We know that sport has the power to change lives and communities for the better. Taking part in regular sporting activity can improve an individual’s physical and mental well-being, as well as widen social networks and teach a respect for rules and learn skills that can be valuable in everyday life.
We are though only too aware of the number of people who play no sport at all. For many young people their only experience of sport is a school PE lesson, which may not meet their needs and fail to encourage them to play outside of school. Some adults find organised sports sessions too restrictive to fit within their busy daily lives and need more flexibility to choose when they play. Participation levels are lowest amongst girls and young women, those from poorer families or who are disabled.
WNST’s annual income is around £1 million per annum, which we use to make grants to enable the widest possible participation in various community sports activities. We aim to help address these sporting inequalities and ensure that the lessons from what we learn through our funding get disseminated widely.
We operate three distinct geographical and thematic programmes, further details of which can be found below.
Wembley Stadium lies at the heart of the London Borough of Brent, in north-west London. It is one of the most diverse and vibrant parts of the capital. But it is also one of high levels of deprivation and need, particularly in terms of low income, poor housing and ill-health. Parts of the borough are amongst the 5% most deprived in London.
WNST has developed a programme specifically to fund projects benefiting people living in Brent. Our constitution requires a sizeable proportion of our funding to go towards football-related projects but we are also interested in supporting sports participation across the board.
We are looking to fund both local sports clubs as well as larger or more general community organisations providing sports activities or facilities. Grants are available for both revenue (running costs, training courses etc.) as well as capital (facilities, equipment etc.)
We expect there to be two grants rounds a year each distributing around £150,000.
Each round will have two programmes:
• Community awards – grants of up to £2,500 to local sports clubs or other organisations towards general running costs, coaching, training courses, equipment etc.
• Strategic awards – a smaller number of larger grants to fund broader revenue projects or larger capital works.
To see the application process and to find out the next closing date click here
Programme 1 – Disability Sport
2017 sees the end of our first London-wide programme, supporting the development of new sporting opportunities for disabled Londoners. We sought to make a real difference to the position where only about 10% of disabled Londoners take part in any regular physical activity. All too often, from school age and beyond, disabled people are dissuaded from joining in games or PE sessions and it is easy for them to develop a mind-set that sport is not for them. Even for many of those who do want to participate, the opportunities to do so are few and far between, with too many mainstream sports activities inaccessible. There may often be the will to run inclusive or adapted clubs or sessions, but either a lack of knowledge or suitable facilities prevents a disabled person from taking part.
We funded a limited of organisations with a strong track record of disability sports delivery, to help them develop new programmes of work, especially to provide competitive disabled sports opportunities where none previously existed.
Around £1m was invested over three years, enabling literally thousands of disabled Londoners to give sport a try, be that football, cricket, athletics or one of the many sports offered at multi-activity days. Projects included sessions for people of all ages with with different levels of physical disabilities, visual impairment, learning difficulties, mental ill health and Autisim. We have also ensured that the lessons learned from each project are shared with other organisations and have watched as much of the work has been replicated on a grand scale.
A full list of the grants awarded can be found here.
Programme 2 – TeamUp girls sports
These three National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are each hosting their respective women’s world cup tournament in England over the coming three years. The NGBs have therefor come together to use this unique opportunity to provide a major incentive to encourage thousands more girls to take up team sports.
The statistics on the drop-off in girls participation in sport as they get older is of real concern. By their mid-teens, many girls have become too body-conscious, or put off sport by peer pressure or a dispiriting experience of PE at school. And yet, in addition to all of the health and well-being benefits of playing sport, there are real advantages of participation in team sports – learning leadership, co-operation and strategic skills that serve us well in later life. Those girls who do maintain an interest in sport mostly do so in activities such as dance, gym or equestrianism, which are often very much individual pastimes.
TeamUp will bring together schools with their local networks of cricket, netball and hockey clubs to encourage more girls to take part – running after-school clubs, training especially primary school teachers to deliver better lessons and aiming to get the girls out of the schools and playing at the clubs. Schools will earn rewards and “money-can’t-buy” opportunities, the more they take part.
WNST is funding the London work of TeamUp, with a grant of £675,000 over three years, split between the three NGBs. We’ll keep you up to date with progress.
For more information or to sign up your school visit www.teamupengland.com
To complement this programme, we are also funding the London FA, as the lead partner in the Capital Women’s Football Partnership, to train and develop a cohort of at least 100 new female football coaches over the period 2017-20. When qualified, these women will be ideally placed to help deliver the massive investment from the Premier League, the FA and elsewhere in girls football. Many of the clubs recognise that there are far too few well-qualified female coaches, who can also act as role models for girls and young women looking to make their way in the game.
There is therefore considerable hope that this investment from WNST of £120,000 can make a real difference to the progress of girls football in London.
Wembley is the national home of English football. It is therefore important that our grant making reflects this country-wide remit.
We have formed a partnership with the EFL Trust, which oversees the work of the community trusts of the clubs playing in the English Football League (i.e. below the Premier League) to run a major three-year programme of disability football activities.
WNST is providing more than £1m to fund 25 of the club community trusts up and down the country to help them each to fill a gap in disability football provision in their area. This encompasses a wide range of needs for people with physical disabilities, wheelchair users, children with autism, people with sensory impairments, adults with enduring mental ill health or those with learning difficulties.
The club community trusts are at the very heart of their local communities and are able to identify where their priorities lie, according to local needs.
The EFL Trust is providing day-to-day management of the programme and co-ordinating the collation of monitoring and evaluation information on behalf of WNST.
A full list of the grants awarded can be found here.
The first year of the programme was very successful, exceeding its targets. Overall, we saw more than 3,500 participants across the 25 clubs, which is a fantastic achievement. Player retention rates are also excellent, with 57% attending more than ten sessions. We also know from what the players are telling us, that taking part is so beneficial to their quality of life – their physical and mental well-being, social connection and learning new life skills. We hope that year 2 will deliver an even greater level of impact.