsteps with their club commencing as of January 2016.

If you’re a school looking to introduce fencing or would like more information on the amazing Little Musketeers, please see their website here:

Let the fencing craze continue!


Kat Hodge, SportInspired Games Manager

Sporting Legacy Lives on in Wiltshire!

Selwood Housing and SportInspired joined forces earlier this year to support the communities in which Selwood work, to develop skills and inspire activity. The project launched with an inclusive and inspirational multi-sport festival in June 2015, which raised awareness of the sporting opportunities available for young people locally to inspire them to continue being active.

As a direct result, in September 2015 following the summer break, 3 brand new sports clubs started in 3 of the primary schools. One of these was a gymnastics club at The Manor School in Melksham. 3 months on the Headteacher, Kerry Haines, is more than pleased with how these sessions are progressing:

“The Selwood Housing funding has enabled us to hold a Gymnastic club once a week after school in term 2. Fifteen children in total attended the club, many of these children had not attended a gymnastics club outside of the school prior to this. The children developed a range of gymnastic skills which challenged them both physically and mentally. There was a big focus on working together and building confidence.

The club, funded by Selwood Housing, has helped us engage young people in a sport which may not be readily available to them, either through cost or accessibility to provision (Gymnastics clubs in Wiltshire have a 3-6 month waiting list). Several children have now show an interest in joining a local club to continue their training.

Lucy attended the club every week, she said;

“I really enjoyed gym club. You got to work with different people doing fun exercises. I can now do the splits which I could not do before. I also know how gymnasts should stand and finish routines.”

We hope that the delivery of this club has promoted an active lifestyle and given children the opportunity to try something other than sport in school. We plan to continue working with the gymnastic coaches, possibly introducing a new sport like trampolining to the children.”

The team here at SportInspired are delighted for the pupils and the and can’t wait to hear more about the trampolining! Four more new clubs like this are set to start in early 2016 across 4 of the other schools who were involved in the programme. Make sure you return here to read more about the lasting legacy of the first ever Selwood Housing Games!


An American Abroad

Once again SportInspired managed to get some fantastic interns from the USA. One of them was Clayre Sorenson. Clayre was with us for 3 months and delighted to share her experiences with us. Here is what she thought of being an Intern at SportInspired.


The thought of interning with a company in a foreign country can, just at the thought, be quite intimidating. However, after spending these past 3 months at SportInspired, I can easily say that this internship has been one of the best parts of my Study Abroad experience. Never did I think that it could be so rewarding.

My first day interning at SportInspired, I was warmly welcomed by the staff with friendly hellos and kind smiles. Everyone was so inviting! Over these past 3 months, they have really made an effort to get to know the true me. I have been able to form some truly wonderful relationships with my co-workers. Whether it’s doing loads of research for new possible contacts or cracking jokes about who is going to dominate in an after-work game of ping pong (Trust me: it’s unbelievably competitive), the atmosphere at SportInspired has been nothing but fun and enjoyable 100% of the time! Whether it is work-related or not, I knew I could always go to them for anything – especially as my go-to travel gurus, because let’s be serious: what country has Harry NOT visited?

It wasn’t until my first SportInspired Games that I was really able to grasp what is it that SportInspired is all about. My first thought: WOW – How incredible! To see the non-stop laughter and smiles spread across every kid’s face really just says it all – it was so infectious! As I was talking and playing with the kids, I could see pure joy and excitement in their eyes and radiate out from inside them. I could feel their enthusiasm as they moved from sport to sport, trying to decide which one was their favorite. The Games made me feel like a kid again! When the kids found out ALL of them were going home with a medal – it was as if Christmas came a day early! They were so unbelievably happy and truly proud of themselves and what all they accomplished that day. At that moment, I could tell the impact that SportInspired has on thousands of children each year. Sport is such a powerful thing. To be able to continue this enthusiasm and love these kids have for sport may only be a dream for some – but SportInspired… They’re making these dreams come true.

The passion that flows throughout SportInspired is something so inspiring. You can see how much everyone truly cares about making a difference in these children’s lives and truly believes in the message behind SportInspired. The people that make SportInspired what it is today are the true heroes – people that I proudly look up to. I can say I truly feel honored to have be a part of this SportInspired team and am sad that it has to come to an end.

