CEO Hollingsworth: ‘Organisations like Fight 4 Change shows Sport England how people on the ground are thinking’
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive, Sport England spoke with Fight 4 Change after the Made by Sport launch at the Black Prince Community Hub.
Fight 4 Change: You have just heard the community sport coaches, including Gizmo from Fight 4 Change, in the panel discussion about their experiences at a grassroots level. It must really bring this campaign to life?
Tim Hollingsworth: It does more than that, it teaches and tells us how we need to behave and think differently at Sport England. If you look traditionally at how we work, although we’ve been very interested in grassroots, we’ve tended to work by going that same ‘this is how we want to engage’. Turning the telescope around a bit [to look at ourselves], how can our engagement best help is a much better way of looking at it.
Organisations like Fight 4 Change can show us actually how people on the ground are thinking about the people and place. So, we’ve already got the place to go and the people to do it, so (as Sport England) what can we do in terms of our resource to sustain and grow that?
Fight 4 Change: Are people like Gizmo – a former participant who has now become a coach – the best voices to hear from?
Tim Hollingsworth: Yes, for two reasons. Firstly, you get the genuine evidence of the impact and the outcome so you can see the transformed life, which is the thing that is otherwise rather abstract at the level we’re operating at and, secondly, more than that, there’s expertise there – there’s people who know what works.
One of the most important things for us as Sport England is to be less convinced that we know what works and more convinced that we need to find the people that do know what works.
The more we work in that way, the more local we can become without having to try and think we have to do everything as Sport England.
Fight 4 Change: You’re here at some prime real estate in central London – at the Black Prince Community Hub which is, in itself, a ‘mini-coalition’ – where there are a number of not-for-profit charities, sports, coaching and much more on offer. It’s a real community hub. Why are place like this so important, to be within walking distance of their local communities and offer multisport and multiple choices?
Tim Hollingsworth: It’s really impressive. I was really lucky and grew up with lots of access to sporting facilities and opportunities through school and outside, to play and enjoy sport, because the community I lived in was set up to do that.
What’s blatantly obvious is that is not the case across the country.
Where trusts and communities like the Black Prince Trust can do this is so important because it becomes trusted, known and, most importantly, it gives people a chance to feel that they belong and can be somewhere.
Where it works best is where it’s organic and where it has grown up because the community wants it. That is when, as Sport England, we know that’s when we need to get behind it and back it.