What is the #OpenGoal framework?

In April 2022 the Coalition launched its #OpenGoal campaign and framework to showcase the contribution of sport to building a fairer, more equitable and sustainable future.

#OpenGoal is a shared advocacy framework which members of the Coalition have co-designed in order to showcase their collective impact against a series of specific health and societal outcomes. These include:

  • 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).

#OpenGoal will also focus on cross-sector themes including levelling up communities, tackling inequalities and the contribution of sport for development to climate action.

Open Goal

The campaign is calling on Government to ringfence funding committed for jobs, health and tackling crime towards targeted sport-based interventions, and to capitalise on the multiple returns on investment provided by sport for development.

Visit the campaign hashtag on Twitter.

In particular, #OpenGoal illustrates how the positive health and societal outcomes intentionally generated by the sport-based interventions delivered by Coalition members support eight of the 12 ‘Missions’ identified by the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

The Sport for Development Coalition is a UK-wide network of more than 230 charities and organisations over-arching thousands of projects and programmes that use sport and physical activity-based interventions to intentionally generate positive social outcomes. The network is dedicated to tackling key health and societal inequalities in communities facing disadvantage and deprivation, and in the greatest need of levelling up. The Coalition is supported by Sport England, Comic Relief and Laureus Sport for Good.

The Coalition works by organisations that are intentionally using sport for development signing up to its the Charter and actively contributing to the collective action of the network.

Throughout 2022, 54% of the Coalition members are actively involved in its governance, compared to 33% in 2021. More than 70 members made submissions to the ‘Moving for mental health’ report co-produced with Mind in January 2022.

The targeted interventions delivered by Coalition members create cost savings for national and local government since they produce multiple returns on investment, ranging from improved physical and mental health, to increased educational attainment and employability, and reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.


With the UK facing a cost-of-living crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, 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.

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.

Read about the launch of #OpenGoal.