Blog & News from SajeImpact

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

I will be 55 in just 18 weeks time. For me life will be able to take another step into the next season in my life.

When this happens I am hoping to make greater use of this site for my musings on life and the world around! I have one big interview in May which might put these plans back a little bit (about 4 years) but either way there will be more time for travel and writing.

Stay tuned.


Seasons in Life - The Next one for Andy and Saje Impact

There are seasons to life I believe. Well it certainly feels like that as I start September 201Changes in 2018!8.

A number of Sport Board positions come to their natural end after several years of voluntary service - The Sport & Recreation Alliance , Special Olympic and CIMSPA . I want to thank everybody who has helped and supported me during the last 8 years since leaving Parliament (losing the election!) and welcoming me into the world of sport.

It has been another fascinating learning curve working with a sector I have passion for and trying to bring a fresh perspective and influence practise and policy. I will continue to do this but in different ways over the next 'season', mainly through The Sports Think Tank and through SAJEIMPACT LTD where I have generated a series of partnerships to bring the best people I have worked with to the sector - like David Slemen Sport:80 Services Limited . As always Loughborough University Loughborough University London will play a large part of what I do.

I will announce a few new NED positions too over the coming weeks.

I have always had a passion for my home county so I will be doing more economic growth work in Leicestershire through the LLEP too

Here is to the new season. Even if that includes retiring formally from Birstall RFC!

Reed to Chair -7 Steps to Prove Your Impact Conference

Posted: Fri, 05 Aug 2016 21:13

Reed to Chair -7 Steps to Prove Your Impact Conference

Reed to Chair -7 Steps to Prove Your Impact Conference

7 Steps to Prove Your impact Conference

Click here to see the agenda for the day.

From 2017 funding will go to those organisations that can demonstrate they are able to increase participation in sport and physical activity where it is needed most, including a greater emphasis on groups who are typically much less active. The strategy will help deliver against the five health, social and economic outcomes set out in the Government's Sporting Future strategy and encourage organisations to focus in areas that make a greater difference to people's lives.

National Governing Bodies, County Sports Partnerships and other bodies that previously benefited from Sport England and other public sector funding over the last ten years need to make sure they are on top of these new priorities to ensure they are not left behind.

The Football Foundation and key partners are holding this special one-day seminar to help sports organisations ensure they set the right objectives, measure the right outcomes, prove their impact – and don't risk losing precious funding.

The Football Foundation is well-known for its innovative use of technology to improve efficiency and measure impact, and has built various cutting edge tools, such as Grantshot, Pitchfinder and Upshot. Upshot is particularly relevant in light of the new DCMS and Sport England strategy due to its capability to monitor progress against targets, measure outcomes and evidence the effect projects are having on communities and individuals, using quantitative and qualitative information.

At an affordable price and hosted at the famous Oval cricket ground, this is one event your organisation cannot afford to miss.

Read more Read lessWhenThursday, 13 October 2016 from 09:30 to 16:00 (BST) – Add to CalendarWhereThe Kia Oval – London, SE11 5SS – View Map

Tags: Conference, Football Foundation, Impact, Sport England

SajeImpact Supports Safehaven

Posted: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:42

SajeImpact Supports Safehaven

SajeImpact Supports Safehaven

At Sajeimpact we aim to impact lives where we are best equipped whether it's in the voluntary or private sector.

Sarah has been working alongside church to look into ways of supporting people within our local community. The process began over a year ago by identifying what is already offered by church and voluntary organisations to reveal the gaps in service provision. The Council and other churches were very keen to engage and assist in this process. A lot of time was invested looking at good practice from other churches in terms of their aims; delivery; policies; safeguarding etc. This was a vital part of the process as there was already a lot of good projects on offer that we didn't want to compete against. We wanted to meet genuine local needs, we wanted to serve well and we wanted everyone to be safe.