So thank you, SportInspired, for this unbelievable opportunity to work for you and for the wonderful friendships made along the way. From the beginning, I have felt a part of the team, a part of the SportInspired Family. I knew that even though I was over 4,000 miles away from my own family, I could always count on having my SportInspired Family supporting me every step of the way. Thank you for the laughs, the memories, and the happiness – not only speaking on behalf of myself, but also from all the young lives that you have and will continue to touch. It’s such a great feeling to be SportInspired!

Clayre Sorenson, 2015 SportInspired Intern

Introducing the TUI Games

New partner. New community. New adventure.

Read all about our latest partnership and why we’re so excited to be working alongside them…

Who are TUI?

TUI are the world’s leading travel business. They are present in 180 countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia, to name just a few. In the UK market, they own brands such as Thomson, First Choice, Crystal Ski Holidays and Hayes & Jarvis. TUI UK employ over 13,000 employees and serve over 5.2 million customers each year.

Why the TUI Games?

With their head office based in Luton, a lot of their employees come from the local area. TUI are looking to increase their engagement with the local community and have therefore partnered with us at SportInspired to organise and run the TUI Games.

This project will bring the local community together and provide a platform for young people to develop skills through sport. The Games will launch in March 2016 with a multi-sport festival for 220 primary school children from the local area and up to 50 TUI employees who will volunteer to lead the sport activities and mentor the children on the day. This will be matched by 50 young leaders from local secondary schools, Ashcroft High, Stopsley High and Putteridge High who will work directly alongside TUI’s employees in similar roles to inspire every child to find a sport they enjoy.

Following the day, TUI will maintain and strengthen their links with these local schools to ensure a sustainable legacy is established for all those involved, including funding new sports clubs in primary schools and providing work experience opportunities for the secondary school students.

TUI have empowered their current group of placement students to develop aspects of the programme with us who we met with last month to brainstorm ideas on engaging parents. Thomas Barnett, Early Talent Manager from Tui says,

“We are really excited about this project and see this as a great opportunity to get involved in the local community and at the same time boost staff morale and engagement. Moreover, we hope that the Games will inspire the children to start thinking about their future prospects.

We have also met with Active Luton and Luton Borough Council who have expressed their support for the project and have been extremely pro-active to help us kick-start the first ever TUI Games. They will continue to be central partners in making this a huge success in the area.

Luton, watch this space! #TUIGames #DiscoverYourSmile


Selwood Housing & SportInspired: Our partnership

Selwood Housing and SportInspired joined forces earlier this year to support the communities in which Selwood work, to develop skills and activity levels, whilst bringing their own employees together to get to know their residents’ communities.

The project involved nearly 400 primary school children and 40 ‘young leaders’ from local secondary schools, being mentored and coached by Selwood Housing staff and 6 local sports clubs. It launched with an inspirational and inclusive multi-sport festival in June 2015, which raised awareness of the opportunities available for young people locally, as well as giving them access to role models through Selwood Housing staff and local sports coaches, to inspire them to continue being active. As a result, even the least sporty and confident children found a sport they could connect with. You can find the local press coverage of the festival here.

“Great to see Selwood Group staff engaging so well with the children. So many smiling faces and a really good experience” – Donna Bailey, Selwood Housing

After the sports festivals, the Legacy Programme began, to ensure longevity in the Selwood communities. This means a series of workshops with the children, to continue to build their confidence and knowledge of local clubs, setting up new clubs where there are gaps (8 have been established to date) and ensuring new relationships bloom between Selwood, schools, clubs and the local authority.

Feedback to date has shown:

  • Teachers report increased team work and communication skills in the children
  • Children rate their enjoyment of the programme at an average of 9.5/10
  • 8 new clubs have been set up across 8 schools in Trowbridge and Melksham
  • 10 other local programmes have been promoted to a large audience in the communities
  • 90% of Young Leaders and Selwood volunteers report developing leadership and communication skills

In 2016, the programme will be developed to engage more of Selwood’s tenants and increase reach and impact within their communities.

‘That is the best community-building programme we have taken part in. The activities have been fantastic and every single one of our kids was engaged constantly throughout. The Selwood Housing Volunteers made such a difference.” – Jonathon Watkins, Aloeric Primary School.

If you would like to discuss, please contact Anna Springbett from SportInspired:

That warm, fuzzy feeling… Can it make us more productive at work?

There’s no escaping highs and lows in the workplace. Some individuals and organisations will experience a more intense difference between their highest and lowest points, but we will all take the rough with the smooth, in varying forms throughout our career.

