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Our purpose

Yorkshire Sport Foundation is the active partnership covering South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. We are a National Lottery funded charity, supporting organisations across our nine districts.

Our vision is to create a vibrant, healthy and prosperous Yorkshire through everyone moving more. To do this we will connect, influence and support the work of local, regional and national organisations. 

Read our strategy Who we are Highlights 2022-2023

We are stronger when we move together.

We believe in the power of movement, physical activity and sport to change people’s lives, bring us together and tackle inequality.

We are clear in our ambition for it to be easy and enjoyable for everyone in Yorkshire to be active. We know moving more, being active or taking part in sport can help people to improve their lives.

Many people already benefit from being active but too many people also face challenges to build activity into their day-to-day lives. 

Supported by system partner funding from Sport England and the National Lottery, our vision is a vibrant, healthy and prosperous Yorkshire through everyone moving more. And we mean, everyone. 

We are stronger when we move together. This is why our work fully supports the aims and common purpose of Sport England’s 2021- 2031 Uniting the Movement vision by connecting, influencing and supporting the people and places across our regions. We are committed to playing our part.

Read our strategy here

YSF Strategy 2022 and beyond front cover

Underpinning our vision are eight themes:  

Neighbourhoods and communities will be vibrant and connected through local people creating a range of easy and enjoyable opportunities to be active.   

Where we all live, work and play will be designed to make it east to be active. Green, blue and open spaces will be open to make the most of our natural settings. Our spaces and places will be safe, accessible and inclusive for local people.  

Physical activity will play a major role within health and care systems so that everyone can enjoy more healthy years of life. 

It will be easy to make journeys by walking and cycling to connect people with employment, education, leisure and tourism. Everyone can access these journeys that are integrated into the wider public transport system. 

Employers encourage and support their people to be physically active throughout their working day. 

Regular, population and targeted, effective public campaigns will connect and inspire people from all backgrounds to be active. 

All children and young people will be active for at least 30 minutes within the school day and early years’ settings will provide the foundations for an active life. 

There are inclusive, safe and accessible, formal and informal high quality sports opportunities at every level, and easy progression for talent to flourish. 

YSF CEO Nigel Harrison:

"Our partners tell us we are many things to many people. And we like that about ourselves. We know we cannot achieve our vision alone. This is why we promote and encourage a ‘whole-of-systems’ approach – a way of ensuring that complex situations are tackled with common understanding, flexible working and agreed actions across the many agencies, organisations and communities who share a collective purpose across South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. To us, this means working collaboratively and purposefully.  

"We know there are inequalities in our communities. We’re going to work hard to eradicate them. We will support all our people and places to be active. This includes adopting an approach that will focus on people and places in greatest need, with targeted support and additional resource, to make the biggest difference.  

"‘Everyone active’ isn’t a slogan or a far-off vision. We are committed to make it real for the benefit of the people and places in Yorkshire. We hope many others will join us in doing so." 

How we work

Rotherham strategy meeting

Connect: bringing people, ideas, agendas, projects and expertise together.

We recognise there are thousands of people, groups and organisations across South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire who can make a difference in people’s lives through movement, physical activity and sport.We are proud to be part of this big picture – a movement building across our local places – and we continue to bring people together to unite our collective purpose.

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Influence: shifting thinking, policy and decision making.

We know we need to influence the many to realise our vision – and being influential requires building trusting relationships, a common purpose and shared values. We recognise the strong foundation we have built to do this so we can now be bold where required, listen when needed, step aside when appropriate or take a leading role in effecting change. This means making movement, physical activity and sport everyone’s business.

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Support: providing backing, funding, guidance and resources.

We acknowledge we are uniquely and strongly placed to kick-start change. Our charitable status, Sport England National Lottery funding and membership of the Active Partnership network enables us to invest through our partners and local communities as and where needed. This will look different to different partners in different places, and will shift as local conditions and outcomes continue to evolve and transform.

Our place in the national picture 

Sport England invests Lottery funding in sport and physical activity to make it a normal part of life for everyone, regardless of who you are.

We work with partners to deliver Sport England‘s strategy Uniting the Movement. Launched in 2021, the strategy is a 10-year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.

The strategy will help deliver against the five health, social and economic outcomes set out in the Government’s Get Active strategy.

National Lottery and Sport England logos

The physical benefits of sport and physical activity are well documented. Being active can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30-40% and can reduce the risk of a range of medical conditions, including cancer, dementia, strokes, heart disease and depression, but only 56% of adults are physically active for the 150 minutes each week which are part of recommendations by the UK’s CMOs. The figures are lower still for children. Physical inactivity costs the UK an estimated £7.4bn each year. 

Sport is, for many people, a hugely enjoyable experience. Physical activity can reduce stress and anxiety. Mastering new skills can increase confidence and self-esteem. Volunteering to help other people at local sporting events can be very satisfying and major sporting success leads to great national pride. Research has shown that exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for those with mild clinical depression.

These positive mental wellbeing outcomes are every bit as important as the physical benefits from taking part in sport, and evidence is clear on the mental as well as physical health benefits of meeting the CMO guidelines. However, less is known about the precise links between mental wellbeing and sporting behaviours. Placing mental wellbeing at the heart of this new strategy will ensure that more evidence is collected and government and its agencies will work with the new What Works Centre for Wellbeing among other initiatives to fill these gaps.

We know through work already funded by government and a great many consultation responses how powerfully sport can affect an individual’s development more broadly. Evidence shows clearly how taking part in sport improves educational behaviour and attainment, through greater self-esteem and confidence and direct cognitive benefits. This can also have a positive impact on the employment opportunities available to individuals and sport can have a positive role in tackling the problems of those who are not in employment, education or training (NEETS).

Currently these individual development impacts are a nice additional benefit from engagement in sport that, while acknowledged, tend not to be the main reason for making the investment. For the future, we will make sure that public investment in sport recognises and encourages the broader benefits of sport to the individual, in particular the behaviours and skills linked to employment through improvements in perceived self-efficacy.

Various scales have been developed to measure self-efficacy and DCMS will work with other relevant government departments, ONS and academics in 2016 to identify the best way of evidencing the impact of this strategy in this area.

As well as developing individuals, sport can help build stronger communities by bringing people together, often from different backgrounds, to make them feel better about where they live, improve community links and cohesion and build social capital.

We know that people who volunteer in sport, for example, are more likely to feel they belong in their area and people who take part in sport are likely to enjoy stronger social links with other people. There are many aspects to measuring social capital, but the best starting point for the type of impact we want sport to focus on having is the level of social trust within communities.

In the past, the economic value of sport has been looked at completely separately to the other public benefits sport can deliver. A significant proportion of the £39bn sport contributes to the UK’s GDP comes from grassroots sport, the millions of people who buy trainers, bikes, gym memberships or pay match fees. The government’s investment of £10m in the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 helped unlock a £125m contribution to GDP. So the UK’s economic success is bound up with our sporting engagement, and vice versa. Sport also plays a huge role in supporting the GREAT Britain campaign to promote the UK abroad and the UK was ranked top in a recent analysis of global soft power.

The economic impact of sport, how it creates jobs, promotes growth and drives exports is a fundamental part of this new strategy. We will ask organisations to consider not just how they contribute to the nation’s health or wellbeing, but to the economy as well, both nationally and locally.

Sport England invests most of its funding through three groups of System Partners

The organisation that leads on supporting the UKs competitive athletes is UK Sport.

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