One of the suggestions the Council offered was serving parents who are suffering with their mental health. Parents with preschool children are particularly vulnerable as they are often excluded from accessing services as few organisations can offer childcare alongside supporting the parent's needs. After further head scratching and research, it was decided we would put together a six-week trial for a 'Safe Haven Café' targeted to parents with preschool children who need help with their mental health and general well-being. (Typically this included depression, stress, self-esteem, anxiety, and isolation)

We were very aware that our only qualification was to have hands and hearts ready to serve! We had to be clear on our limitations and what we could and couldn't offer. With a team of 13 volunteers we were there to welcome, befriend and support parents with open arms and hearts and provide a safe and healthy environment in which to do it. Anything beyond this remit we could only signpost people on to. We therefore collected a bank of literature of other specialists and services in our local area.

Health and wellbeing extends beyond physical activity but mental health was a new challenge for SajeImpact.

Each week consisted of a cooked meal altogether. To promote general health and wellbeing at every opportunity it was important that this was nutritious, wholesome and healthy and it proved a big hit! The children then had their own time for activities and play allowing parents to focus on their own needs through a half hour interactive workshop with activities and discussion. These were delivered by church members who volunteered their skills on:

  1. 1. Managing Wellbeing
  2. 2. Making money last
  3. 3. Emotionally Healthy families
  4. 4. Eating well for less
  5. 5. Seeing yourself the right way
  6. 6. Mindfulness

Weekly feedback sheets revealed great variability on what topics were most helpful which reflected the needs of each individual. However, there was unanimous support for having 'adult centered time' and the opportunity for shared experiences and building community.

The trial generated great interest in both the local papers and radio. Analysis from the feedback sheets (weekly and overall) returned overwhelmingly positive results with 100% of participants reporting that they would 'definitely' recommend it to others!

This is the start of a journey. The vision is that Parents who are struggling with their mental health will find a sense of community and safety, will be equipped with practical tools to thrive in life and will know that they are loved, not just by those welcoming them, but by a God who knows them intimately.

Tags: Openheaven Safehaven

Post Brexit

Posted: Sat, 02 Jul 2016 10:05

Post Brexit

Many of our clients are quite rightly working out what life will be like in our post brexit environment.

We have been advising to stay calm and carry on but what developments very closely. With the establishment of the EU unit in the Cabinet Office to advise on the implications for the incoming Prime Minister there will also be plenty of opportunities to influence the negotiations. The Summer will be a period of uncertainty as there will be no political leadership until the new PM and their Cabinet are announced. We are monitoring these developments carefully and blogging on the inside view over at

We will bring news and views and blog here too as the future of the country becomes clearer in the next few months!

Tags: Eureferendum, Sports Policy

Politicians Join Forces to Back Remain

Posted: Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:26

Politicians Join Forces to Back Remain

Politicians Join Forces to Back Remain

This week I have joined with my former opponent the new Tory MP for Loughborough to back the call for a Remain vote in the European Referendum.

We jointly drafted and sent a letter to the Loughborough Echo to set out the positive reasons we believe we should stay.

I have also blogged on this and wider issues surrounding the Referendum on my Blogging site and Tumblr accounts.

Letter to the Echo…

We write as current and former MPs who between us have had the great privilege to represent the Loughborough constituency over the past almost two decades. We disagree on many things but we do agree that the UK should remain as a member of the EU. This a momentous vote which will have consequences for Britain for decades to come.

Much has been made of the likely economic shock a vote to leave would have and the consequent impact on jobs and the money available to spend on our essential public services. But this debate is about more than numbers. It is about Britain's place in the world. Britain is an outward facing nation and being part of the EU makes us stronger on the world stage. As a member of the EU we have the ability to lead and influence on issues such as security, trade, equalities and climate change to name just a few. A vote to leave would mean we forfeited our seat at the table and the ability to influence others and secure developments in our favour. As proud members of the UN, NATO, IMF and Commonwealth why would we now turn our backs on the EU?

We hope Echo readers will take the time to weigh up all the issues and vote to remain on 23rd June.

Yours faithfully

Nicky Morgan (MP for Loughborough 2010 – )

& Andy Reed (MP for Loughborough 1997 – 2010)

Tags: Remain, euroreferenedum

Translating Sports Policy - My Sports Management Column

Posted: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:05

When we first established the Sports Think Tank it was seen predominantly as a translation service for academic and evidence-based policy work to find its way into Westminster and Whitehall in order to create good sport policy.

As we've toured the country at conferences and events, however, it has become increasingly evident that sometimes there needs to be translation between Westminster and grassroots.

