Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Sported have been awarded Bronze Trailblazer status!


100% of our judges voted that Sported demonstrated evidence of continuous action in tackling racial inequality and their application was a strong pass across all Bronze Trailblazer criteria. And 83% agreed they should be awarded the Trailblazer status. Alongside this honour, Sported have also been named a Trailblazer for The Big Promise solution.


Actions and initiatives


The Big Promise


Sported understood the importance of being committed to actions and not just words. Following on from Black History Month and the commitment they had made through pledges, they decided to continue the momentum of not only raising awareness further around race, but also taking steps for meaningful cultural and behavioural change.


To maximise staff engagement, the team running The Big Promise sent regular emails out to explain what it was, asking people to complete it and following up on it to ensure staff were getting involved. This was as well as the SLT taking the lead to complete their pledges first, which were shared internally and publicly, including through newsletter to thousands of members. This explained what they had done in Race Equality Week and how it could be useful for others to do the same.


“Open Spaces”


At the end of Black History Month an “Open Space” session was conducted, where music was used to get people comfortable talking about Race and were asked to provide a song by a Black person that signified what Black History meant to them. During the sessions, staff were asked for feedback and input and were empowered to then lead on the topics during the conversations.

The team running it also gained a commitment for staff to conduct voluntary work for a Black-led organisation for them to learn about any challenges or barriers they may face and successes. This has been a year-long initiative.#


Launching a Participatory Grant Model


Analysis about funding was gained from direct feedback from members who are Black community leaders. They identified the challenges, which included that Black communities are being disproportionately affected around the funding they receive. They also looked at the reasons why changes were needed and suggested solutions to make things better. Therefore, they developed a Participatory Grant Model specifically to aid Black Sported members with the barriers they face. A panel of members created, shaped, and awarded grants to Black communities using lived experience, barriers, and shortfalls they have all faced to produce a better process.


Forming the Black Leaders In Sport Network (BLISN)


Sported’s Race Equity Lead supports and facilitates the Working Group to establish a way forward to develop actions for a Network following consultation with its members. The meetings are being hosted by the eleven members in their respective cities to gain an understanding of the landscape.

The BLISN Working group is in the process of finalising the vision, mission and values and deciding what capacity the organisation will operate as and a website is being developed to give people an opportunity to hear about the process of the initial stages of where the group is at and to share visibility about the purpose. Influential Black leaders such as a previous CEO of a charity and the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Sport England have attended to share their expertise and offer advice to the group as it develops.


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement


Sported ensured that their actions and initiatives’ impact was measured and monitored in some of the following ways:

  • All discussions and communications were held in a safe space and participants were reassured about confidentiality if that is what they required
  • Wellbeing of staff was checked upon in debriefs after meetings
  • Ethnically diverse staff were included in the processes of these initiatives, and often, such as with Participatory Grant Model (PGM), were asked to lead them
  • In the staff survey, 8 out of 10 staff said they feel Sported is an inclusive place to work. This is in line with the objective “Driving and championing Conversations around EDI” for staff
  • The development of the BLISN Working Group is in line with the objective “Increasing participation and representation of minoritised groups” for members
  • Impact has been made by increasing the diversity data for members to 50% as this was a KPI set to ensure were representing the communities that they serve
  • In a survey for ethnically diverse colleagues to ask how they feel about the actions taken and the impact, 100% of them responded. 100% felt the sentiment had improved about race, 50% felt better trust, and 25% said they felt better satisfied
  • Just over 50% of all colleagues who completed the survey felt “increased confidence,” just over 66% indicated “they felt motivated to do more,” and just over 34% felt “more endorsed in this area”
  • In a survey conducted, 86% of staff who completed it had taken part in Race Equality Week activities
  • 100% of the SLT had completed The Big Promise and their progress was being tracked and held accountable
  • When asked how The Big Promise had impacted staff and whether they felt more comfortable about topics on race equality, 100% of those who responded said yes
  • Comments from ethnically diverse staff include: “it was refreshing to see a fund unapologetically focused on supporting Black Led groups” and “I think the open spaces have helped people to get an insight into people’s lived experiences, and the practical work we are doing with members in relation to PGM work.”


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


Our Trailblazer judges said that Sported’s application provided a lot of evidence and data to back it up. One said it was “great to see a specific strategy with OKRs and KPIs, and great initiative setting up the grant” and that there was “passion clearly shown with personable examples.”


Praise was given on the number and impact of actions and initiatives carried out and one judge added that “the fact that people are checking on ethnically diverse people’s safety and concern is paramount to this kind of work.”


Next Steps…


Some of the next steps Sported will be taking include:

  • The Participatory Grant Model is already in the process of being replicated in Manchester
  • Momentum will continue around the Black History Month commitments to ensure as much activity and action is completed
  • Further Race equality Matters solutions are planned to take place quarterly involving all members of staff and encouraging them to be allies and lead on them
  • As part of the action plan for the new Head of Inclusion and People an objective is to look at the recruitment processes to make them more inclusive
  • The Board Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Lead will be working alongside the new Head of People and Inclusion to scope plans for a Board Apprenticeship program to be developed to enable more diverse voices to give input into decisions


Follow Sported’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnically diverse employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.

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