DD2323 SportsAid 2019-2020

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
26 February 2019
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Assistant Director for External Relations

Executive summary

This decision form seeks approval to award £100,000 funding to SportsAid for the second-year pilot of ‘Performance Pathways’. Year one was approved under cover of DD2232.

This £100,000 funding will be delivered in partnership with SportsAid to award small grants to talented young athletes in London, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, to help them overcome the financial obstacles often faced when pursuing a sporting career. The funding will help young, aspiring athletes achieve their sporting potential and provide them with additional opportunities such as workshops, mentoring and community ambassador opportunities.

The funding will be made under the “Performance Pathways” strand of the Mayor’s sports programme, Sport Unites, approved under cover of MD2244.


That the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence approves expenditure of up to £100,000 as a contribution to its costs of supporting up to 80 young athletes in London comprising:

1. £70,000 – 70 individual grants of £1,000 to young talented athletes in London;
2. £10,000 – to fund up to an additional 10 athletes in return for value in kind from high profile SportsAid Alumni who support Sport Unites projects;
3. £10,000 – hosting events and workshops for athletes and their support networks; and
4. £10,000 – related SportsAid costs including the development of workshop content, training, event and grant management.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Sport Unites

Sport Unites will invest up to £5.8 million of GLA funding into community sport in London (approved under cover of MD2244) from April 2018 – March 2021 across the three themes: (i) Sport for Social Integration, (ii) Active Londoners, and (iii) Workforce and Capacity Building.

Theme one – Sport for Social Integration: The Mayor wants social integration to be an explicit outcome of his sports programme. His ambition is to make London the first city in the world to maximise the potential of sport to increase social integration. Investment through this theme will target isolation and loneliness or facilitate social mixing.

‘Sport for all of us’ – The Mayor’s Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity sets outs investment plans within this theme. This includes ‘Performance Pathways’ – a ring fenced investment to “support some of London’s most talented young athletes to reach their full potential and act as role models in their communities”. A focus is placed on supporting young athletes from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


SportsAid is a leading national charity that helps the next generation of British sports stars by giving them financial support and recognition during the critical early stages of their careers as well as additional opportunities such as workshops and mentoring. SportsAid is uniquely placed to reach GB’s most talented athletes. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, SportsAid alumni won 46 of Team GB’s 67 medals (20 gold, 15 silver, 11 bronze) and 104 of Paralympics GB’s 147 medals (44 gold, 28 silver and 32 bronze).

Between 60-70% of UK sport funded athletes were initially funded by SportsAid until they were able to secure lottery funding. In addition to cash awards to athletes, SportsAid also provides valuable support and guidance to family members where parents can attend workshops and receive tailored advice as to how to support their child through their journey into elite sport.

SportsAid has a nationwide brief with a ‘hotspot’ in London. Through the Performance Pathways, the GLA would like to improve the reach of SportsAid in London and increase their ability to fund the new generation of athletes from London, in particular those athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds who may not otherwise be able to achieve their sporting potential due to financial barriers.

As part of Performance Pathways, the GLA has ring-fenced £100,000 funding per year across two financial years (2018-19/2019-20) as a contribution to SportsAid’s costs of providing small grants to young, promising athletes in London to help them progress their careers.

The second-year partnership with SportsAid was dependent on success of the 2018 pilot. A full evaluation report and review meeting has evaluated the pilot as successful. The report highlighted that the pilot saw 67 young talented athletes receive funding and attend at least one workshop to build their personal skills. 40% of these athletes were from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Over half of the athletes participated in community engagement activities throughout the pilot.

SportsAid provide financial aid in the form of £1,000 grants to young, promising athletes aged between 12-20 years old. Each athlete receives £1,000 per year. Typically, athletes are funded by SportsAid for 3 years, however, grants are awarded on a yearly basis, given the changing nature of the sports competition sector. Athletes are only eligible if they are already representing Great Britain but receiving no other funding. SportsAid provides both financial support to athletes and supports parents through workshops that introduce families to the world of high performance sport.