I was recently struck at a conference of sports people, who had come to learn about the government's new Sporting Future strategy, that less than a third of the 120 people I was speaking to had actually read the document. Given that most in the room would be affected by the investment decisions being made by Sport England as a consequence, I was slightly surprised.

There are many areas to pick up over the coming months in the massive change in direction in the Sport England strategy, but these were all obvious from the original DCMS Sporting Future document. In another meeting an NGB CEO told me he would be busy in the summer writing their next 'Whole Sport Plan'. This was from somebody who had actually read the strategy. Clearly the language of change was not as clear as we thought.

In particular, I wonder whether we understand just how different the skill sets required in the sector will be. It can't all be about sporty types and programmes for our new target consumers.

I used to work in a local authority recreation and arts department which was located next to the community development team. Ironically these teams – long gone I suspect from most local authorities – would be ideally placed to co-create the activity programmes of many of the communities identified in Sporting Futures as the target of increased investment and resources.

While there is some welcome news about trying to maintain the existing nature of our sports and exercise sector, we know increased investment will be going into new place-based projects outside our normal delivery routes. We need to get used to this.

The key to the strategies – both DCMS and Sport England – is about genuine collaboration. You will hear me return to this theme time and time again.

As an individual – and through the Think Tank – we are 'delivery neutral', ie, we support initiatives which are backed up by evidence of effectiveness.

However, to external stakeholders the sports sector doesn't come across as particularly united and that matters. It frustrates me that some of this is still going on. Lack of unity always weakened our government lobby as a sector.

If the new sports strategy is genuinely focussed on a consumer approach, its quality and delivery will be decided from the consumer's perspective in very different communities and settings – not the traditional bodies good at filling in application forms for the lottery or grants.

At recent StreetGames and Sported presentations, I was struck about the 'roaming distances' of disengaged young people on some of the most deprived estates in the UK – apparently it's usually less than a few hundred metres from their community. We forget this at our peril.

Framing the strategy by listening and acting on the desires of those who are currently disengaged will tip our models upside down and will be uncomfortable for many in sport. That is absolutely fine. Stick to running good sports teams and clubs. This is still necessary and very desirable. But don't chase the new investment for the sake of it. There are some tough choices ahead.

Tags: Sports think tank

Pride at 40 Years of Birstall RFC

Posted: Mon, 23 May 2016 12:08

Pride at 40 Years of Birstall RFC

Pride at 40 Years of Birstall RFC

Birstall RFC celebrated its 40th season at its Awards Dinner at the National Space Centre on Saturday night.

In itself this isn't particularly remarkable as there will be thousands of community sports clubs up and down the country celebrating 'successful' seasons. The fact this is unremarkable of course is the thing that makes this all very special.

Over 100 people attended an event organised by a small but dedicated group of volunteers that make Birstall RFC function like every one of the 150,000 community sports clubs across the country. Nobody gets paid to play (our match fees are still £6 per week) or to run anything. we rely on the players and club volunteers to make everything happen. We own no club house so we raise money to pay for the school pitches, changing room, provide kit and referees.

We have just had some of the most remarkable success on the pitch though. This year our firsts have been promoted to Midlands 3 – playing next year against the likes of Lincoln, Grimsby and Mansfield. Little old Birstall and its school playing field have come a long way.

But for me this isn't the reason that Birstall RFC is special. It is because I have never seen a team of players throughout the club so close and so committed to helping each other. There is no them and us from 1st and 2nd team. It is genuinely one club backing each other all the way. Perhaps what also makes us special is the age and make up of the committee.. mainly people of playing age and often still playing.

I have been really pleased to have squeezed in a few games this season for the 2nds. It was in 1976 that I started playing rugby at Stonehill School (no tag rugby in year 6 in those days) on the field where I still play 40 years later – even though the school is now called the 'Cedars Academy' and pretends it has no 'history'. Funnilyenough not a lot has changed over the years. Any of my class mates from 1976 could walk into the changing rooms and instantly recognise them. They have had a lick of paint every decade or so but very little has changed.

It has been an honour not only to play for Birstall for most of those years (apologies for a brief interlude when I was poached by Westleigh and a year for Chester when I was studying up there) but also to be its President for 10 years in the 2000s. Hopefully I was able to put Birstall on the RFU map and got as many mentions in Hansard as I could during parliamentary debates.

