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1 Jan 2020 | 21:21

The Sport for Development Coalition is well-placed to support the aims of the Government's Levelling Up White Paper. Here Jo Broadwood, CEO of Belong - The Cohesion and Integration Network, explains how her organisation will contribute:

"Belong welcomes the ambitious vision laid out in the Levelling Up White Paper to reverse decades of entrenched inequality between different areas of the country. We are particularly pleased to see the emphasis on the essential role of ‘social capital’ and ‘institutional capital’ as two of the six capitals identified as necessary to levelling up. This highlights the important role of trust, strong relationships between and within local communities, and the capacity and capability of local leadership in developing cohesive and thriving local places.

"Our own research into the impact of the pandemic on community connections and trust demonstrates that areas that have focused on social cohesion by putting communities in charge, building social infrastructure, developing pride in place, and establishing place-based partnerships between public, private and civil society organisations (including with arts, culture and sport) proved more resilient in the face of crisis.

"We know how to do this. In the last year, Belong has worked closely with partners in the sports sector to develop the Power of Sport digital toolkit, a resource that enables sports organisations to maximise the positive impact they have on community cohesion.

"This is a lesson we can learn and should seek to apply throughout the levelling up programme, because civic strength provides the best foundation for economic renewal. We look forward to hearing more details on the Government’s plans to implement and resource this vision, and we will work with them to highlight, measure and evaluate the vital role that social cohesion can play in it."


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