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!

Commons Reception to highlight lack of BAME Diversity in Sport

Posted: Thu, 12 May 2016 10:36

Commons Reception to highlight lack of BAME Diversity in Sport

Commons Reception to highlight lack of BAME Diversity in Sport

Denise Lewis OBE, former Olympian Gold Medallist and Sol Campbell the former England International footballer and the only player to have represented England in six consecutive major tournaments, will be headlining a high level House of Commons reception on May 12th to endorse the work of Sporting Equals.

We are delighted at SajeImpact to have been supporting Sporting Equals with this event, as we need to raise the issue with decision makers.

Sporting Equals are the sports charity that exists to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity by disadvantaged communities particularly the black and minority ethnic population. They are the national partner of Sport England and advisors to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

The Sporting Equals "Promoting Ethnic Diversity in Sport" event will feature MPs and Lords along with senior representatives from the sport sector including governing bodies and invited media.

The key purpose of the event will be to lobby support from key politicians to support Sporting Equals ongoing work to increase ethnic diversity in sport at all levels in sport from the playing fields to the boardrooms.

Sporting Equals research highlights that black and minority ethnic (BME) communities are seriously under-represented when it comes to the number of coaches (3%) and the number of people on the boards of governing bodies in sport (3%) and in participation some BME groups are also under represented for example only 18% of Muslim women participate in sport.

Tags: Sajeimpact, Sporting Equals, denise lewis, house of commons, sol campbell

Reed Joins Sport Management Magazine

Posted: Wed, 04 May 2016 21:53

Reed Joins Sport Management Magazine

Reed Joins Sport Management Magazine

Andy Reed has teamed up with Sport Management magazine to write a regular monthly column.

Andy and the Sports Think Tank have had a long association with the range of magazines and online resources provided by Sport Management and the move from a quarterly to a regular 2 weekly magazine offered an opportunity develop the relationship further.

"I am really delighted to be given this opportunity to explore a few of the issues in depth in this excellent publication. I genuinely believe the team know the sector and want the best for us all. It shows journalism doesn't have to be about bade news and sensationalism. Good news and sharing best practise is a key strength of this partnership"

Sport Management Magazine

Tags: Sport Management Magazine

Park Run Battle - Sign of things to Come?

Posted: Sat, 23 Apr 2016 10:19

Park Run Battle - Sign of things to Come?

Park Run Battle - Sign of things to Come?

My Comments Section on Sports Think Tank

Quite rightly the decision by Little Stoke Parish Council to charge their local Park Run to use their facilities has caused a media storm the poor old council will not have expected.

If you hadn't heard of ParkRun before you almost certainly have by now. The success of parkrun over the last few years has been to generate a safe and welcoming environment for a wide range of runners to take part in a fun run and to stay active. It has been held up at almost every sports seminar, conference and event in recent years as the example that other sports should follow. How do we create a parkrun for x, y, z has been the question in front of policy makers mesmerised by its recent success and high profile.

Whilst we are all outraged at the decision, (Social media does make outrage so easy these days) we understand the difficult decisions local councils and authorities are going to have to take in the coming years which will mean there may be more Little Stoke moments.

In their defence the Parish Council pointed out that they charge other sports organisations to use their football pitches. For those of us who play for a club and use others facilities we recognise that problem. At the Think Tank we have seen reports of around a 40% increase in use charges for local authority and school facilities over the last 2-3 years. As local government comes under increasing pressure to balance ever decreasing budgets service charges are going to become the norm. The grey area for ParkRun in this case has been its voluntary status and the fact that it wants to remain free to entrants. if this were a commercial 'Tough Mudder' organisation there may be a case to be made to suggest they make a contribution as they charge entrants (although rely on many volunteers) and can often make a nice profit for their commercial operators. Football and other sports clubs exist with members who pay their way when it comes to the majority of the 150,000 amateur clubs up and down the country. ParkRun falls between these traditional models. It is neither a club nor a pure commercial entity. The Parish Council suggested ParkRun should pay because they have sponsors and pay their Directors. This is where the charge becomes a little less black and white.