The funding of up to £100,000 will be provided to SportsAid by way of grant agreement. SportsAid will use the funding as follows:

• £70,000 – 70 grants of £1,000 to 70 young athletes in London
• £10,000 – to fund up to a further 10 athletes in return for value in kind from high profile athletes and celebrities who support other GLA projects. This incentivised funding will be awarded to up to 10 further grantees, dependent on SportsAid leveraging athlete appearances and engagement at community events.
• Up to £10,000 – hosting of events and workshops for athletes and their families
• Up to £10,000 - SportsAid management costs including the development of workshop content, training syllabus, event and grant management costs.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The aim of the Performance Pathways and the SportsAid partnership will be to provide grants to young athletes to ensure that financial constraints are not a barrier to achieving their sporting potential and contribute to the Mayor’s ambition of making London the sporting capital of the world.

Objectives of the £100,000 funding to SportsAid:

• Award grants to young, promising athletes once a year who have been nominated by their NGBs (National Governing Body) to receive a SportsAid Award. An emphasis will be on funding those athletes who are from lower income or underprivileged backgrounds.

• To ensure that each family of the funded athlete receives relevant information and advice so that they can support their sporting career.

• To support young athletes in becoming role model and to increase community engagement through inspiring people to take part in sport and physical activity in their local community.

• To promote the Mayor of London and work towards his goal of making London the sporting capital of the world through ensuring that Londoners can fulfil their sporting potential no matter what their background.

Expected outputs of the funding to SportsAid:

• A minimum of 70 young, aspiring athletes to be awarded a £1,000 grant. Criteria will be established to decide which nominated athletes will be successful in gaining the award and to ensure that we are targeting those most in need of financial support.

• A minimum of one celebration event where successful, nominated athletes are awarded their secured funding.

• A minimum of one support event comprising of up to 5 workshops for athletes and their family to provide valuable support, guidance and tailored advice as to the world of elite, high-performance sport.

• Up to 10 visits of SportsAid Alumni at GLA sports events and other GLA events to feed into the wider Sport Unites programme and other GLA teams. These athletes will be athletes who are/have competed for Team GB.

Expected outcomes of the funding to SportsAid:

• Improved support network for aspiring athletes which will include other aspiring athletes, athletes who are currently competing and athlete mentors.

• Improved understanding of athlete friends and family of how to support aspiring athletes achieve their full sporting potential.

• Increased number of athletes representing Great Britain in international sporting events who come from London.

• Improved understanding of athletes of how they can cope with the pressures, expectations and responsibilities that come with elite and performance sporting careers.

• Increased number of positive role models in local communities through successfully funded athletes attending local events and inspiring others in their local community to take part in sport and physical activity.

• Increased profile of the Mayor of London and his ambition to make London the sporting capital of the world.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have due regard of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not

Equal opportunities are enshrined with the Sport Unites programme, which will be reflected in Performance Pathways. The programme will provide all Londoners with opportunities to access sport and physical activities which will contribute to improved social integration, reduce prejudice between communities and enable isolated Londoners to feel better connected.

The Sport Unites programme is open to all, regardless of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. Performance Pathways will adhere to these values.

The GLA Sports Team has consulted stakeholders and partners to ensure that as many Londoners as possible, including those with protected characteristics, have been considered in the planning of the Sport Unites programme and that they will have the chance to be involved in some way, be that through participating, training, project delivery or volunteering.

Sport Unites embraces London’s diversity by connecting Londoners from a variety of demographic and geographic backgrounds in support of common causes and activities. The portfolio of athletes that are supported through Performance Pathways will reflect London’s diversity, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing them with opportunities to train and compete in appropriate settings to realise their potential.

