We are a social enterprise, who exist to break down barriers to participation in sport, promoting accessible & inclusive sporting models, which tackle inequality within the UK's sport sector.
We believe in the power of sport to unite people from all backgrounds, offering significant mental and physical health benefits. We believe these opportunities should be open to all, and we’re here to change sport for good, to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Here For Sport approaches things slightly differently, using a methodology based on behavioural economics and psychology. Traditionally it was thought that people didn’t participate in sports because they didn’t know about sports benefits, with many organisations continuing to focus on education.
Instead, we believe people already know about the power of sport and that they don’t participate because something stops them. We are dedicated to identifying these barriers and breaking them down, increasing our understanding of why people never reap the benefits of sport.
The UK is currently suffering from widespread health inequality, which is greatly affecting many marginalised groups. This results in large health inequalities.
The health foundation has found that since 2010 improvements in life expectancy within the UK have been slower than in any other European country, with averages varying by up to 14 years between regions. This is compounded when looking at intersections of social mobility, race, gender and sexuality.
We believe in a world where everyone and anyone should have the opportunity to benefit from the power of sport - it is a fundamental human right. To achieve this, grassroot clubs, governing bodies, and the athletes they represent, must proactively work to include those most marginalised within our communities.
As a team of young volunteers with a passion for change, we are committed to researching the barriers that stand in the way for marginalised groups, advocating for the eradication of these barriers, whilst helping people directly through targeted and innovative place-based, sports-centric outreach programs that make a difference.
Our three pillars are vital to ensure we create a better sporting sector, free of barriers so that everyone can reap the benefits of sport.
Through our research, we come to understand the barriers faced by marginalised people. We identify economic, logistical, physiological and sociological barriers and analyse trends to help understand the needs of certain groups and communities. This enables us to respond to their needs and address specific challenges they face.
Within research, Here For Sport has published multiple articles looking at sports' place within society. It has also contributed to the research agenda in key areas, including BAME participation, as well as the link between mental health and identity within sports. Through this research, Here For Sport continues to improve the understanding of barriers to participation and reframe the problem. It is for this reason that our members now consult with key sporting bodies and groups, leading on national initiatives shaping the sports policy landscape.
Through our advocacy, we don't just educate others about the benefits of sport, but, more specifically, about the struggles of marginalised groups. Our advocacy work is reliant on the power of storytelling, empowering people to share their lived experiences to improve representation.
Within advocacy, Here For Sport has used its research to ensure it is informing best practise. Speaking at multiple national and regional conferences, we’ve shared our findings with over 1000+ people in the last 5 years, even being a guest lecturer at Loughborough University London. This has allowed us to ensure that the next generation of leaders in sport are informed and armed to create the change we seek. Our biggest mission to date is fighting misinformation on transgender inclusion, lobbying several key players within sport to take an evidence based and inclusive stance which does not contribute to the vilification of transgender and non-binary people. This award-winning work has been praised nationally.
Through our outreach, we implement creative solutions to address inequality. We build place-based and community-focused programs that use sport as a tool for development, designed to allow everyone to benefit from the power of sports.
Within outreach, Here For Sport’s flagship program introduces rowing to Coventry, helping it reach an entirely new demographic. Coventry was the largest city in the UK without an active rowing club, and Here For Sport has slowly been changing that, introducing communities typically ignored within the sport and breaking down barriers. With over 250+ to date now having tried the sport for the first time, our approach has shown the effectiveness of taking a community-focused and needs-based design approach to the problems of underrepresentation within sport and tackling inequality.
When we founded Here For Sport, it was based on Sam’s own experience within sport.
Lacking any particular talent, from an early age he felt sport was not a welcoming place. Despite a desire to be active and keep healthy, it seemed almost impossible. Sport was a place Sam felt isolated in. This was in part due to his upbringing, with a single mother who couldn’t afford to fund extensive extra-curriculars, as well as his identity as a gay man.
Arriving at University in 2018, Sam found an environment where almost all barriers were removed and he was free to find a sporting passion. This is where he discovered rowing and thrived. Yet he was aware of the privileged position he was in, at one of the top universities in the country with the resources to provide unfettered access to a whole host of opportunities. He was struck by a sense of injustice. Everyone should have access to these opportunities, thus began his mission to remove barriers to participation in sport and tackle the fundamental problems underpinning sport.
When he started, many people looked down on him. It took a long time for Sam to find his voice and articulate his vision. Other young people helped, adding their own experiences to Here For Sport and sharing their stories. Eventually, it was through this dialogue with other young activists that Sam created a new approach to revolutionise sport from the ground up.
Here For Sport continues to fight for change, slowly achieving our mission day by day.
People taught to row!
When Here For Sport was founded by Sam Winton in 2019, it was motivated by his journey to finding his own sporting passion – which only happened because of rowing. It makes sense that our very first outreach project was based in Sam’s home city of Coventry, sharing his passion with others.
Coventry has high levels of inequality, and specifically health inequality, way above the national average. It is a developing city, with the distinct problem of youth crime and many other challenges. However it is also rapidly changing. After winning “European City of Sport” and well as “City of Culture” this change was rapidly accelerated. Now Here For Sport is a part of the process, joining forces as a part of the Commonwealth Games 2022, to use rowing as a tool for development.
