We are looking forward to our 4th festival of the Youth Urban Games Programme!

What we have accomplished so far

Since the start of the Youth Urban Games Programme in June 2017, when we ran our first Festival, we have supported more than 500 primary school children from disadvantaged communities in the North Glasgow, with a focus on Cleveden Learning Community, John Paul Learning Community, Springburn Learning Community and St Rochs Learning Community – helping them discover urban sports they love.

We are delighted to report that 92% of the children involved in our Games have found at least one sport that they want to continue being involved with. We have contributed to keeping 64 Young Leaders away from the risks associated with disadvantaged boroughs, by offering the opportunity to engage in amazing alternative activities like Parkour, Futsal, Skateboarding, Capoeira, Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball, Street Dance and Boxing.

Not only this, but we have provided comprehensive leadership training sessions, allowing them to develop key skills such as confidence, communication and team work. Our aim has been to make the Festival day an educational and fun day for everyone involved, and overall, to use the power of sport to inspire behaviour change within these local communities. To date, we have had also an incredible support from over 30 volunteers, from Hymans Robertson.

And we couldn’t have done it without the support of our partners.  A big ‘Thank You’ to the Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals, Millennium Link Trust, Hymans Robertson, Glasgow Life, Skateboard Scotland and Sport Scotland.

Looking forward: our 4th festival!

Our next Festival will be held at Scotstoun Leisure Centre on 23rd February. The Festival will be run by 25 Young Leaders from All Saints Secondary School and all the primary school children present at the event will try 6 locally available urban sports: Parkour, Skateboarding, Futsal, Capoeira, Street Dance and Ultimate Frisbee. Our sports club partners for this edition are Parkour Scotland, Radworx, West Sports Academy, Cordao-De-Ouro Glasgow, G12 Studios and Glasgow Ultimate.

This event will celebrate our 4th festival of the Youth Urban Games Programme and we are delighted to share it with you! See you there!

The Varsity Match: Engagement Visits to Cambridge and Oxford

“The trip was an enlightening experience in regard to the pathway university can take you down.” – Nauman, Young Leader, Cambridge Visit

Did you know?

The Varsity Match is an annual rugby competition between two of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world: the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The fixture dates back to 1872 and, since 1921, the game has been played at the iconic Twickenham Stadium, the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world. The only time when the official Varsity Match was not played was during wartime, although a series of matches were played during the Second World War, resulting in nine wins for Cambridge, two wins for Oxford and one draw.

Some Interesting facts

Cambridge University men’s team beat the Oxford University men’s team at Twickenham, winning the 2017 Varsity Match; in doing so, Cambridge extends their overall tally to 63 men’s wins, maintaining the lead. Oxford University has 59 men’s wins. From 136 matches between the two sides, 14 games have ended in draws. However, the Cambridge University women’s team has only 11 wins compared to 19 wins for the Oxford University women’s team.

The Inspire to Aspire Programme, in partnership with the Varsity Match

In 2017, the Varsity Match partnered with SportInspired to create an ambitious programme using the power of rugby to inspire deprived young people from London to aspire to a higher goal: to study at one of the two most high profile universities in the world. Over the course of 6 months we provided life and employability skills training sessions to our Young Leaders who then went on to lead and facilitate a full day tournament alongside the main Varsity Match, under the close watch of our business volunteers and the SportInspired Team.

A total number of 93 Young Leaders were involved in our programme, from Heathland School and St Marks Catholic School in Hounslow, and Jo Richardson Community School in Barking & Dagenham. From the beginning, we were focused on conducting leadership training sessions, helping our Young Leaders to develop employability skills, plus a sense of purpose and social inclusion.

The training sessions were based on two major drivers: the job market’s current expectations and the outcomes of attending Higher Education, making sure that our Young Leaders develop a futureproof skillset. We concentrated on helping them develop great communication skills and a high level of confidence, planning and organisational skills and problem-solving and decision-making ability.

The Legacy

After the Inspire to Aspire Festival, our team was actively engaged in the delivery of our Legacy work, which saw our Young Leaders participating in Engagement Visits to the two universities earlier this year.