However, in going through these, what we (and in many cases, our employers), don’t necessarily take into account is the difference it can make in our productivity. In its simplest form, the science behind it works like this; when we feel stressed, in ‘danger’ or threatened, this stimulates activity in the brain, that is similar to our response to physical pain. As a result, we find it very mentally taxing and it drains our energy, which can lessen our memory efficiency, analytical thinking and problem solving ability. It therefore brings about more of that well known ‘well it’s not my problem’ response, instead of the ultimately more productive ‘what can I do to improve this?’

When we’re feeling good about ourselves however, we notice information that we wouldn’t otherwise, helping us solve problems and innovate. We also feel less of the burden of comparing ourselves to others, allowing us to build better relationships through creativity and positivity, i.e. that feeling of ‘I can’t wait to get them involved’ instead of ‘well they won’t like it, why bother?’.

There are a variety of ways that employers can increase that feeling of ‘reward’ in their employees, from the light touch team-building events to more integrated approaches into company culture, which can serve to surprise and delight employees throughout their working lives. The companies that understand this and encourage behaviours and programmes accordingly, are the companies that are ahead of the curve.

Volunteering is a highly efficient means of giving people satisfaction and pride, thus raising the probability of them returning to their workplaces in a more positive and productive frame of mind. At SportInspired, we are lucky enough to work with thousands of employee volunteers every year, seeing the difference that just a day can make and even more, the difference working with a community over time and seeing the growing impact their support has. When an employee starts their volunteering experience, they are faced with a level of uncertainty, but in a controlled environment. I.e. that feeling of ‘you’ve never done this before, but you will be looked after’, which serves to build excitement and engagement in itself. Their company is presenting their employees with something new in that volunteering experience, something different that will use parts of their brain that they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to use in their day job. But they’re in a supported environment, so any feeling of stress that can come about from the unknown, is converted into excitement (which of course can bring about greater productivity).

As the volunteers go through the experience, they find it continually rewarding; they encourage a shy child to try a new activity and when they do, they love it, they help the children create a team chant and see them sing it with pride, they see the look on the children’s faces when they receive medals, they witness the development in confidence in a child when they find a sport they love. All this creates a feeling of reward which they link back to their company, increasing their pride, their enjoyment and ultimately their productivity. Therefore, before we even go into the skills and connections employee volunteers develop through their experiences, we already have a great benefit which will make a difference to bottom line. A happier workforce, makes a more profitable company and although volunteering alone isn’t the answer to this, it can play an important part in the solution.

Source: Managing with the Brain, David Rock,

Anna Springbett
SportInspired Director

Employee Volunteering: Does it Make a Difference?

Does employee volunteering really make a difference, or is it mainly a way for companies to appear to care and have a ‘purpose beyond profit’? I believe it definitely does make a difference, but how much depends on whether or not volunteers actually enjoy it. This brings the importance of the much discussed ‘skills-based volunteering’ centre-stage.

Employee volunteering has been a critical part of SportInspired since the start. Over 8 years we have had over 13,000 employee volunteers involved in helping deliver 172 SportInspired Games programmes. In the middle of each programme is a multi-sport festival where up to 200 volunteers will help inspire local kids to try new sports. One of my favourite parts is our final ‘Thank You’ at the end of the day to the volunteers when I always tell them:

1. “If you think you’ve made a difference, you have; if you’re not sure if you’ve made a difference, you have; and if you think you haven’t made a difference, believe me when I tell you that you have”.

2. “If you enjoyed today, then please, please, please consider volunteering again, with your company or in your local community. At SportInspired we passionately believe, that if you find the right type of volunteering, you always get back more than you put in.”

Volunteering provides a useful challenge for employees
There is an increasing assumption that focusing on using the ‘core business skills’ of a volunteer is the only sensible way to maximise the value to all stakeholders. However, choosing volunteering the individual genuinely enjoys creates more powerful outcomes for all involved, including their employer. So how do we make sure this happens?

For some, using their specialist work skills to benefit others gives them immense satisfaction and therefore enjoyment. But for others, they would rather do anything other than using the work skills they have to use day in and day out. We see managers at our Games, who just want to be managed, junior staff who thrive in holding senior leading roles, and we see professionals from all walks and levels seriously challenged by how to relate to, lead, support and inspire 250 kids trying new sports.

It is that constant challenge which provides the greatest use of the volunteers’ skills, and it is their enjoyment of the day which ultimately determines the difference they make to the community, to themselves, and ultimately to their employer too. It is also what determines whether they will choose to volunteer again.

Richard Raynes MD, SportInspired

Back to School: A Different Approach to Employee Development

It is unfortunate that the term “employee development” can so often be easily dismissed as a dry and uninspiring topic. Searching this term on the internet or trying to initiate conversation on this subject can trigger an instant disinterest and lose your audience’s attention. Perhaps this is why companies tend to side-line initiatives that focus their attention here.

Defined in its simplest terms, Employee development is “a joint, on-going effort on the part of an employee and the organization for which he or she works to upgrade the employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities”. (Google) It may not immediately strike someone as inspirational but, the truth is, this is something that should really matter to us all – be that employer or employee– it’s a conversation all should be engaged with and interested in and, to achieve that, a different approach is needed. This blog will address employee development, not as a separate entity that only applies to the world of work but as an extension of the learning culture of schools.

Often, students are keen to leave the education system and get out into the ‘real world’, so to speak. But, is this ‘real world’ really so different? In the above definition, is “employee” not interchangeable for “student” and it still makes sense in application? To view leaving the education system and getting a job as way of leaving learning behind is a sad day for employee development advocates. Transferring from school to work is an extension of learning, albeit in a different way, but the learning, growth and development is there and it’s time people start viewing this as paramount to working in any organisation.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Teachers pass on wisdom and knowledge; don’t employers do the same?
  • Teachers encourage students to learn independently while also providing necessary support; again, don’t employers do the same.
  • Teachers have a duty to nurture talent in their students; don’t employers have the same duty to their employees?

Looking at it from this point of view, it becomes increasingly evident that the parallels between school and the workplace are manifold. But, it would appear that employers don’t necessarily see it this way. According to a survey of 18,000 employees and managers across 100 organisations, less than 50% of employees rated their manager effective at planning and executing on employee development. (

Perhaps it’s time we broke down this divide between work and school life and connect them based on the similarities they quite clearly share. A move towards stronger relationships between businesses and secondary schools could be the key to placing employee development at the heart of an organisation, just as student development is at the heart of every school.

Kat Hodge
Games Manager

Why I love working in Barking & Dagenham

I have the pleasure of overseeing our work and partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council. In this role, I get to work with so many passionate people across the borough and am inspired by those around me on a daily basis.

I recently received a message that really summarised this feeling for me and it’s moments like this that make me stop and think, this is why we do what we do:

“Just a personal thank you from Richard Alibon ARP for the cash you have been able to give us to help out with transport costs to take the children to their swimming lessons.

We had our first ever SEN swimming lesson this morning with SEN trained swimming teachers. The joy on the children ‘s faces would have melted your heart. Every child succeeded today. Confidence increased as the lesson progressed and previously nervous and shaking children were splashing about and thoroughly engaged with everything the instructors were asking of them. I have been teaching for 25 years this year and I think this was one of my proudest moments.

I deliberated long and hard about starting the lessons with our youngest children but I am so glad that they went. We will be continuing for the rest of the year and myself and my staff can’t wait to see the progression that the children will make.

Once again thank you for your enthusiasm and support.

Kindest regards
Sallyanne Gray

This is why we as an organisation exist and I for one can’t wait to continue creating results and impact like the above with our fantastic community partners in Barking and Dagenham.

Felix Sullivan
SportInspired Games Manager

‘Employee Development’ in a Small Company

My name is Calum and I am an Assistant Games Manager at SportInspired. Since graduating from the University of Exeter, I have been working for SportInspired for the past 9 months and have found the experience to date incredibly fun and rewarding. As an Assistant Games Manager, I have been lucky enough to be involved in a plethora activities, ranging from organising sports equipment to market research to managing the intern recruitment process. I like to be pushed and challenged in the work environment and so employee development for me is key…

Employee development is a cornerstone principle amongst almost, if not every, company in both the public and private sectors. Yet very few fail to successfully and comprehensively cater to the needs of their individual employees. Working in a large company, it is easy to get lost as a small cog in a big wheel; therefore experience in a smaller, more centralised working environment can prove to be invaluable when it comes to employee development.

In terms of the level of responsibility, expectations on individuals are that much higher in a smaller company. It is much easier to hide within a large organisation but the level of exposure to decision making and working under pressure pales in comparison. Being ‘thrown in at the deep end’, you learn to swim that much faster and with the right amount of guidance, it soon becomes that much easier and not nearly as daunting to take on tasks that previously you would have thought impossible.

A bit of self-belief goes a long way – why else would you have been chosen to manage the project or take on a team leadership role unless it was thought you are capable and up to the task? Sure the level of scrutiny is that little bit higher but ultimately so too is that rewarding feeling and sense of accomplishment. In the modern world, it is easy to get stuck in routine and stay in your comfort zone but pushing yourself out of it will bring about greater rewards for you as an individual.

Everyone likes to feel valued in life and so a few words of praise from a manager or senior director can go a long way to improving employee’s confidence. When combined with constructive feedback as to how to improve, employee empowerment as well as employee development are outcomes.

Calum George
Assistant Games Manager

The True Value of Employee Volunteering

As part of our Give & Gain week partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, we ran a Games festival in Cardiff. Here, I was extremely impressed by the attitudes of the volunteers; they arrived on time and raring to go, ready to make the day extraordinary for the children. As the day got started, I was immediately drawn to the abundance of energy coming from the Judo station.

I spoke to one of the volunteer coaches from Lloyds who was helping out with the Judo for the day, and he told me he how much he loved the volunteering experience. He raved about how much fun it was to do something completely different to daily office life, and make a positive difference at the same time. Whenever Lloyds arranged for a day such as the one in Cardiff, he would be there.

The following day, this very volunteer wrote this message to us at SportInspired:

“Well I’m still recovering from yesterday after being beaten up by 220 kids in Cardiff after I helped in the judo, but never had so much fun in doing so. It’s always amazing seeing the joy on the children’s faces and is great what you guys do and it’s the reason why I keep coming back year after year.”

The kids loved it as well, it was clear for everyone to see. They felt great about themselves, being able to take down an adult using their new-found Judo skills. The harder this Lloyds volunteer hit the mat, the more excited these kids got. I’m not sure who was enjoying it more, him or the kids, but I do know that, in this moment, barriers were being broken and the kids and adults alike were actively making a huge difference to one another. Whether they realised it in the moment or not, they were teaching each other more than an office or school environment ever could.

As put by one of our fantastic teachers;

“Today gave us an opportunity to empower our girls, to help them develop leadership qualities and skills that will stand to them for life. As teachers we always want to see our kids grow and develop, but sometimes the rigid environment of a classroom can restrict them. We saw our girls bloom today.”

While another volunteer had to say;

“The kids teach us adults far more than we can ever teach them. They’ve completely revolutionized how I as an individual communicate”

Those quotes and the motivated volunteer in Cardiff, to me, sums up the true value of employee volunteering programmes, for employees and community partners alike.

Harold Van Maaren
SportInspired Intern

Sport is My Meditation

Anna is a very focussed individual. She has run a marathon and, after recently discovering an intense love for cycling, is currently training for a triathlon. Read here about her reasons to love sport and all it brings:

“For me, sport has developed to be my time alone, where I lose myself in my thoughts; reflecting, clarifying and planning. I don’t do team sports. I cycle, I swim and I run sometimes. I’ve found these activities to be one of the best ways of getting into the right mind-set and boosting my mood. If I’m struggling to get my head around an idea, or confused by the way a programme’s developing, or attempting to make sense of people’s feedback, the best way to get clarity is to get my trainers on and get my heart racing. It’s not about burying myself further in my laptop.

In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to forget how much taking time to reflect can boost your productivity and your mood. My cycle to work helps me get energised, whilst the cycle home is about reviewing the day and rolling through ideas, finding the best one. But it’s not only that. Sport has also helped me develop skills and ambitions. A couple of years ago, I realised that to achieve what I wanted in my career, I needed to learn how to push myself harder. So I committed to running a marathon. Every extra mile of my training not only strengthened my legs, but also my mind. And although I didn’t keep up the running to that extent, my mind has continued to get stronger and stronger.

I don’t have a set routine. I tried that, but as soon as I’d made it, I broke it. But I aim to be active several times a week and every time is different, in how much I push myself and in the sport that I do. The constant thing is that it’s my time. My meditation. My chance to get away and reflect.

So I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to sport. But I’ve found it to drive me forward in so many ways. And I love it.”

