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28 Jan 2021 160

Thought leadership article: #UnitingTheMovement

UK Coaching's Director of Coaching Emma Atkins recaps the launch of Sport England's new 10-year strategy.

It was great to watch Sport England’s ‘Uniting The Movement’ strategy and really exciting to see all the positive messages on social media from colleagues representing sport and physical activity across the country.

There were constant references to the importance of supporting people to make this 10-year vision a reality, which connects with UK Coaching’s mission to get, and keep, the nation more active through our coaching family. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, this is going to be more vital than ever before.

Key conduits

As we know, many young people are failing to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise and almost a third of children were classed as ‘inactive’ as a result of the first lockdown. Transforming fitness levels, tackling obesity and focusing on those who have been ‘left behind’ is at the heart of Sport England’s strategy and sits right at the centre of our own thinking.

People with great coaching skills and behaviours will be key conduits in successfully delivering the new strategy and will need to be supported by us, Sport England and our partners.

We have been working hard over the last few years to redefine the word coach, which for many painted an image of some super fit human being in a tracksuit with a whistle, standing at the side of a sports pitch. If you’re helping people to move or are offering support, you are a coach.

Great coaches across sport and activity settings don’t just inspire people to get active but can bring communities together. We must invest in great coaches and include more people into the coaching family to ensure accessible activity is available for all. And as we drive this agenda, we must be able to fund and employ coaches who work in communities that have been hit hardest.

Together, we must also ensure all coaches are equipped with the right tools to come on this journey. The world we live in has gone digital and we know that some coaches have been lost in this digital revolution because they’re not on social networks or connecting with online learning. We are working hard to ensure we are talking to every coach – and potential coach – in every sector and at every level of accessibility.

"Challenge behaviours that are not welcome in our world"

If we are to truly enable equality, we all need to be ready to listen and act on the needs of all who play, or could play, such a vital role in the coaching family and take a collective responsibility to challenge behaviours that are not welcome in our world. 

Great campaigns like #TellYourStory – which has given people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to tell their story of racial inequality in sport – enable voices to be heard but it is our collective responsibility to make long term change happen.

With that in mind, we are excited to launch our Coaching Advisory Panel next week – part of our ongoing work to tackle inequalities and put the coach at the heart of our activity. Collaborative work between national strategic partners, national governing bodies of sport, community leaders and coaches and our network will ensure that we gather the right information to drive our own strategy, which we will develop in the coming months.

Sport England’s CEO Tim Hollingsworth spoke to a number of organisations following the strategy launch. He said, “together, we can change lives for the better, in every home and every community across the country".

That is our intention too. Our contribution is to bring the coaching family with us on the journey, supporting them as people first and ensuring that they are happy and healthy so they can then go and do amazing things for others.

You can read more about the strategy by heading to unitingthemovement.org.

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