Working closely with many of the local secondary schools, we have designed a “Learn to Row” program which teaches disengaged young people key life skills. We are targeting under-represented and marginalised groups to diversify the sport and challenge many of the stereotypes which surround rowing.
Inspired by projects like Fulham Reach Boat Club, The Firhill Project, and many more, we are hoping to raise a total of £20,000 so we can get all 19 secondary schools in Coventry involved in the program.
Here For Sport speaks at Gen 22 summit, discussing the impact of the Birmingham Commonwealth GamesRead More
Sam Winton shares his experience with sports and the origins of Here For SportRead More
Here For Sport and London Youth Rowing talk about their Centurion Challenge Event and why its so importantRead More
Here For Sport is a part of Generation 2022, supported by Comic Relief and the Commonwealth GamesRead More
Here For Sport talks to the Sports for Development Coalition about the impact of Birmingham 2022Read More
Research into the impact of Scottish Independence on sport, focusing on the need to value and invest into sport in a holistic mannerRead More
Sam Winton investigates how policymakers can utilise ethnography within the sports community, particularly through coachesRead More
Here For Sport was invited to the 2021 Scottish Student Sport conference, sharing its framework for understanding barriers to participationRead More
Here For Sport helps the UK government as a part of the Sports For Development Coalition to understand the impact of under-representation on mental healthRead More
Working with Loughborough University and Priscilla Jagannath we shared insights gained to aid research into improving participation amongst People of ColourRead More
Here For Sport is made up of incredible people who volunteer their time to help us achieve their vision. Our directors oversee the day-to-day operations, with a specific pillar on which they focus. As a part of the #IWILL movement, we choose to have young people aged 18-25 lead Here For Sport, supported by an experienced advisory board who provide vital guidance and assistance where requested.
Sam Winton is a passionate, enthusiastic advocate for change. Recognised as a thought leader within equality, diversity and inclusion, he has championed the inclusion of under-represented groups within sport. Founding Here For Sport in his first year of University, he has led the organisation in its fight for a better future, with his efforts winning recognition and awards from both within the sporting sector and beyond.
Annie is studying psychology at the University of St. Andrews. Her focus is on mental well-being, positive psychology, social psychology and the psychology of music. Annie ran cross-country and played hockey during secondary school, and joined rowing at university, where she met our founder, Sam. Annie was one of our earliest volunteers, having helped run the inaugural Here For Sport Masquerade Ball. It’s success and her passion led her to join as a director.
Tom is a law conversion student at the University of Law, having studied Philosophy at King’s College London. Tom was a part of sports teams throughout his time at both school and university, mostly for athletics and hockey. And some of his fondest memories involve these teams. Sport should be accessible to all so that anyone can create memories that will last a life time. So, after bumping into Sam at the University of Law and learning about Here for Sport, he just had to join the effort.
Grant is a UK digital/eCommerce officer at Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Bank and co-founder of the London Otters Rowing Club. He joined Societe Generale in December 2013 supporting the design and development of the SG Markets Execution Platforms across all Asset classes. With additional focus on Digital Transformation, Grant has been involved in the application of emerging technologies across SG Markets. He graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Accounting, Mathematics, and Industrial/Organisational Psychology. He has 20yrs experience coaching rowing (beginner to provincial level) across various schools, universities and clubs. He also won gold in the Mens Open 8+ at the 2018 Paris Gay Games.
Steve discovered rowing whilst at school in Nottingham and instantly fell in love with the sport. He went onto compete for Leeds University and various clubs around the UK, finally settling in the capital and joining London Rowing Club where he won three national titles. After an early career in FMCG sales and marketing, Steve decided to follow his passion and became a full-time Coaching and Development Officer in rowing with Wandsworth Borough Council. This set him up to write the plan and subsequently open Fulham Reach Boat Club in 2014. FRBC has since gone on to shake up the delivery of grassroots rowing in the UK and now operates across 14 state schools, five prisons, has over 200 members from the local community as well as delivering courses to tackle ‘Holiday Hunger’ for students receiving free school meals. FRBC was also recognised in the 2020 British Rowing awards as Club of the Year and Project of the Year for their work with the Prison Service.
Ethan is a passionate campaigner across a range of equality issues and has extensive public affairs experience working with financial services including retail banking, insurance and audit. Most recently, he led government relations and public affairs at one of London's fastest growing FinTechs and has previously worked in communications and government relations roles at the most senior levels of financial services and government. Ethan is the founder of the award winning campaign group, FreedomToDonate, which recently secured and launched a world-leading policy for gay and bisexual men, allowing more people than ever before to safely donate blood. He also founded the professional network, InterComms, which brings LGBTQ+ professionals together and promotes equality and inclusion in the workplace across the communications industry. Ethan has personally advised dozens of small and large communications agencies on their approach to D&I and internal communications. Educated at King's College London, Ethan holds a degree in Hispanic Studies and focussed on socio-economic and political modules during his time studying there and at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona.