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Role of Sport England and UK Sport

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The influence and role of organisations such as Sport England and UK Sport can often be overlooked when thinking about a career in sport, however their role within the sport industry is crucial. The benefits of sport are widely acknowledged, these include improving educational attainment, reducing the risk of both physical and mental illness, helping to bring people together and providing jobs and income to local communities.  Although UK Sport and Sport England are both different in terms of their strategy, their roles within sport both strive to create equality and development within sport.  They also deliver government sport policy which over recent years has been to:

  • Maintain and improve Britain’s elite sports performance, helping the UK’s best athletes reach their full potential, giving them more chances to compete in the UK and keeping elite sport drug-free
  • Get more people playing sport, starting at an early age and continuing throughout their lives
  • Create a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Sport England- who are they?

sport england

Sport England is a non-departmental public body (NDPB), responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and getting more people active across England.  It was first established by Royal Charter in 1996, with the aim to give everyone in England the chance to benefit from sport and physical activity.  Sport England work with national governing bodies of sport and other funded partners to grow the number of people doing sport and are funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Often the people with the most to gain from being active are the least able to take part.  Sport England are on a mission to address this injustice and transform sport and physical activity so that people and places everywhere can benefit. They do this by providing expertise, insight and funding that improves the nation’s long term physical and mental health.

Sport England is trying to build an active nation through a combination of National Lottery funding and grant-in-aid from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media And Sport, with two-thirds of the funding from lottery players.  In 2018-19, they invested £260 million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding into projects and programmed that support people to be physically active, with 1,575 individual awards ranging from £300 to £18 million.

Sport England annual report describe their goals as:

  • Increase the number of people over the age of 14 who play sport at least once a week for 30 minutes at moderate intensity.
  • Increase the number of disabled people who play sport regularly.
  • Ensure sports NGBs use their investment to develop and nurture talented athletes and meet the specific objectives Sport England have agreed with them to invest in sports facilities across England so that people have safe, attractive places in which to play sport.
disability sport

Sport England aim to increase the number of disabled people who play sport regularly


Each year Sport England invest £250 million of National Lottery and governing funding to support sport and physical activity in teams, clubs and organisations, in order to achieve development and equality throughout the industry.   Sport England has a variety of funding options to support all levels of clubs, whether it’s for equipment, kit, or to send club members on a coaching course.

Community Emergency Fund- Aims to help community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.  The types of organisations eligible include local sports clubs and voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity.

Small Grants- Makes awards of between £300 and £10,000 to help more people get involved in sport and physical activity.  You can apply if your organisation is a voluntary or community club or organisation, a registered charity, not-for-profit company or community interest company.

Community Asset Fund- A programme dedicated to enhancing the spaces in your local community that give people the opportunity to be active.

Major Event Volunteer Fund- Focusing on volunteering, the Major Event Volunteer Fund aims to ensure people who lend their time at major events can continue to gain from the benefits we know volunteering can provide.  We want to help national governing bodies, event hosts and other organisations make it easier and more attractive for volunteers to continue their volunteering experience in community sport.

Strategic Facilities Fund- Designed to support the sector to invest strategically so it delivers the outcomes essential to local communities.  Sport England work with local authorities and their expert partners to ensure the right major capital projects are in the right places to support their strategic outcomes.

UK Sport- who are they? 

uk sport

UK Sport supports the development of high-performance sport within the UK. It invests in Olympic and Paralympic sports as well as world-class sporting events in the UK.   Its key aim is to support teams and individuals to compete for the UK or Great Britain at the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics and equivalent world level events as well as to maximise the UK’s status and influence in international sport.

Similar to Sport England they make investments into the sport industry making investments over a four-year cycle, taking into account the potential of each sport over an eight-year period (i.e. the next two Olympic and Paralympic Games). The timing of investment in events depends on the relevant international bidding process. UK Sport’s main remit is to “support athletes and sports to compete and win medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games” and its mission is “to work in partnership to lead sport in the UK to World-Class Success”.

UK Sport described its ambitions in its business plan for 2013-2018 as follows:

  • To become the first nation to be more successful in both Olympic and Paralympic Games post hosting, and deliver a stronger more sustainable system for high-performance sport in the UK
  • Establish the UK as a leading host of major international sporting events by 2018, for UK Sport-funded NGBs to be recognised within sport nationally and internationally as beacons of good practice for both their leadership and governance, with a commitment to continually improve to ultimately realise their maximum potential
  • UK Sport’s international influence and development programmes support our home ambitions
olympic rings

UK Sport support athletes achieve their Olympic aspirations

The role of Sport England and UK Sport provides people with the ability and resources to become involved in the sports industry and the opportunity to excel, develop and improve your own career in the industry so for further information visit the Sport England website and UK Sport website


Review the diverse range of job and training opportunities in the sport and fitness sector in our Careers in Sport directory