Quite rightly those of us who feel that ParkRun should not be charged and remain free to its participants will cite the benefits to society as a whole for the physical activity taking part. Indeed Prof Mike Weed has estimated a cost and saving to the benefit of society of some £8.7m (A fairly simplistic measurement bit gives some context). Of course the problem is that Little Stoke Parish Council receives non of this £8.7m to keep open its park. This is notional money we know society can save in the long run and as policy makers we love citing these figures. But the Councillors at many councils up and down the country are facing 20-40% cuts in their budgets now and in the years to come. They have a legal duty to set a budget. They can't use the magic £8.7m from parkRun savings! So our challenge in the new Sports Strategy will be to reward all aspects of health and physical activity to recognise their contribution to the health of the nation. Otherwise we will see many more Little Stoke Parish Council decisions

Tags: Park Run, Parks, Sport, Sportsthinktank

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Posted: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 16:39

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Andy Reed and Saje Impact were proud supporters of a charity rugby game played on the hallowed turph at the home of English Rugby this week at Twickenham.

Reed was playing for the Commons & Lords team – made up of politicians, staff from Westminster and a handful of 'ringers'. As the former MP for Loughborough Andy Reed was heavily involved in the Parliamentary rugby side and set up the inaugural annual charity game at Twickenham in 2008 for Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

"I have been lucky to have played rugby for 40 years this autumn.. happily coinciding with the 40th anniversary of my own club side Birstall RFC. So it is a special year for us at Saje Impact as we deliver more in the rugby family. So it was an easy choice for us to support this game and this Charity.

"I have been very fortunate to have played about 11 times at Twickenham over the last decade but it never loses the magic..and this year was special just after England had won the 6 Nations Grand Slam and we had the cup with us on the day. It was also special because we actually won the game 34-32. I am glad I hadn't known it was so close otherwise I wouldn't have rushed my missed conversion!

At Saje Impact we work with lots of people in rugby and always feel we want to give back to the rugby community. I know from our work with the Rich Engelgardt Foundation just how good the IPF have been in looking after seriously injured players.

"We will look to see how we can help again in 2017 as we build our rugby portfolio.


Saje Impact and Andy Reed work with School of Hard Knocks, Leicester Tigers Foundation, Birstall RFC, The RE Trust, Atlas Foundation etc

Tags: Twickenham, commons & Lords Rugby, rugby

Andy Reed Appointed by DCMS

Posted: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 20:04

Andy Reed Appointed by DCMS

Andy Reed Appointed by DCMS

Andy Reed OBE has been appointed by Department for Culture, Media and Sport to undertake an independent appraisal of the future role of County Sport Partnerships (CSPs) in delivering the Government's sport strategy, Sporting Future.

CSPs have for a number of years been a key part of the local sporting landscape. They can play an important role in joining up local authorities, schools, the health, voluntary and business sectors and other organisations with an interest in delivery. However, at a time where local funding is under considerable pressure and more power and responsibility is being devolved to the local level, government is keen to consider how best we can encourage local organisations to work together to deliver the new sport strategy. The appraisal will not be an evaluation of CSPs current or past performance, but rather a consideration of the roles that CSPs will need to play in future.

A website has been established to capture as much input from as many people and organisations as possible in the short time available ( This site, which will be live on Monday 14 March, includes more details on the scope of the work, timeline and how CSPs and stakeholders can contribute. As well as the online survey linked to the site he will attend a small number of consultation events being organised across the country. Andy will be listening and consulting from now until the end of April 2016 and will submit his recommendations to the Department by June 2016.

Andy Reed OBE said:

"I am delighted to have been asked to conduct this independent appraisal of the CSPs in their local communities in light of the new Government strategy, 'Sporting Future' and the evolving local landscape in communities across the country. I would like to receive as many views as possible in the consultation period and will engage widely with stakeholder to make sure all voices are heard. I look forward to hearing from people and organisations with their suggestions about the best way forward. During this process I will be stepping aside from my role as Chair of Leicestershire & Rutland Sport while doing this."

A spokesperson from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said:

"Government's new sport and physical activity strategy 'Sporting Future' is about getting everyone active. An integral part of this is enabling the development of locally-focused solutions which are tailored to what the customer wants. In considering this delivery at the local level, we now have the opportunity to look at the role of CSPs in helping to deliver the strategy. CSPs have already done a lot of good work which we recognise, and we want to build on that. We now want a clear vision for CSPs of the future, which are working in the best way possible to enable local people to get active. We are very happy that Andy is leading this work and are confident that he will offer a robust and thoughtful analysis"

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Community Sport at Sport England, said:

"We welcome the Government's new strategy – Sporting Futures – and the timing of this independent appraisal. Andy is very familiar with how sport works at a local level and we are confident he will bring a balanced and objective approach to this piece of work. We would encourage all CSPs to engage in this process and make their voice heard. The recommendations from Andy's appraisal will contribute to how we work with the sector to deliver the outcomes in Sporting Future."

