Bringing housing and sport together for community impact

Nov 6, 2017

By Kavita Tailor, HACT

The 6 - 12  November is Community Impact Week, an opportunity to raise the profile of the great work housing associations do in their communities, day-in, day-out! At HACT we support and champion the role of housing in their communities, and have been doing so for decades. Over the coming week we will be publishing a series of blogs that explores some of the great things our sector does. Today we look at the increasing interest in sport and physical activity. 

There is increasing recognition of the value that sport and physical activity has as part of housing association community investment activity, to drive community impact and achieve returns for the business. As well as brokering relationships between sports organisations and housing associations, HACT have conducted various programme evaluations to understand this impact further.  

One example is our evaluation for Sanctuary Housing who are delivering the ‘Love Sport’ programme in partnership with Sport England. The aims of the programme are: 

  • To engage 2,250 previously inactive people in community sport and physical activity. 
  • To understand the benefits of Sport England working with the social housing sector when engaging people in sport, including traditionally hard to reach groups. 
  • To determine the benefits of social housing providers investing in sports and physical activity agenda. 
  • To extrapolate learning on the added value for both parties of the partnerships of this work. 

The Love Sport programme is in year four of a five-year programme and targeted interventions include; ballroom dancing, chair based activities and handball. These have taken place in four neighbourhoods in Banbury, Torbay, Sheffield and Chester.  

HACT worked with Sanctuary’s Community Investment team to understand the current process and developed a strategy for data collection. We are working with participants, Neighbourhood Managers and Sanctuary’s community delivery partners to demonstrate the impact of the Love Sport programme and capture the lessons from its delivery, for Sanctuary, Sport England and the wider sector.  This includes a social impact analysis, using the HACT UK Social Value Bank , and spatial analysis of factors including, demographics and travel time to participate, utilising the Community Insight tool. 

Interim findings show a significant change in wellbeing for those taking part. They also highlight the importance of a truly local, bottom-up approach and the significance of identifying and addressing the barriers to participation. 

The programme and the evaluation continues at pace.  In early 2018 HACT and Sanctuary will be sharing all that we have found out from this exciting project. 

It is clear that housing associations have a huge role to play in meeting the Government’s ambition of getting more people active, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups.  With new Sport England funding available, HACT is continuing to build the bridges needed between the housing and sport sectors to unlock community potential and deliver real impact. 

For more information get in touch with Frances Harkin. 

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