The desired outcomes of the Cambridge and Oxford Visits

  • Building from an early stage the Young Leaders’ aspirations to study at Higher Education level. We know that making the decision to go to university (particularly Oxbridge) can be a challenging; therefore, we want to ensure our Young Leaders are in possession of all the info and inspiration they need. During our visits our young leaders experienced how interesting and exciting the university environment can be, and were able to hear directly from current students
  • Understanding the importance of sport and how it might feature in future education and career plans. Helping Young Leaders with soft skills like communication, leadership, and confidence is essential for us, as is giving them a sense of focus and self-discipline, values highlighted throughout our Inspire to Aspire programme.
The trip to Oxford inspired me to work harder to be able to get into a good uni” – Simarleen, Young Leader, Oxford Visit


Our first Festival of Wellbeing

Our very first Festival of Wellbeing in partnership with the major pharmaceutical corporate partner, Takeda, was a huge success. The Festival of Wellbeing saw 190 primary school children between the ages of 8 and 11 participate in the event, involving 3 primary schools and 4 secondary schools from Slough and Maidenhead, with the support of 6 sport and yoga clubs. 65 Young Leaders ran the festival and 17 Takeda volunteers offered support to the Young Leaders.
We had the honour to have as guests at this event the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr John Lenton and Margaret Lenton.
You can also read coverage  about our most recent programme in Slough and Maidenhead here

Amazing opportunity to be part of our team!

Job title: Business Development & Strategy Lead

About the role

This is an opportunity for an outstanding young professional with some experience in sales, business development or marketing – plus a passion for delivering social change and developing robust partner relationships – to be involved in the growth of a multi-award-winning national charity and help it reach to even more underprivileged kids in the UK.

This is a particularly exciting opportunity for a candidate who has recently come out of a corporate job (or would like to do so), and is interested in doing exciting and fulfilling work with tangible social impact. We believe that this is an opportunity for you to begin building a long term charity career that has both a business and community focus.

As the Business Development Lead, you would be responsible for:

New Business Development & Sales

  • Leading the day-to-day activity of generating funding for SportInspired’s programmes by building partnerships with Corporates, Housing Associations and Local Authorities
  • Coordinating our business development team and ensuring resources are used efficiently to deliver maximum funding
  • Managing and optimising the use of Salesforce to coordinate new business activity (it would be super helpful if you’ve had some experience of Salesforce before but it’s not essential)
  • Managing the identification of target partners and coordinating research and campaign communication in support of sales process
  • Leading and following up on new business meetings together with CEO, drafting presentations and proposals as appropriate to nurture prospective partners
  • Managing the opportunity pipeline at every stage, ensuring the sales process has momentum, following up in a timely fashion and ‘closing’ sales opportunities

Our main priority is to find someone to join the team for whom the above is bread and butter. However, depending on who we find and where your ambitions lie the individual in question may also be asked to take responsibility for:

Strategy and Communications

  • Tailoring lead generation strategy and the targeting process
  • Oversight of the communications strategy and plan across all channels
  • Formulating the brand strategy for SportInspired going forward, and ensuring we have visibility and profile with the right associations and influencers relevant to our space
  • Developing commercial partnerships in addition to our funding goals, that contribute to the evolution of the organisation on a big picture level
  • Working with the CEO and Board to ensure the trajectory of SportInspired continues to be one that fits our values and ultimately enables us to have greater impact across all our projects

About the candidate

We are looking for someone who would be a natural addition to our energetic, purpose-driven team. The ideal candidate would be a people person, with a love of building relationships, a passion for sales and business development, an independent and innovative thinker who is passionate about delivering evidence-based social change.

The skills we are looking for are:

  • Experience of leading new business opportunities and developing partnerships with corporates either in one industry or across multiple sectors
  • Experience of complex sales processes and funnel/pipeline management, and Salesforce or equivalent as a CRM tool
  • Confident in developing relationships with a range of stakeholders from Housing Associations to Corporate Partners
  • Efficiency – ability to produce work on tight deadlines – and ability to independently prioritise between tasks with overlapping deadlines
  • 2-4 years’ professional experience, ideally with experience in one or several of the following: public affairs, CSR or sustainability. Social enterprise or charity experience is a bonus but not required
  • A Bachelor or Master’s degree in a relevant subject is preferable
  • Excellent Microsoft Office and general tech skills

This person is likely to have had a promising corporate career but decided to re-orient themselves to purpose-driven work and will be keen to see how they can put their talents to use in the not-for-profit space.