In the last few years my contribution has been as a 'sponsor' – basically throwing some cash to say thank you and buy some kit. Its not a sponsorship but a thank you to the club!

And on Saturday night everybody deserved their thanks for being part of a remarkable journey. Only a few years ago I recall turning up at Stoneygate with just 9 players – this was the lowest point and I wondered if the club would survive. How ironic then that Birstall finds itself in Midlands 3 and it is Stoneygate having to rebuild from the bottom.

As always all the thanks for the turnaround is due to some key individual volunteers who never gave up. They are still keen and ambitious. There are still plans not to stop and continue to grow and develop the teams and club.

So on behalf of clubs like Birstall all over the country as a player I want to say a big thank you again to every volunteer/ helper who make this all possible. THANK YOU

Tags: Birstall RFC, RFU

Reactions to Sport England Strategy

Posted: Fri, 20 May 2016 17:31

Reactions to Sport England Strategy

Reactions to Sport England Strategy

"Having sat on a draft copy of the Sport England Strategy for 2 weeks it was a great relief it was finally launched yesterday and now being able to comment on the new direction it outlines.

"Most of what I need to write about the strategy is on the Sports Think Tank website that we run. It is here that we have covered a range of reactions from our followers and picked up on comments from the media and other sports organisations. Most of the links are on our twitter feeds from what was a packed day of activity yesterday. There are still plenty of organisations who have not reacted publicly yet and are still absorbing the implications of the document.

I have also written my latest Sports management column about the strategy and will be unpacking the various implications over the summer months. Having read some reactions I am still not convinced people quite understand how different the investment will drive different outcomes and processes and the implications for their own funding.

At sajeImpact we are here to help.. so feel free to be in touch and we can see what we can do to help you navigate the strategy and how you react."

Tags: Sajeimpact, Sport England, Strategy

The Role of Tech in Sports Policy

Posted: Fri, 13 May 2016 19:15

The Role of Tech in Sports Policy

The Role of Tech in Sports Policy

Andy Reed this week Blogged for the Sport and Recreation Alliance this week– Time to embrace the data.

As part of a series on tech for the S&RA during the build up to the annual SRA Summit at the Oval, the article looks at the love / hate relationship between technology and sport. The series is part of a longer programme – Fit for the Future in which the S&RA is helping its membership to adapt to the changing environment in which they operate.

Tags: Sra, Tech Sport Policy

Expert Panel to Explore Health Benefits of Swimming

Posted: Fri, 13 May 2016 19:09

Expert Panel to Explore Health Benefits of Swimming

Expert Panel to Explore Health Benefits of Swimming

A new group has been set up to investigate the links between swimming and health, and demonstrate just how good swimming is for you.

The Health Commission for Swimming is an independent group made up of experts from across the health and physical activity sectors.

Set up as a response to Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, the group will explore current research around health and swimming, and provide evidence on how swimming positively impacts on a person's physical and mental wellbeing.

Ian Cumming, Health Education England Chief Executive and Level 3 swimming coach, will chair the Commission group. He said: "Over the last six months there has been a distinct shift in the national debate about the value of physical activity and the contribution it can make to the health of the nation.

"Swimming is unique; anyone can do it regardless of age, ability or health condition. It is the only physical activity that can be done from birth right through to older age, and with over 16 million people swimming at least once a month, it is well-placed to respond to many of the country's key health and social concerns.

"We already know that just 30 minutes of swimming each week can significantly benefit general levels of health and wellbeing. This new Commission group will seek to identify and conclusively demonstrate how swimming can help combat a range of health conditions within the population."

Mike Farrar, Chairman of the ASA Group Board, said: "The ASA has always advocated the social, physical and mental benefits of swimming. It's an activity that is truly accessible to everyone which means it helps to tackle social and health challenges across all age groups, from childhood obesity and inactivity, to adults experiencing mental ill-health, social isolation or illness.

"The Government's new sport strategy inspired us to fully explain swimming's ability to take up the challenges they have identified. The Health Commission for Swimming is an exciting opportunity for these to be examined by a range of industry experts, and to demonstrate the positive impact swimming has on the nation.

