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Initiative launched to produce 140 'board ready' candidates for English sport by 2021

By Tom Walker    30 Oct 2018
The funding has been designed to increase diversity in leadership roles within English sport

Up to £400,000 worth of National Lottery has been made available for a career initiative which will aim to provide English sport with 140 'board ready' candidates by 2021.

Designed to increase diversity in leadership roles within sport, the scheme will see training, networking, mentoring, deployment support and online activities being provided to potential candidates.

Sport England – which will be responsible for distributing the grants – said the money will provide those who are least likely to fulfil board leadership roles (due to their ethnicity, faith, gender or cultural and socio-economic background) with specific support so that they feel able to apply for these positions in the future.

Annual audits on the diversity profile of the boards of national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport and senior management teams illustrate that there is a significant lack of diversity.

Figures for 2016 showing that only 26 of 601 board positions (4 per cent) are filled with representatives from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Of 68 organisations that responded to the audit, only one had a BAME chief executive and only one had a BAME chair.

The plan is to have 50 ‘board ready’ – and diverse – candidates apply for leadership positions by the end of March 2019.

A further 30 candidates are to be targeted by October 2019, another 30 by March 2020 and the final 30 by December 2020.

“Our Towards an Active Nation strategy highlights the importance of increased diversity in leadership as a way of representing the communities we wish to engage in sport and physical activity,” said Phil Smith, Sport England's director of sport.

“If you have more people with different experiences and perspectives on boards, the leadership is better equipped to make decisions which will not only benefit the organisation but also the customers they wish to serve.”

Sport England is now inviting expressions of interest from formally constituted organisations who are keen to benefit from the fund.

National Lottery  Sport England 
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