Commitment and salary

Open to PT or FT, wage dependent on experience.

Please contact us at recruitment@sportinspired.org


Introducing SportInspired’s Mental Wellbeing Programme: SportInspired 2.0

Let us bring you up to speed

If you imagine you know everything about SportInspired in terms of our commitment to social change then it might be time for us to bring you up to speed on the way we are evolving our organisation. We’re constantly looking to increase the level of impact we have as we bring together more children, young people and volunteers, and we’re excited to share what that looks like in 2018.


So far in SportInspired’s history, we’ve focused on working with young people to solve social problems such as anti-social behaviour and obesity at grassroots level through sport and physical activity. This has brought us amazing success in terms of profile and impact, and allowed us to build long term embedded relationships with all our major stakeholders.

Our evolved model

However, in our view the new year should always bring new challenges. Which is why we have developed our model to place an equal amount of emphasis on mental as well as physical wellbeing through our programmes and training.

You can’t have missed it in the press: an increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that mental health and physical health inextricably linked. In fact, we believe these two are in a reciprocal relationship – a veritable love in.

It gives us a great pleasure to announce the launch of our new programme, SportInspired 2.0, which focuses on the positive effects of physical activity on young children’s mental health and wellbeing. After many successful programmes related to sport and physical health (programmes that we will of course carry on doing…) we are now determined to help look after young people’s mental wellbeing in order to tackle a broader range of issues, and ultimately, have more impact.

A proven philosophy

At SportInspired, we know that mental wellbeing is THE key factor allowing a young person to lead a happy, healthy, and successful life. We help children achieve their full potential by giving them the tools to look after themselves both physically and mentally. We are confident that we can make a change and that we can improve the outcomes for strong mental wellbeing through prevention and early intervention.

The scale of the problem

Unfortunately, a significant amount of scientific research suggests that young people’s mental wellbeing is in decline: according to Public Health England, 1 in 10 children will have a clinically diagnosed mental disorder at any one point during childhood, 10% of all mental disorders emerge before the age of 14 and the lowest levels of mental wellbeing are around the ages of 14 to 15 years. A Varkey Foundation report states that young people in the UK have the second poorest mental wellbeing in the world. The risks are even higher for young people in deprived communities.

Our own research shows that low levels of mental resilience are associated with long-term problems. Poor mental health can be a significant risk indicator for other diseases, such as obesity and eating disorders, anxiety and depression. It can also be associated with lower education and employment attainment, social isolation and anti-social behaviour.

Here at SportInspired, we are determined to address this problem because we believe that solving this issue will enhance young peoples’ ability to develop psychologically, to build up and nurture social connections, to interact within communities and develop a sense of self-confidence.

It is our strong opinion that sport is the key factor that helps shape positive mental health and wellbeing. It works as a pivotal mechanism that connects each of the New Economics Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing: Give, Keep Learning, Be Active, Take Notice and Connect.

Our first festival with a focus on mental wellbeing

We are delighted to share with you the good news: today we are holding our very first Festival of Wellbeing in partnership with a major corporate partner. This marks the first in many events to come as part of our long-term Mental Wellbeing Programme.

What a fantastic day for us, the young people and all of our key stakeholders. The Festival of Wellbeing sees around 200 primary school children between the ages of 8 and 11 participate in the event, involving 6 schools and 5 sport and yoga clubs. 65 Young Leaders will run the festival and 18 volunteers will support the Young Leaders. The scale of it will be quite something.


Our purpose is to help young people achieve their full potential by developing their mental health and wellbeing, with our goal being to support 50,000 young people to improve their mental wellbeing by 2020.

The beneficiaries of our Mental Wellbeing Programme are children aged between 5 and 12, plus Young Leaders aged between 13 and 16 and Community ambassadors aged 16+. We are committed to each of these three groups of individuals, and we have specific goals in mind for each. Our approach is as follows:

  • Young Children: get them involved in sports and help them achieve better health, better behaviour, better relationships, social inclusion and self-confidence.
  • Young Leaders: deliver leadership training sessions, helping them develop employability skills, a sense of purpose and social inclusion.
  • Community ambassadors: get them engaged in local communities, helping them to build positive mental attitude and find a sense of belonging by being involved in community creation.

