SEAT Global Magazine - Sports Industry Case Studies Issue 06 August/Sept 2017 - Page 44

Participation Sport

Can Raise It's Game Via

Smart Use of Technology

When it comes to sport, some governments focus their attention on the elite side as opposed to the participation or grassroots side. It’s all about medals and winning at the highest level!

For example, in late 2016, Sport England (the body responsible for getting more people active) announced £88 million in grassroots sport funding over the proceeding four years. This followed an announcement that elite sports funding body UK Sport would be investing £345 million in 31 Olympic and Paralympic sports (including Olympic Games medal targets for Team GB) over a similar period. There is no easy formula to help governments or their funding bodies to find the right balance. What is not in doubt is that grassroots and elite investments must work in harmony and can’t be made in isolation. This blog seeks to define participation sport, looks at one country where growing participation is a key focus and outlines some ideas to assist governments to leverage technology to increase participation.

Improve the healthy lifestyle and wellbeing of citizens by, amongst other things, promoting healthy eating or removing stigmas around mental health (for example, the Irish FA created a health programme with local government that focused on promoting nutrition and tackling mental health throughout Northern Ireland).

Facilitate positive social interactions and inclusion (for example, the FARE Network has created a database of grassroots organisations, teams and football clubs that are actively welcoming refugees or organising training sessions and other initiatives to help refugees).

Help to improve community engagement and reduce crime (for example the FA of Ireland created a programme working in high crime areas).

Increase education levels (through formal education courses such as coach education as well as informal learning e.g. using sport to develop skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication).

WHAT IS PARTICIPATION SPORT?

In its simplest form, participation or grassroots sport is all about taking part in active sport for fun and enjoyment. It is concerned with the masses rather than the few.

Physical exercise can bring many benefits to a society namely,

Insights & Perspectives

Submitted by Geoff Wilson and David Fowler from Northern Ireland Sports