Lee Mason, Chief Executive, CSPN said:

"As with any national policy, the success of the new Government Sport Strategy will depend on the way it is embraced and delivered locally. This is therefore an excellent opportunity to consider how we can maximise the contribution of the national network of CSPs. We want to build on our progress over recent years and ensure we continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers, communities and partners in the future. This process will help us to secure an agreed vision for the next generation of CSPs"

Tags: Csp, Sport Strategy

Details of 'CSP Review'

Posted: Tue, 08 Mar 2016 18:37

Details of 'CSP Review'

Details of 'CSP Review'


I am pleased to confirm that I have been asked by DCMS to lead the review of CSPs as outlined in the Government Sport & Physical Activity Strategy. Details of the review, terms of reference and timetable will be made available later this week. I will also be outlining how you can contribute to the consultation and how I will engage with the widest number of stakeholders possible before coming to any conclusions. I am looking forward to working with the sector in helping design a system that matches the outcomes set out in the new strategy.

Andy Reed OBE
March 2016

Tags: DCMS, csp, csp review, cspn, sport england

The Future is Digital

Posted: Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:20

The Future is Digital

The Future is Digital


London Sport have a bold vision to get 1,000,000 Londoners more physically active, while making London the most physically active city in the world.

We are delighted at Saje Impaxt to be working with London Sport on this vision and how it fits in with policy and connects with their key stakeholders.

In order for this to happen we need a revolution in participation: we believe that when this revolution happens, it will be digital.

This extends beyond London. We want to highlight the power of technology on a national scale and how it can be used to create a healthier and happier nation.

This event features influential speakers from both technology and physical activity and sport, as well as the latest innovations in FitTech, SportTech and HealthTech.

We believe that by uniting the best in technology with the decision makers in physical activity and sport, great things can begin to happen.

In London, we have some of the best FitTech, SportTech and HealthTech talent and that is why we, together with the Mayor of London, want our city to become the FitTech Capital of the world.

Tags: London sport, tech

My Pledge to Make Leicestershire the Most Active County

Posted: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 18:19

My Pledge to Make Leicestershire the Most Active County

Really Making a Difference in sport and physical activity for Leicestershire

Thanks to LinkedIn I was reminded this week that I have been involved with Leicestershire County Sports Partnership as Chair for a decade in 2016. Leicestershire RUTLAND Sport or @lrs_sport has been an enjoyable part of my life for that decade. As anybody who knows me understands my passion for sport in the County. From the professional clubs to my grassroots involvement as a team player and casual participant. I love our early years work; our schools work right through to our celebration events for elite athletes and our Oldest athlete awards. I particularly enjoy the fact that I get to work with such a passionate group of people are equally committed to sport, recreation and physical activity. I know from partner events that we run that I am not alone; there are thousands of people across the County equally committed to getting us active and sporty.

However, I was quite rightly challenged in a conversation before Christmas to explain to a business partner about our commitment to become the most active County in the country. Have we achieved that he asked? – and how are you measuring if we have or not reached the target. I explained about APS but more importantly in my answer I realised it remained an ambition but not one that we took seriously enough. Certainly it isn't a target that we put at the top of our priorities and beat ourselves up each year if we are still not the achieving being the most active County. If we took it seriously we would be seriously disappointed we were not top!

To be perfectly frank this isn't good enough for me. I have spent a decade helping the team make us one of the best 3 CSPs in the country consistently. This is great but only up to a point. If the outcome of us going from 'Good to Great' is that we have a great team and a high performing organisation but we are still not the top active County it can feel a little hollow.

So from 2016 onwards I am going to change and I hope to help drive the Change locally necessary to make us believe we can and should be the most active County in the country.

We can't do it alone. A CSP is only a small cog in a large wheel of public, private and voluntary sectors along with hundreds of thousands of individual decisions. We have always tried to engage our partners across the County with a reasonable degree of success considering that sport and physical activity are quite often not a top priority for them. But over the coming year I want to show all these sectors and hundreds of thousands of people across LeicesterShire that we need to rebuild physical activity into our lives and to build on the great sporting success our professional sports teams bring to the County.