Overall, we want to encourage children to participate in regular sport and physical activitity and thus, help them understand the influence of physical activity on mental health and wellbeing. This will lead to increased self-esteem, mental alertness and positivity, reduced stress and anxiety, lower levels of obesity, higher levels of energy and vitality, the ability to identify and manage their emotions and the ability to cope with stress.

It’s not just about the Festival …  next steps!

We’ll continue to deliver the behaviour change started at this Festival. Our programme is a stepping stone to healthier lifestyles for young children and we will continue to embed new values and attitudes into our community groups via ongoing training and mentoring.

Our goal is to have established sports clubs in primary schools for the rest of the academic year, where children can return and practice the sport they began to engage with during the festival. We’ll also deliver further training for Young Leaders, improving both their employability skills and their mental wellbeing (positive attitudes, self-confidence, self-esteem), and, further down the line allowing them to access better work experience opportunities.

Lastly, we want our festival’s volunteers to continue their involvement with local communities. We offer them continued opportunities to be involved with our programmes, and find that the overhwhelming majority of ambassadors wish to be involved again – and often year in and year out!

And we’ve just started! This is just a little flavour of SportInspired’s future plans.  We hope we’ve made you curious enough to follow our next campaigns and festivals.

Want to find out more? Please contact us at info@sportinspired.org.


Delivering the Société Générale Games in Newham at the Copperbox in the Olympic Park

Newham – a special place for SportInspired

Our team has previously run three successful programmes in Newham, reaching over 800 children from 10 primary schools, over 60 students from 1 secondary school and 9 local sports providers.

We are very happy to have a new partner who shares the same values as us – a warm ‘Welcome on board’ to Société Générale !

We had fantastic support from Société Générale (SocGen) in delivering this year’s programme – more than 25 volunteers were involved in the festival, supporting numerous children in their search for a sport they love, helping them become more confident, and working alongside the young leaders to develop their leadership and event management skills. Everyone involved had a fantastic time.

The Société Générale Festival‘ in brief:

  • 180 primary school children from 4 schools
  • 48 young leaders from School 21
  • 6 sports clubs (dance, boccia, boxing, handball, tennis, basketball)

We are delighted to see how our young leaders are growing, becoming more aware of their potential and more confident in their abilities.  93.3 % of the students involved in our Société Générale programme were, as a result of the training and experience they’ve received, more able to communicate with younger students, have improved leadership skills and feel confident in dealing and solving problems.

Meet Ava, one of our young leaders.


Ava is 13 and has participated in the Young Leader Programme through the partnership between SportInspired and School 21. At the Société Générale Games 2017, Ava led a group of young people alongside a SocGen volunteer, and made an amazing impression.

‘She was a super leader and took charge the moment she got there, making sure all the kids had a terrific time!’ – SocGen volunteer working with her

One big happy team

Meet Louise Hayes, physical education professor, School 21 and WATCH A VIDEO OF LOUISE’S IMPRESSIONS OF THE DAY!

Here at SportInspired, we like to think of ourselves as one great big team  – us, our partners, the students, the schools and the teachers, all working together towards a common goal.

Seeing the teachers get so involved is particularly awesome; their enthusiasm and energy is just incredible.

It’s not just about the Festival…

We are continuing to deliver the behaviour change that we kickstarted with this Festival. Our programs are a stepping stone to happier and healthier lifestyles for children and we will continue to deliver these changes after the festival is over – during our 10-week Legacy phase.

Our next steps:

  • Consolidating the behaviour change during Legacy: We will deliver up to 10 weeks of sports club provision for each primary school involved, funded by SocGen
  • Delivering sustainable results by handing the reins over to the young leaders: We aspire to have a second festival, planned exclusively by a select group of young leaders from School 21

And a massive thank you to the SocGen volunteers! You’ve been amazing!




Our ‘Inspire to Aspire’ programme in partnership with the Varsity Match

In 2017, the Varsity Match and SportInpired became partners in creating an ambitious programme to help deprived young children from London to aspire to study at two of the most prestigious universities, Oxford and Cambridge, and in the process to develop their confidence and employability skills.