Other considerations
  1. Key risks and issues



Likelihood / Impact



Insufficient number of athletes available to fit criteria


Athletes are nominated to SportsAid through an individual sport’s NGB. SportsAid have identified London as a ‘hotspot’ of potential sporting talent. Nominations for 2018 have already been submitted by NGBs and SportsAid know that they are oversubscribed in London for 2018.


Insufficient level of talent available


Athletes are nominated to SportsAid through an individual sport’s NGB and aspiring athletes must already be beginning to represent Great Britain to be nominated for an award. This ensures that all nominated athletes have proven their talent and are already showing potential to compete in elite sport.


Project Slippage


Timescales for mobilisation of this funding for 2019 are tight. A robust mobilisation/delivery plan has been established, using learnings from the 2018 pilot, to ensure timescales are adhered to. Regular scrutiny of the plan will take place to minimise project slippage.


Unable to secure SportsAid Alumni appearances


A further 10% of this funding will be unlocked following SportsAid Alumni athlete appearances for wider GLA Events. There is a risk that we are unable to secure the appearance of SportsAid Alumni which would lessen the publicity of this fund. SportsAid have ensured that if events are confirmed well in advance, athletes’ appearances will be able to be secured.


  1. Link to Mayoral Strategies and Policies


  1. This decision is linked directly to the “Performance Pathways” strand of the Mayor’s community sports programme, Sport Unites (MD2244) and the Mayor’s Sport strategy – ‘Sport for all of us’. This strand will provide support for talented young Londoners, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, providing opportunities for them to train and compete in appropriate settings to realise their potential.


  1. The SportsAid partnership will contribute towards:


  • Providing Londoners with opportunities to participate, improve health and reduce inequalities by taking part in sport and physical activity; and


  • Encouraging more Londoners to get involved in volunteering for, and connecting with, others in their community.


  1. This decision also supports one of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments to rebuild our Olympic Legacy, turning around the failure of the last four years, promoting and supporting sport for more people of all ages.


  1. Impact assessment and consultations


  1. The development of the Sport Unites programme and subsequent strands, which includes Performance Pathways, has been informed by what we have learned previously from what has been set out below:


  • The Mayor’s Sport Legacy Programme (MSLP) which ran from 2009 to 2018. This was a key part of London’s commitment to create a sporting legacy for the city from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The primary aims were to secure a sustained increase in participation in sport and reduce inactivity across London. The programme saw £25 million of GLA funding invested across three funding streams: The Participation Fund, The Skills and Capacity Building Fund and the Facilities Fund.


  • Ongoing consultation with GLA policy teams and the community sport sector in London. This has included workshops, an advisory group meeting and bilateral meetings with a range of individuals and organisations. Discussions with stakeholders have focussed on the area of work that is new to the GLA and the sport sector in London – our ambition to use sport as a tool to achieve social integration outcomes.


  1. We will continue to work with GLA teams and key stakeholders to ensure a joined-up approach as other strands of the Sport Unites programme are further developed and implemented.


  1. Sport Unites signals a shift away from focusing primarily on funding participation-centric initiatives, towards using sport to deliver social outcomes. Therefore, we will continue to evolve and enhance our approach to monitoring and evaluation by investing more into it and factoring it into our planning from the beginning. This includes undertaking formative as well as summative evaluation on projects that will run for an extended period. Formative evaluation takes place during a project’s implementation with the aim of improving the project’s design and performance – it requires more than monitoring performance, but also analysing and understanding what is happening and why – so that lessons can be learned, and improvements made within the lifetime of a project. Summative evaluation takes places after the project’s activities have been completed.
Financial comments

The expenditure of up to £100,000 in grant funding to SportsAid, for the second-year pilot of the ‘’Performance Pathways’’ investment strand, will be funded from the 2019-20 Sport Unites Programme budget within the Team London and Sports Unit.

Activity table



Funding Agreement signed

Feb 2019


Mar 2019

Delivery Start Date

Feb 2019

Delivery End Date

Dec 2019

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