The Community Sport Activation Fund is a £40 million Lottery revenue fund developed to support grassroots activity at a very local level. It’s managed by Sport England, and they don’t prescribe how projects are delivered, but instead invest in what works best in different areas, based on local evidence. Projects can be for up to three years and the grants will range from £50,000 – £250,000 with partnership funding required.
Here are a few of the criteria that Sport England are looking at:
- A focus on a clearly defined geographical area and community
- Demonstrable understanding of sporting needs
- Evidence of what potential participants want or need in order to take part in sport once a week
Sport England’s market segmentation is a good starting point for this, and you can use their interactive segmentation tool to start the research process. But you’ll probably need more than that. After all, Sport England want local evidence.
If you want to know what local people want to do then there’s nothing like talking to them. However, we’ve learnt that if you ask people what activity they want to do via a survey on the street then they don’t necessarily tell you the truth. They don’t go out of their way to lie to you, but they haven’t necessarily been thinking about getting active, so they’re not sure what they want to do. Focus groups are quite good, but you only get to talk to a very small number of people (focus groups cost from £1250 – £2500 to talk to 6-12 people).
If instead you offer people a service to help them actually get active, they immediately start thinking about what they really want to do. We run this kind of research regularly as part of our campaigns and while helping people to get active we find that people start off saying one thing, but after we’ve asked them lots of questions to check exactly what they want to do, they end up telling us something else. For example someone will say that they’d like to do aerobics, and when we show an interest and ask about exactly what kind of aerobics session they’d like to do, and at what level, they then might say “well, what I’d really like to do is start swimming, but I’d need some classes to help me get started.”
This approach helps us identify what the gaps are in local provision. It might be that new activities are needed, or in new areas, or on new days. For instance in Greenwich we found that there was a demand for pole dancing classes, in Hillingdon they found that there was a demand for archery, in East Riding we found there was a demand for bowls and pilates.
How we can help
We’re good at supporting projects with getting Sport England funding. We’re working with 3 of the 14 projects that got funding from Get Healthy Get Into Sport, so we can help you too. We’re experienced at running this kind of research to help people get active, and are therefore good at finding out what those gaps are. This can be incredibly targeted towards a specific audience, in a specific area, and can get you exactly the kind of data you need to win funding.