Our goal is to help beneficiaries of the ‘Inspire to Aspire’ programme from across London in improving their life skills through rugby, allowing them to understand how self-confidence and discipline can get them closer to their goals.

This year’s ‘Inspire to Aspire’ festival in brief:

  • 93 young leaders from 3 different secondary schools lead the teams. The young leaders received skills training leading up to the festival and will follow the festival with a trip to Oxford or Cambridge University which aims to inspire them to enter higher education.
  • 323 primary school children from 4 different secondary schools tried touch rugby, many for the first time, and enjoyed it immensely!

Discover the story of one of our Young Leaders: Emily, from Jo Richardson Community School

Before joining the programme, Emily was insecure about putting forward and explaining her own ideas, and lacking in self-confidence. Her P.E. teacher mentioned she was known to be disruptive in other subjects too. Over the training course that we provide to young leaders prior to the Festival, she started to be more communicative, engaging with other members of the group and even going further in terms of motivating them. This insecure young girl was finding her own path in discovering self-confidence and understanding how it works. By the time she finished the training course, she was ready for the next challenge – to lead and explain a warm-up game to her team of young people. By the end of the festival, she had become a more confident outgoing person, gaining excellent leadership and responsibility skills.

It’s not just about the Festival…

After the Rugby Festival, we actively engage in the delivery of our Legacy work – during which we will deliver additional employability skills training to the young leaders to transition the skills they’ve earned into the real world.

Our next steps

  • We will provide 6 weeks of young leader training, focusing on transferring the skills they’ve gained from the Festival to employability skills – like interviewing and CV-writing.
  • Our aim is to inspire the young people to aspire to follow a higher education. This is why we take all young leaders involved in the programme to Oxford and Cambridge University, where they will be mentored by students and understand what life there is like.

Instead of a Conclusion… See the children’s joy!



The 6 key steps to building an effective charity partnership

Since our inception we have partnered with UBS and as we look ahead into next year, together we have been reflecting on our brilliant partnership over the years and how together we can continue to create impact.

We’ve wrapped this up as a present of ‘6 steps to building an effective programme with a Charity Partner’, so you too can build brilliant, fulfilling and meaningful CSR and Charity partnerships.

To download this guide, please tell us your name and email using the form below and we’ll send you a link immediately.

Name *

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Meet Lora Umelue – our award winning Young Leader

SportInspired has trained and coached 1000’s of talented young leaders over the years – they are the engine room of our community building endeavours.

Just last month one of our awesome young leaders was selected as the winner of the Panathlon Jack Petchey Outstanding Young Leader Award. Lora Umelue – what a superstar. We caught up with her recently for a chat about her experience.

How did you first get involved in the SI programme and then the festivals?

I was already a Sports Leader at school, having been nominated as a sports leader in Year 8.  In Year 8, I started with smaller things – assisting teachers with clubs, going to events with other students; in Year 9, I became a Health & Wellbeing ambassador; in Years 10 and 11 my involvement became more serious, taking part in bigger events and leading at SI festivals. Ms Duffy told me about the SI programme and I wanted to take part because of the opportunity to work with disabled children.

How did it fit in with what you were doing at school?

I had been a sports leader at school since Year 8. Up until I took part in the SI programme, this involved running an athletics club, officiating at events and warming up children before competitions. I was also a Health & Wellbeing Ambassador: I ran health clubs once a week to talk to other pupils about leading a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily and being more physically active.

It was amazing to amazing to see people who didn’t usually take part in sport, suddenly being encouraged to take part!

Did you have any expectations before starting the SI programme?

I thought it would be harder to lead, as I had never led a session for children with disabilities. But in the training sessions we learned different ways of communicating with people, e.g. using non-verbal communication.

Although I was still nervous on the day, the training really prepared us to work with disabled kids by teaching us about the different disabilities we would come across and how we could lead the kids and communicate with them despite their disabilities.

What did you want to get out of taking part and how did you feel afterwards?

I hoped that I’d be able to learn new skills to use outside of the festival. I wanted to make disabled kids smile and feel included – and it was incredible to see them enjoy the day so much.