"Almost half of the population say they go swimming. If we can encourage them to swim more regularly by conclusively demonstrating how much they will gain from swimming – whether through fun, health or fitness – then we will be well on our way to achieving our mission of a healthier and happier nation through swimming."

The Commission group, which has been brought together by the ASA, will meet throughout the year to identify effective methods of research that demonstrate the positive impact of swimming. It will also determine essential models and practices, and provide guidance for the wider aquatics and health industry.

"Swimming is an exercise that both strengthens your muscles and raises your heart rate" – Duncan SelbieMembers of the group include Dr Justin Varney from Public Health England, Professor Ric Fordham from the University of East Anglia, Sandra Dodd CEO of PFP Leisure and Karen Creavin from Birmingham City Council. Adam Paker, Dave Fletcher and ASA independent Group Board member Simon Johnston, will also be part of the group.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, added: "Swimming is an exercise that both strengthens your muscles and raises your heart rate, and is a great way to look after your weight and heart. What is good for your heart is also good for your head. We look forward to hearing what further can be done to bring the benefits of swimming to as many people as possible."

The launch follows the recent approval by the NHS Research Ethics Committee for further research to be conducted into the links between swimming and quality of life for people living with dementia. This comes after successful pilots of the ASA's Dementia Friendly Swimming Project which is currently being delivered in eight areas of the country.

The Health Commission for Swimming is due to report its findings at the end of the year.

Tags: Asa, Health, Physical Activity, Swimming

Government to Get Tough on Governance

Posted: Fri, 13 May 2016 18:59

Government to Get Tough on Governance

Andy Reed writes Sports Think Tank Comment

Government to Get Tough on Governance

This week saw the publication of a Charter for Sports Governance in the United Kingdom. Good governance has been at the heart of DCMS sport policy for some time but the new government strategy has signalled a stronger adherence will be required to secure public money.

Although the SRA Code of Good Governance has been used as a guideline for good practise it has taken specific measurement on some measures to get NGBs in receipt of public funding to take some of the issues – particularly around diversity – seriously.

Good governance shouldn't be just about 'compliance' it should be at the heart of the culture of sport and recreation and because it makes good business sense. Good governance helps organisations to achieve the best outcomes and by driving organisational excellence and integrity. Although many of the high profile failures over the last year or so have been on the international scene we should not be complacent about the record of many sporting bodies in the UK.

The charter is a precursor to the more thorough unified governance code which we expect to be published in the Autumn. Today's charter includes nine broad themes, covering a wide range of areas including:

· Transparency

· Integrity

· Financial probity

· Leadership and decision making

· Membership

· Independence of thought

· Diversity

· Culture

· Sport England and UK Sport commitments

On the same day of the launch we were at the launch of Sporting Equals campaign to highlight the under representation of the BAME community in sport – especially at coaching, management and Board levels in our sport bodies.

Whilst there is always agreement that 'more needs to be done' there has generally been a failure to genuinely take the actions necessary. Indeed at the event the meeting of MPs, Lords and Sporting Equals supporters was mixed in its response to the possibility raised in the Charter for SE & UKsport to introduce targets for Board membership for BAME and disability in the same way they have for gender in the current funding settlements. The idea of a Rooney Rule (from the NFL) also created a difference of opinion. We think the Charter and the Code give us the ideal opportunity to start a revolution in our recruitment to our Boards to reflect the communities they serve. And it isn't just management and Boards but the Councils of some of our NGBs are even more unrepresentative of the wider community and even of their own sports! It is time to act here too.

Modern governance is a must if NGBs are to be in receipt of public funding. We fully support this drive to change the landscape and at a much faster pace. We like the language being used by government – where the Secretary of State has once again threatened the FA to modernise or lose its funding. The old guard have a role – but not running a modern national governing body competing in the modern world.

We will support the government in being radical in an approach to improved governance. The world is changing fast and sport needs to catch up quickly.

Tags: Dcms, Sport England, Sports Governance, Uksport

  • Sports Think Tank
    Green and Gold
    Vote Andy Reed (Archive)
    Loughborough University
  • ciS
  • World Vision UK
  • Sporting Equals
  • Asian Sports Fdn