Coalition supporters will come together on and around 6th April 2024, the UN's International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to mark the second anniversary of the #OpenGoal framework.

#OpenGoal is a Shared Advocacy Framework, co-designed by members of the Coalition network, which aims to showcase the contribution of sport and physical activity in the UK to building a healthier, more equitable and sustainable future. It is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals within the UN's Agenda 2030.


Read this live blog showing how Coalition supporters came together in April 2023 to highlight their contributions to #OpenGoal, with support from sports stars including rugby union legend Lawrence Dallaglio, Paralympic champion Susie Rodgers MBE and former footballer Sky Sports presenter Jobi McAnuff.

The framework aims to highlight to policy-makers how Coalition supporters, working predominantly in disadvantaged communities across the UK, are collectively helping to meet priority policy objectives and sustainable development goals, including:

  • Improved health and wellbeing – in two leading sport for development organisations, participants on StreetGames’ Doorstep Sport programme with greatest increase in wellbeing saw 11% of participants with high wellbeing at the start of the project increase to 74% at follow-up. The impact of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust sport-based mentoring programme saw an overall increase of 7.5% in mental wellbeing across all programmes.
  • Closing the gap in education and development – Youth Sport Trust’s National PE, School Sport and Physical Activity Survey found 87% of schools considered that sport makes a positive contribution to achievement, and 65% to attainment.
  • Increased employability and skills – 59% of 8,500 participants across seven sport for development initiatives   progressed into education, training or employment opportunities over a 12-month period.
  • Reduced crime and anti-social behaviour – numerous sport-based early intervention initiatives consistently report more than 70% of participants have reduced offending and anti-social behaviour. The average re-offending rate in the five initiatives for 18 to 21-year-olds focused on in the Sporting Chance Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons was 11.6% which is significantly lower than the national average of 26%.
  • Stronger communities and social cohesion – 62.3% of participants either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they feel like they belong to their neighbourhood. This is 3.4% higher than the national average of 58.9% (based on 555 responses from the Coalition’s Collective Survey Tool).

The framework also focuses on cross-sector themes including tackling inequalities and the contribution of sport for development to climate action. Read more in the first #OpenGoal annual report published in April 2023.

The Coalition has commissioned research focused on each area of the framework. So far this has resulted in three policy briefs, each of which includes five key recommendations to policy-makers:

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Through this series of recommendations, Coalition supporters are calling on policy-makers to ringfence funding committed for jobs, health and tackling crime towards targeted sport-based interventions, and to capitalise on the multiple returns on investment offered by sport for development.

As an example, in early 2023 Coalition partners StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice came together to manage the Ministry of Justice's £5million Youth Justice Sport Fund. The fund was distributed to 218 locally-trusted organisations across England and Wales.

The targeted interventions delivered by Coalition members create cost savings for national and local government since they produce multiple returns on investment across priority policy goals.

With the UK facing a cost-of-living crisis, sport for development can act as a vital tool in supporting communities in the greatest need of ‘levelling up’ while simultaneously helping to reduce public spending.

Meeting the greatest need

Sport for development predominantly supports those communities and individuals facing the greatest levels of deprivation and disadvantage, who have been impacted most by health and societal inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19. An analysis of almost 35,000 beneficiaries across leading sport for development interventions across the network showed that 64% of participants were from the 30% most deprived areas of the country.

Green Book guidance, produced for Treasury in 2020, emphasises that place-based interventions in deprived communities – such as those delivered by Coalition members – deliver additional value and returns, with distributional analysis highlighting the costs and benefits of interventions for different population groups.

Comparative analysis underscores the greater economic value of targeted sport for development interventions in deprived communities compared to the broader benefits of participation in sport across the population as a whole, where outcomes are not necessarily intended or defined.