I learned a lot of new skills: the importance of body language for example when I was communicating with a deaf child at the festival – he couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t sign, so I had to use body language to let him know he had done really well.

I felt I really grew through the festivals and was really happy about making people smile. I was also really proud of myself because I could lead children with disabilities and make them feel encouraged to take part. I was really inspired by the kids –

willing to take part without hesitation and overcome barriers, and utterly fearless in most situations.

What skills have you taken away with you?

I learned so many skills: how to be enthusiastic and put myself forward, not just stand at the back. How to engage children, and especially disabled children. Problem solving skills: e.g. we had a challenge during our SI training or thinking of activities that disabled children could do, thinking through the barriers and finding opportunity in different sports.

Mostly I learned how important it is to be inclusive of everyone. Working with disabled kids made me realise that disabled people can do just as much as everyone else – it was really inspirational.

What is the main thing you want to remember?

There was a big group picture of the whole group involved in the festival at the end of the day – the children, young leaders and volunteers. It was great to be part of a group of people who want to help, including the corporate volunteers, and be a part of a community aiming to be inspirational and inclusive.

What are you excited about and looking forward to now?

Taking part in the festivals and volunteering at school made me so excited about helping people in the future – and I’m now even more excited after winning the award!  

Taking part in the SI festivals also encouraged me to volunteer more and keep working to help disabled kids.  I’m just starting volunteering now to coach disabled kids in sports, which I’m really excited about. I was a VInspired Ambassador, collecting food for and helping to sort food at a local foodbank. I feel really inspired to carry on working to help other people.

And I’m doing my A-Levels now and want to study medicine at university – carrying on the theme of helping people!


Lora, we think you’re incredible and a true inspiration for all our future Young Leaders.

Carol Duffy, Lora’s PE Teacher, had this to add:

‘Every group, every organisation and every team needs a driving force and Lora is ours! During her time at St Paul’s Academy. Lora supported every fundraising and enterprise initiative and, in a number of cases, was the person behind the concept and organisation of such events.  Lora was a school Health and Well-Being Ambassador and school Sports Leader and through these roles used her extensive knowledge in these areas to selflessly give of her time to assist staff and students in whatever way she could.  If I was to use one phrase to describe Lora it would be ‘Our precious, quiet organiser; our driving force!

Pupils have been incredibly inspired to pursue a career in the sports industry as a result of their Sport Inspired experiences.”


Our Volunteers : Mike Jones from UBS

Mike has been involved in coordinating the UBS Games on behalf of the Finance department for over six years. He was pivotal in the success of the very first Finance flagship Festival and in the coordination of the programme and volunteers internally at UBS.

We spoke to him recently to ask him about his experience, highlights and key insights in terms of what it’s like to volunteer within a large corporation and collaborate with a charity effectively, in a way that creates not only sustainable impact for the community but is also highly rewarding for staff volunteers and meets internal CSR objectives.

Over to Mike:

SI: When you were getting started and launching the UBS Games, what was the most critical factor to its set up and success?

Mike: It was really important that the first flagship event went well and so from the outset, it was crucial to get engagement and buy-in from our department’s senior leadership. With their backing and support, we were able to get a large roster of volunteers for the first programme and from there, continued leadership support and their own involvement in volunteering has been fundamental to the long-term success of the partnership.

“Engagement and buy-in from senior leadership is so important.”

As well as supporting from the office staff, we’ve noticed that it’s been really inspiring for senior leaders to volunteer and get stuck in. A particular highlight of mine was seeing our UK and IB CFO Nigel Bretton lead a street dance class!

Furthermore, internally there has been a lot of celebration and recognition for the programme in terms of the awards we’ve won, and we even had a a waitlist of people wanting to take part in the last event. People want to be involved in a success story.

SI: What have been some of your personal highlights?

Mike: Playing sports has always been really important for me and so it’s great to be able to give back and see the kids getting involved in sports they may not have tried before.

It’s also really humbling taking time out of my usual schedule to talk to children and learn about their experience. It makes you think – how can we do more? How can we expand our impact in terms of mental health, how do we leave a legacy?

SI: Thank you Mike. One final question! If you had to sum up your experience of volunteering with SportInspired, what would it be?