Anna Springbett

Why I like to Keep Fit

Pete is a keen runner and ran a half-marathon the day before Give and Gain week, where he directed 5 back-to-back Games festivals; a test of strength and endurance in itself. Read below some wise words from our star event director on the benefits of keeping fit:

“No matter what I have done I always try to keep active. I run whenever I have time and when I can motivate my friends we play basketball in an East London park on Saturday mornings. The running indulges my competitive side – setting a time and trying to beat it; the sport of basketball aims more at the social side.

I think if you look at all the positive things you can get from an active life, apart from the physical benefits, you can see why it’s so important to people. I find sports to be very fun because I can socialise and be competitive. Cheesy, I know, but I think being active makes you happier.”

Pete Sorel-Cameron
Event Director

What Sport Means To Me

Kat is an all-rounder when it comes to sports, juggling different activities while always being keen to try something new! Read Kat’s thoughts on taking part in sport and using variety to stay motivated:

“Personally, I have always loved playing sport but, for me, it was never about being the best or the most competitive; it was about having fun and taking part. It is this philosophy that motivated me to spontaneously take up white water kayaking in my second year of university – something I had never done before. Despite not being the most competent paddler, I was able to pursue this interest because those around me strongly encouraged me to do so and my love for the sport continued to grow. It was all about having fun and taking part and that’s what I really loved about it.

What’s great about working at SportInspired, and why I love what I do, is that we help create new stories like this, no matter how small, every day. We give young people that opportunity to try new sports and pursue their love for them no matter what. Being lucky enough to try out lots of different sports as a child, it is an amazing feeling to now be a part of a movement that enables those to do something they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do.

I’ve realised I’m not the kind of person who picks one sport and only does that one because there is so much out there and I enjoy trying out lots of different things – I tried out hockey in my first year at university, then took up kayaking and now play netball once a week alongside swimming regularly at my local pool. The buzz of trying something new, learning new skills and meeting new people is all part of the enjoyment and that is what sport means to me.”

Kat Hodge
SportInspired Games Manager

What Motivates Me to Keep Fit?

Calum is dedicated to his fitness. A former member of OTC (Officer Training Corps) at university, a regular runner and rugby player, there is nothing that stops him from reaching his fitness goals. Read to find out what motivates Calum to achieve so much:

“What is it that makes you crazy enough to get up early on a day off and go for a 5k run? What is so appealing about standing on a Saturday afternoon on a rugby field when the rain is coming in horizontal? What could ever convince you that the late night gym session in the middle of the week was a good idea? Well for me it boils down to two things: self-respect and camaraderie.

I have always been fiercely competitive. Anyone who has seen the BBC’s Hell Week with the US Navy SEALs will be aware of the motto ‘It Pays to be a Winner’ and that motto resonates strongly with me. I always want to push myself, to improve and better myself as far as I can, so that I can truly feel that my efforts have been rewarded. That knowledge that I pushed myself to the limit for me makes the pain and effort worthwhile, a true test of your own personal mental grit and determination and your willingness to carry on. To be able to look back on your achievements and feel proud of the personal goal that you accomplished is hugely rewarding.

But equally important is the motivation to not let the side down. As a rugby player, the team is the most important aspect. The desire to work for the guys either side of you, knowing that they are doing the same, makes sport an incredible tool to bring people together for a common purpose. Individuals striving for the best interests of the team will make that team successful. And so that is vital in motivating me as an individual; that I want to perform to the best of my ability to enable the team as a whole to operate at its peak. And that is why it is so important for me to keep fit.”

Calum George
SportInspired Assistant Games Manager

Why We’re Supporting National Fitness Day 2015

Next week plays host to a very important day; particularly for us at SportInspired.

On Wednesday 9th September it is National Fitness Day and we, alongside many others, will be stepping up to show our full support for this campaign.

The day, led by ukactive*, will offer free events, classes and taster sessions in locations across the UK to entice the nation to get up, get involved and get active. ukactive’s aim is to make this the most active day of the year by working with various partners including charities, schools, and businesses. Together they will work to inspire and motivate more people to be more active more often.

This message resonates really strongly with us here at SportInspired where our vision is of connected communities where people enjoy being active. We exist to show people that sport, exercise and physical activity truly is fun and beneficial for everyone.

We run SportInspired Games Programmes which launch with an inspiring sports festival which helps children experience the excitement of mind-opening new sports. Businesses, schools, sports clubs, local authorities and other key stakeholders come together, ensuring even the least sporty and confident children find a sport they can connect with. The SportInspired legacy programme follows, where we work together to ensure longevity. This enables children to continue and pursue their chosen passion, supported by role models from local clubs, schools and businesses.

It is our strong belief that sport is a powerful tool for inspiring new connections, life skills and opportunities, not to mention the lifelong health benefits it brings on top of that. Executive Director of ukactive, Steve Ward, sums it up by saying, “There is nothing more important to the sector than celebrating the fun of fitness and engaging the public.”

Steve, we couldn’t agree more and that’s why SportInspired pledges their commitment and support to National Fitness Day.

To learn more about ukactive and National Fitness Day please visit

To learn more about SportInspired Games please visit

[*ukactive provides services and facilitates partnerships for a broad range of organisations, all of which support the vision of more people, more active, more often to improve the health of the nation]

The “6 Keys to Success”

Some Young Leaders from Holy Rood High School in Edinburgh share what they learnt about the 6 Keys to Success at our Sky Sports Living for Sport LIVE…

People Skills:
During the Sky sports living for Sport event in Livingston, the Six Keys to success were prevalent throughout the day and the children and mentors were constantly displaying all six keys throughout the event.
One of the Six Keys that I felt that I developed was ‘people skills.’ By working with the other Sky Sports Mentors, primary teachers and other volunteers I felt I developed my people skills by communicating and interacting with them. I also gained in confidence working with the children from various Primary schools throughout the day. I was put out with my comfort zone and was challenged to become a team leader.
In conclusion, through this event, I developed my people skills and confidence.

Sean Gilhooley, Holy Rood High School

Breaking Barriers:
When I went to the Sky Sports Living for Sport event, at first I was very nervous, not knowing what was going to happen, or what I was going to expect. However, I had an amazing time and what laugh I had, it was such a fantastic day.
There were 6 keys to success I have been following and working through in my Sky Sports Programme, and some in which I developed on the day. On the day, I chose to develop ‘breaking barriers.’ I chose this because I wanted the children to have fun while playing sports and come out of their comfort zones.

I had encouraged my group to break barriers such as telling them to give it their best and give their full potential, even if they disliked the activity they were doing. I told them to still get involved and the most important thing was to have fun and to do it for their team. By doing this (breaking barriers) I had encouraged the kids to go out with their comfort zones and try having fun while doing the sports.

From this event I have gained a lot of knowledge and confidence with working with different people and becoming a team leader. Also I too have developed my awareness of the importance of breaking barriers- just do it and have fun!

Chand Kaur, Holy Rood High School

My Internship Abroad…

After my return back home to Bochum (Germany) I had some time to reflect about my previous 3 months with SportInspired in London and to write this report based on my experiences during my time as a SportInspired Intern.

I first got in touch with SportInspired when I decided to do an internship after my exchange semester in London and checked the website of my exchange university. After sending in my application and successfully getting through a telephone interview and a second job interview, I was offered a three-month summer placement.

I first expected it to be a mere office job but already in the telephone interview it was explained to me the different facets of SportInspired and the possibility for me to contribute as well towards festival delivery.

As probably most new interns are, I was a bit nervous on the day of my job interview as well as on my first day of work. But this nervousness disappeared quickly after I entered the office with a very inviting and welcoming atmosphere. I quickly got to know the entire SportInspired staff, who created this inviting atmosphere with their kind personalities and with whom it was great fun to work with during these three months. Special thanks to Harry, who brought a bit Dutch/German in the office by introducing “Dankeschön” and “Gesundheit” to everyone, to Calum, the best internship programme director I could have asked for, and as well to Charles (Chip) for supporting me within the last two months with every financial, bookkeeping and accounting issue.

Because of this tremendously good atmosphere, even the office days were good fun but definitely my highlights of this internship were the SportInspired festivals. I guess I did not completely understand what SportInspired was about before I helped out at one of the SportInspired Games. These Games, sponsored by quite big companies, allow everyone involved to give back to local communities and tries to tackle social problems like anti-social behaviour, obesity and apathy. Watching the involved children enjoying themselves, gaining confidence, self-esteem and improving teamwork and communication was for me the pinnacle of all my work at SportInspired.

Concluding, I have to admit that I cannot think of a better way I could’ve spent my summer than working as an intern at SportInspired. The passion and enthusiasm everyone there puts into their daily work and seeing children, volunteers, SportInspired staff and sport coaches leaving the SportInspired Games with a big smile on their face, made this an incredibly good experience for me.

I would definitely recommend anyone looking for a work placement in a young start-up charity to consider SportInspired.

Thank you SportInspired for the best internship I could have asked for.
Maximilian Axnick, Former SportInspired Intern

Can We Save the London 2012 Legacy

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch’s announcement that she is going to “rip up” the outdated government sports strategy and “start again” is bound to be met by mixed emotions. Any proposed changes of this scale will be. However, with the disappointing statistics on participation levels (almost 250,000 people have stopped taking part regularly in physical activity over the past 6 months), combined with ever-increasing obesity, do we really have any choice but to accept it’s time for change?

At SportInspired, we’ve run over 200 programmes across the UK and Ireland with the aim of getting people active and enjoying it. For us, it’s the last part which is key – why would we continue being active if we don’t enjoy it? We can all force ourselves out of our armchairs and into our trainers for a few months, but unless we get that buzz, that connection, that satisfaction, we’ll be heading back to inactivity before we know it.

Our experience has shown that there is a sport out there for everyone. We just need some help to find it. If football’s not for us, judo could be. Or how about goalball, or street dance? In communities across the UK, there’s a range of sports clubs offering everything from traditional sports, to those less well known. However, to ensure the next generation make the most of these opportunities and turn participation levels around, we need to do three things:

1) Raise awareness locally
2) Support and mentor children to find the right sport and have the confidence to take it up
3) Help sports clubs develop so they are ready to increase membership and engagement.

Community cohesion is the answer here. We need joined up strategies and programmes, which include businesses, local authorities, schools, sports clubs, sporting facilities and charities. These organisations have a variety of skills and outlooks which, brought together, can have outstanding impacts in breaking down the barriers children face with getting and staying active.

We are already doing this on a smaller scale at SportInspired and have some well-known firms stepping up with the bravery and generosity to get involved, such as Lloyds, UBS, Deloitte and Legal & General, along with some of the more forward-thinking local authorities and hundreds of schools, sports clubs and venues. And with a larger call to action to organisations across the UK, there is so much more that can be done.

Children do not only need to know about the local sports clubs, but they also need the confidence to go, which local volunteers and teachers can help with in providing mentoring support. The clubs and facilities then need the skills and infrastructure to be able to welcome new children, ensure inclusiveness and provide an excellent service that keeps people coming back. This is something local businesses have the skills and background to support. We also need to ensure the right range of sporting offers, which local authorities bring together, along with overseeing structures such as design and transport which ease the experiences of getting to and arriving at the facilities.

There are numerous strands to bring together here, and there is no doubt that this won’t happen overnight. However, if we all play a part, from businesses to sports clubs, we can see the great prospect of accelerating the rise of participation levels in the UK. And the most exciting part? Sport is a great binder to bring all these organisations together to build relationships. As a result of this, we are then bound to see positive impacts on the community in a variety of areas.

At SportInspired, we see re-writing the government sports strategy as a great opportunity. However, without ensuring partnership working and community cohesion, we’re afraid we’ll only see minimal change. So let’s bring down our barriers and work together with the common goal in mind of encouraging activity, and ensuring people enjoy it.

If you would like more information, or to explore the ideas presented further, please contact Anna Springbett.

My day at the SportInspired Games festival

On Friday the 12th of June I took part in helping out with the SportInspired games festival at Legal and General.

It was an amazing day where I witnessed young children becoming more confident in sport and enjoying them more. We were put into small groups and throughout the day we began to bond and get to know the children. We took part in many activities from dodgeball to an activity course! The children’s reactions to this were incredible and every single person took part, even the team leaders!

At the start of the day everyone including myself was very quiet and didn’t know what was going to happen but by the end we were doing cart wheels with our group and we were having a blast! Even though the event was to help the children get more involved with sports it also helped me as well, as the young leaders also got involved. Because of this we all had an amazing day and at the start the volunteers helped break out of our shell and become more confident with the group members. We also became louder and louder through the day with our team chant as everyone were full of team spirit!

Other than the amount of fun I had it also helps me in the future as it helped me become more comfortable leading groups and getting everyone involved. I would definitely take part in the day again and I would advise students like myself to give it a try.

By Hannah Strank
The Beacon School