Mayor of London

Positioning London as a social integration thought leader

What they wanted

Throughout his election campaign the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, underscored the importance of improving social integration, social mobility and community engagement and was clear in his belief that sport had a role to play in making this happen. Following his successful campaign, Khan wanted an insight-led Sport for Social Integration Strategy that would fit within City Hall’s Social Integration framework.

What we did

We developed an approach that combined academic research led by Loughborough University London, practitioner insights and global case studies that offered synergies with London. For each of the three elements, we analyzed our global network to identify: a) the most appropriate academic partners to contribute to the review; b) the best placed practitioners for semi-structured interviews, and; c) projects, programs and organizations from around the world whose work has relevance to London. We produced a comprehensive literature review to identify the most appropriate themes for the practitioner interviews. We were then able to unearth key insights on what was working, what wasn’t, why, how and who was successfully creating impact through sport in urban environments.

Using City Hall’s framework for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, we created a process  that resulted in 18 case studies with the most relevance to London. For each, we established relevance in terms of demographics and strategic alignment, and then identified what London could apply to their own strategy from each case study.

Following a thorough analysis, we created five clear recommendations on how London should use and invest in sport to meet their objectives. We presented all findings to Matthew Ryder QC, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement.

What happened - Phase 1

Mayor Khan launched Sport Unites in March 2018, a program comprised of key projects contributing to the Mayor’s long-term goal to make London the most active and socially-integrated city in the world. It funds and supports Londoners to use sport and physical activity to achieve positive social and health outcomes. Our strategy is the foundation for the program and we are currently working with City Hall to identify opportunities for London to develop relationships with other cities across the world who are using sport for social integration. These relationships will position London as a thought leader in this space, as well as offering opportunities to share best practice between cities.

MOL Sport Unites

What happened - Phase 2

To deliver on the Mayor’s desire to encourage use of sport for social integration in cities around the world, thinkBeyond was retained to create a public resource drawing from the strategy we developed. We created Sport for Stronger Communities a streamlined version of the research to aid readers to make the best use of the investment and support available through Sport Unites. It outlines how organizations can be a part of the vision for a stronger and more socially connected London, or how other cities might implement similar programs in their communities. The report launched at an event in March 2019 and is available for download here.

Sport for Stronger Communities report

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