Mike: A sense of pride, a sense of achievement and most of all – humble.


Kids of SportInspired: Ayaan’s story

Kids of SportInspired

Here at SportInspired we have introduced tens of thousands of primary school children to new sports and trained thousands of young leaders, boosting their confidence, physical health and creating lasting impact to their lives and potential as we go.

You hear 60,000 children impacted, 5,000 young leaders trained, but what does that really mean?

We created Kids of SportInspired to share the real life and lasting impact our community programmes have on the lives of these young people.

Today we’re sharing a story about Ayaan

Before we met Ayaan last year, he was very anxious, had developed a stutter and he didn’t try new things, only doing what was offered at the base level at school. Ayaan is also deaf. Previously for Ayaan, mainstream sports hadn’t been so accessible, as traditional coaching methods rely on talking to explain things.

Last year, Ayaan took part in our Barking & Dagenham Deaf Inclusive Games programme and for the first time he played football. A year later, well Ayaan’s progress has been incredible to see. In the last 12 months, his confidence has grown considerably.

Ayaan’s week is centred on the new football club we set up in his school. Through football, Ayaan has discovered that he is a natural leader and has made friends with others across age groups.  We asked him what the best part of playing football is for him, he said :

               ‘I like learning new skills and I like making new friends at the club.’

His speech and language have dramatically improved, his stutter is less prominent and his attitude to learning has developed immensely. Those Math and English classes he’d avoided last year – he’s gone in and embraced the new challenge that would’ve scared him a year ago.

Our programme has also created a wider impact in the community and with his family. The sports club has been a great opportunity for his mum to get together with other parents in a similar situation, as well as connecting their kids.

Thanks to his positive experience with football, Ayaan is more willing to try new things, even initiating new experiences himself. He’s just taken up tennis with his older brother, which he’s really excited about!

Through sport, Ayaan saw that he too was capable. That he could be seen. He now believes in himself. We’re so inspired to see what he does next.

Thank you to Ayaan’s teacher Majella, friend Kulsum and Ayaan for sharing their experience.

Venture Out: Finding Yourself with SportInspired

by Tiffany Banks, SportInspired Intern, Summer 2017

The American poet, E.E. Cummings, stood correct when he lyrically stated, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” This summer I literally travelled over 4000 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean and decided to gain unique work experience doing an internship in London. I had the pleasure of working with Richard Raynes and his enthusiastic team at SportInspired. There’s not much in the world that changes a person’s life, but I can truly say SportInspired has changed mine and is continually changing the lives of those around us.

My internship with SportInspired has been far more than what I expected, from the workplace, to my relationship with the staff and even my job responsibilities. On the first day, I got a warm welcome from the team and an introduction to what SportInspired is all about. Immediately, I could see the passion this team had for the organisation and their job. When working for a charity, there has to be something more than money that drive you to perform substantially. Before I knew it, I gained that same passion.

Now I’m going to try my hardest to give my insight on the part of my internship that had the largest impact on me: The SportInspired Festivals. Imagine yourself in a huge hall. What do you see? Over two hundred children with the brightest smiles on their faces and excitement propelling through their mouths and eyes. What do you hear? The vigorous voices of kids literally trying to outcheer everyone in the room. Best of all, what do you feel? A rush of energy that exceedingly expels from every child, every sport provider, and of course every SportInspired team member. The feeling is like no other and you can physically feel the changes you are making in these kids’ lives.

SportInspired is a charity that helps one find themselves. An organisation that helps individuals find the sport that calls to them and that they can develop a passion for. I’ve never felt so impactful and tied to a community before interning at SportInspired. SportInspired helped me to find a side of me that I will never lose. A side that will continue to help those around me so that I can see, hear and feel that amazing, fulfilling sensation I got each day I worked for SportInspired.

Tiffany Banks

Tiffany Banks, SportInspired Intern, Summer 2017

First-ever World Youth Urban Games skates into Glasgow

More than 1000 of Glasgow’s young people are being encouraged to leap, skate and jump towards a healthier, more active lifestyle as a festival of urban sports gets underway in the city.

