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25 Aug 2023 | 13:13

The Sport for Development Coalition is working with key partners to deliver an online conference aimed at sharing knowledge and raising awareness of the role of sport in building social cohesion on Thursday 21st September (1000-1200).

‘One Team: How sport can build more connected communities’ is being hosted by the Belong Network, supported by StreetGames, Youth Sport Trust and Sporting Equals, and will specifically support this area of the Coalition’s #OpenGoal Shared Advocacy Framework.


#OpenGoal highlights a series of key outcomes which Coalition network members are generating every day across the UK. One of the five principal outcomes is ‘Stronger communities and social cohesion’.

The conference is free for anyone working or volunteering in the sports and physical activity sector who wants to better understand the powerful impact their programmes can have in helping to build stronger, more cohesive communities.

Register here


Keynote speakers and participants will include Kim Leadbeater MP who chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting on sport for social change earlier this summer, and Ruth Hollis, CEO Spirit of 2012.

A statement on the Belong website explained: “We will bring together organisations from across the sector to showcase programmes which have led the way in doing this, and hear from those who have designed, evaluated and participated in these programmes. We will listen to experts on place-based theories of change, and how to capture cohesion impact.


“And we will kickstart a conversation as to how collectively we can support each other to build the knowledge, skills and capacity we need to have even greater impact in helping to build stronger communities wherever we work.”

View the conference agenda

Key topics of discussion will include:

  • How sports and physical activity programmes can maximise their positive impact on cohesion.
  • Understanding place-based theories of change.
  • How to capture cohesion impact.
  • The experiences of participants and facilitators.
  • What additional capacity, skills or resources does the sector need to do more of this?
  • #OpenGoal advocacy: working to demonstrate the power of sport to build cohesion and stronger communities.

Organisations participating include:

  • Comic Relief
  • Greater London Authority
  • Yorkshire Sport
  • Sport for Development Coalition
  • Youth Sport Trust
  • Ready Steady Active
  • Sporting Equals
  • Access Sport
  • Salaam Peace

With the support of Sport England and Spirit of 2012, Belong developed the Power of Sport toolkit. The network is now working with sectoral partners through the Power of Sport Community of Practice to further develop the confidence and capacity of the sector to maximise the impact it can have in building stronger, more connected communities.

Register here