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In the week following the Social Enterprise Spotlight event on Wednesday 26 June (you can read the tweets from the night to find out more), we have asked one of the social entrepreneurs involved, Richard Raynes, to tell us about his social enterprise, SportInspired:

The Big Idea: Transforming young people’s health and happiness using community sport and private sector role models and resources.

Myself and my best mate, Peter Thomond, founded SportInspired in 2009 in recognition of a serious social need and as a thanks to the sports coaches who inspired us both as kids. We had witnessed for a number of years in London, a severe lack of partnership working within local communities around sport. This meant that, other than for those young people who enjoyed playing football, many were missing out on the various physical and wellbeing benefits of regularly participating in local sport.  Our mission is to improve confidence, activity levels and life skills of young people who need it most. To achieve this mission we’ve created a unique platform – SportInspired Games - to enable role models from business and local communities through the power of sport; businesses with a purpose beyond profit use our platform to achieve talent, brand and community development goals. In doing so, they help local schools, public and third sector organisations to improve social cohesion, youth attainment and health.

A typical SportInspired Games is a six to nine month programme, centred on a cleverly designed competitive multi-sport festival to deliver community-building and sports development in three steps:

Step 1 - Co-create:

  • recruit corporate and community stakeholders
  • agree stakeholder objectives for getting involved
  • co-design festival to meet local needs and deliver stakeholder objectives
  • Step 2 - Festival:

    • an inclusive one-day festival of sport, delivered by role models from business and local young leaders
    • 200-500 children and 10-200 business volunteers compete in 6-10 local community sports (including disability sport) - the focus: team spirit!
    • Step 3 - Legacy:

      • a smart follow-up programme to ensure kids get into sport and all stakeholders achieve their objectives
      • SportInspired-Poster2-1024x723

        The story so far

        We’re about to deliver our 100th programme, and it’s clear that we have developed a sustainable platform that is a proven, customisable turn–key solution for business and community leaders.  Businesses with a purpose beyond profit use our Community Games to: connect communities and their own people to their brand; dramatically increase volunteering numbers; boost staff morale & engagement and develop leaders.

        This in turn helps our community stakeholders (who tend to be local schools and their students, local sports clubs, councils, 3rd sector organisations, and the businesses who fund the programme and run the multi-sport festivals) to do a number of things:

        • increase the confidence, activity levels and life skills of young people
        • boost membership of local sports clubs
        • access new adult volunteers
        • improve pupils’ attitude towards learning and being active, and
        • build positive connections across the community – especially between schools and sports clubs
        • In the last 12 months, our corporate partner Sky has engaged 672 staff as volunteer business role models who have worked with us to deliver 15 projects.  In doing so, 97% of the employee volunteers reported that the programmes have helped them to better connect to Sky as an employer, better connect to each other, and enhance their communication, leadership and team-working skills.

          SportInspired has been a great initiative for our students as young leaders….it’s created self-confidence where there was once self-doubt.

          Corporate partners like this enable our growing team to achieve great outcomes:

          • 80% of sports clubs surveyed in 2012 report have been ‘strengthened’ as a result of taking part in the National Community Games.  They made connections with schools, recruited volunteers from business partners, recruited new members, learnt from other clubs and provided new coaching experiences for next generation club leaders
          • 95% of teachers reported improvements in pupils’ relationship with sport and PE, and would recommend SportInspired’s Games to other schools
          • “SportInspired has been a great initiative for our students as young leaders….it’s created self-confidence where there was once self-doubt”. Roy Page, Deputy Head, Oxted Comprehensive School
          • I believe there really is a sport out there for everyone.  It’s a real privilege to be on this journey with so many amazing people. Seeing our initial vision come to life and have real impact over the last few years has only made me hungrier to scale our efforts. After all, every child deserves to be happy and healthy.

            I believe there really is a sport out there for everyone.  Seeing our initial vision come to life has only made me hungrier to scale our efforts.

            In the last year, SportInspired and our corporate partners have worked with 15,000 people in 45 communities across the UK. Our analysis of UK-wide health, crime, and social statistics, reveals the need for 400 Community Games programmes in the toughest 10% of communities in the UK. Our next step is to scale our enterprise further to reach that 10% over the next 3 years.

            How you can get involved

            Being part of the RSA’s Social Enterprise Spotlight programme has, quite simply, helped me maintain my sanity during some of our tough times.  I’ve gained invaluable coaching and encouragement from other Fellows, which has helped me to keep my confidence in continuing to grow the business in tough economic times. To achieve our ambitious goal of scale, our next steps will require investment, new technology, and larger and deeper relationships with corporates. I’d be delighted to connect with other Fellows who might be able to help, especially anyone who might like to see their company become a client of SportInspired, or who has expertise to help smarten up/re-vamp our branding and communications.

            Please don’t hesitate to get in touch via:

            Twitter: @sportinspired


            Rich Raynes

            Co-founder, SportInspired

            SportInspired and Richard Raynes took part in Social Enterprise Spotlight, a study of the successes and challenges of nine social entrepreneurs over the course of  a year - designed to help them and the rest of the network develop.  To find out more, please visit the online group for the Social Entrepreneurs Network - and keep an eye on this blog.  More information will be coming soon!



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