National charity SportInspired has partnered with Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and Skateboard Scotland to deliver an innovative pilot programme using the power of urban sports to support the young people of North Glasgow to achieve their full potential, helping to propel the community forward.

The programme of skateboarding, parkour, basketball, street dance and more will provide a transformative experience, building young people’s employability skills and confidence, and helping them to lead healthier and happier lives. It will also help to address the rising obesity levels of deprived areas of Scotland, in the context of more intense calls for decisive action against the obesity epidemic the country is facing.

The 18-month pilot programme will engage all primary and secondary schools in North Glasgow, involving 1,000 primary school participants, taking part in up to 10 urban sports, and 150 secondary school students trained as event directors, senior and young leaders.

The programme, based on SportInspired’s behaviour change methodology, consists of a series of multi-sport festivals, young leader training and mentorship, urban sports clubs set-up in primary schools, and inspirational urban sport tasters hosted by sports stars. The pilot programme will culminate in a local Urban Games event in summer 2018, coinciding with the government’s Year of Young People, attended by 500 primary school programme alumni and run by 100 trained young leaders.

The first of the multi-sport Festivals will take place on 20 June at John Paul Academy – 25 of their S2 students will be the first trained young leaders running the event. They will be supported by 40 volunteers from one of the founding sponsors of the programme, the pensions and investment consultant firm Hymans Robertson, to inspire 180 children from four local primary schools to discover a sport they love. The participants will be introduced to a selection of urban sports including skateboarding, parkour, basketball and street dance by local community sports providers, helping to connect community assets and deliver sustainable impact.

Tracey McBride, Active Schools Coordinator at Glasgow City Council, commented “The aim of the Active Schools programme is to increase sports and activity opportunities for all children and young people. The urban sports included in the pilot such as street dance and basketball are extremely popular in Glasgow Schools. We therefore welcome any programme which offers more opportunities for young people to be active on their own doorstep, in their own communities. The role of the S2 students is key to this initiative as leadership is a main theme of the Active Schools programme. These young people will be trained up to assist with the urban sports and will act as role models as the programme continues over the next 5 years.
Based on the success of the pilot programme, the partners’ ambition is to deliver a multi-year urban sport-based social development programme, ‘The World Youth Urban Games Community Programme’, which inspires a future generation to work towards an exciting goal, with the skills to achieve it, and reinforces Glasgow’s position of a progressive global city. Funding is still required to ensure the delivery of the ambitious long-term results once the pilot is completed.

Richard Raynes, CEO and Founder of SportInspired explained, “The five-year programme would take the young people of North Glasgow on a journey designed to grow their passion about participating in urban sports and support them in reaping all the benefits associated with it – living healthier, fuller lives with positive goals and aspirations. The programme is anchored in a year-on-year development of young people’s skills, confidence, and experience, preparing them to become leaders in their own community and begin to deliver an annual world-class urban sports event in 2021 – the first-of-their-kind World Youth Urban Games.”

Steve Dunlop, CEO of Scottish Canals “North Glasgow has undergone an incredible transformation in recent years and has attracted major investment from the public, private and third sectors. By getting local young people involved in new and exciting urban sports, as well as giving them leadership opportunities to help with jobs and training, we can really bring this transformation to life.”

Ali Menzies, Chairman of Skateboard Scotland said “The World Youth Urban games and the programme in Glasgow leading up to it will be a great opportunity for the youth of Glasgow to get involved with skateboarding (some for the first time). Skateboarding is a fully inclusive sport which allows people of all ages to keep fit and learn new skills, like perseverance and determination. It is also more importantly, great fun! Skateboard Scotland is fully supportive of this great opportunity for the youth of Scotland.”

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years said: “An active body encourages an active mind and our schools work very hard to encourage our young people to take part in a wide range of sports and activities and helping to raise attainment and achievement. This pilot is an excellent opportunity for our pupils to try urban sports and learn very important leadership skills as well.”


For further information, contact:
Lidia Borisova
SportInspired Development Director
Email: Lidia.borisova@sportinspired.org
Tel: +44 75 8062 8576

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
Email: Lidia.borisova@sportinspired.org
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:  http://www.littlemusketeers.co.uk/

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: anna.springbett@sportinspired.org

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, http://www.strategy-business.com/article/09306

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