Sport England funding announcement


Women in Sport is delighted to be working in partnership with Sport England to level up access to sport and physical activity across the country, alongside over a hundred other partners. The charity will receive expertise, support and a five-year investment totalling £3.4m of government funding from Sport England to co-deliver the ambitions of its 10-year Uniting the Movement strategy.

Sport and exercise can be life-changing to girls and women but participation, particularly in team sports has long lagged behind that of boys and men.  The latest Sport England Active Lives data has shown that women and girls have failed to bounce back to activity levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic. And for those with long-term health conditions, disabilities, or from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups it is even lower.

Women in Sport has a track record of success in securing change based on deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of women and girls at each life stage and its determination to break down stubborn gender inequalities through its work within the sports sector and beyond.

With this investment the charity will challenge deep-rooted stereotypes across our society that continue to hold women and girls back from accessing sport and exercise and leading healthy and empowered lives. We will do this through building expert insights into the lives of women and girls through our research and working in the sports sector and beyond to trial changes to policy and practice that get more women and girls active.  The charity also has a powerful campaigning voice that puts a spotlight on the continuing inequalities women face from almost the moment they’re born.

Women in Sport alongside other partners were selected by Sport England due to their ability to achieve change and inspire improvements at the heart of the sporting ecosystem. Support for our charity is part of a journey to revolutionise Sport England’s approach to long-term partnerships as it seeks to collaborate with innovative organisations to deliver Uniting the Movement and build a nation where everyone can get active.

Over £550 million is being invested in total by Sport England. This new funding model provides longer-term financial security as organisations recover and reinvent from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Physical activity does more than just build strong hearts and muscles, it brings self-belief, resilience, mental wellbeing, joy and freedom; no-one should be excluded from these life-long benefits.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Women in Sport CEO

Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women in Sport said: ‘We are delighted to secure this investment from Sport England, a long-term supporter of the work we’ve been doing since 1984. It demonstrates Sport England’s commitment to put women and girls in all their diversity centre stage in delivering Uniting the Movement, a strategy to tackle the deep-rooted inequalities in sport, leisure and society at large.  Physical activity does more than just build strong hearts and muscles, it brings self-belief, resilience, mental wellbeing, joy and freedom; no-one should be excluded from these life-long benefits. With five years of funding, we can be even more ambitious in breaking down barriers and with the partnerships we form demonstrating that change is possible. We look forward to building and sharing our knowledge in this space, through innovation and in championing policies that change the lives of women and girls.’

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “Sport England’s goal is to get everyone active– no matter who they are, where they live, or what their background is. But we know that certain groups – including women and girls– are more likely to be inactive. We can only innovate and tackle inequalities effectively by thinking about long-term change; Uniting the Movement is a long-term vision, and our funding approach needs to reflect that. Changes to our funding model will help us achieve our goal, by making it easier for our partners to do what they need to do to level up and deliver.”