The launch of of he Government Sport and Physical Activity Strategy is the spur to us all to build alliances and partnerships. The journey has led me to join the Board of our local Enterprise Partnership – Llep, to put sport and physical activity at the heart of the economic agenda. As part of this work we are undertaking an economic impact assessment of the current sport economy with the desire to find out what more needs to be done to stimulate this even more. We know that an active and healthy workforce is a key economic driver. We need to make sure businesses know this and play their part in helping with a physical and mental health wellbeing programme in the workplace. It helps them, the economy and wider society through improved lives.

I hope to use my time as Chair of the CSP and the Board lead on the LLEP to be making the case to all sectors about putting physical and mental wellbeing as a priority. It will entail me ensuring we embed this message in all the key stakeholders across the County to buy into the same mission to make LeicesterShire the top active County in the country. Already I have started targeting those who can make the most difference, but it does include the vast numbers of people who deliver this message daily in their work or personal lives.

To make this work I need all the political leadership across the County to buy into the vision and for them to recognise their role and benefits to their electorate. We need public health, the CCGs, Health ; wellbeing Boards and the UHL and GPs across the county to understand the benefits of exercise and the need for long term investment in physical activity. We need local government not to see leisure spend as an easy target for cuts. We need health visitors to pass on knowledge form birth about activity, play and physical literacy. We need Nurseries then primary and secondary schools to play their part in delivering quality experiences of PE, Sport and appropriate competition. We need the FE Colleges and HE sector to use their engagement with students to embed this positive behaviour in their lives. We need to support the 5000 voluntary sports clubs across the county maintain a quality experience. We need to help the professional sports teams in the County to deliver a winning formula both on and off the pitch and using their brands to reach out thorough their community work to maximise impact. We recognise the diverse nature of a County like Leicestershire & Rutland from inner city Leiecster and its BAME communities to the Rural county and all providing challenges to the way we deliver and experience sport. We need to tackle equity issues at every stage; whether that is gender, disability, ethnicity or social class. We need to make sure we are genuinely joined up and collaborating in our approach to delivering.. Whether it's in community, schools, through clubs, gyms, leisure providers, in the public, private or voluntary sectors. We need to support the hundreds of sports business that have their homes in Leicestershire.

We need to make sure we use the global asset of Loughborough University and its reputation without distracting them from their core purpose and strategic direction.

We need to make great impact with the professional clubs and their facilities – LCFC, Tigers, Riders, Leicestershire Cricket, Hockey, The Speedway, The Race Course or our motor racing facilities at Donnnington and Mallory Park. The Loughborough University teams playing In their national leagues as well being home to so many Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls can have a massive impact as we have shown through our Legacy programmes. We need to nurture and support Leicestershire based talent from an early age.

So my task will be to win over our major stakeholders in all sectors across Leicestershire and to sign up to helping us become the most active county. If you are a key stakeholder in the media, local government, health, business, sport, leisure, voluntary sector you can expect me to be asking you to sign up to getting Leicestershire moving again.

I am not doing this just because it's a nice target to aim for. For the last decade I have seen the increasing evidence of the impact of the world designing activity out of our daily lives. Whilst there is much evidence about the costs of obesity to the NHS unless we take action the costs of physical activity outweigh that challenge. Many Non Communable Diseases (NCDs) are linked to inactivity. It is a silent killer and more importantly a cure for so many of the issues we are storing up for the future. For those of us banging the drum we know it is the most cost effective remedy for the NHS in the long run. If it were a pill it would be regarded as a miracle cure.

And this is not just about sport and gyms. This is about creating active cities, and getting people outdoors. It is about every age group finding a way to be active – from toddler groups to senior activity groups. It is about the professional clubs, businesses and volunteers who prop up our sports system.

So for 2016 I am asking all Leaders across the county to join our crusade,join the pledge to make us the most active county in the UK. I I'll be asking for people to sign the pledge, tell me what they are going to do differently and how they will build this into their strategic plans.I have no intention of leaving anybody out, so if you feel you can add to the campaign Join me at lrs_sport and #activeleicsThis is not about me doing this – it is about creating a desire across the county to get behind this work. I saw for myself at the Leiecster Arena on Saturday night just how much difference one person can make. The Arena would not have happened without the determination of Kevin Routledge and his persistence when others would have given up. I commit myself to the next decade to create the same level of ambition & drive shown by Kevin and the team.

Together we can get us moving again & make us proud to live in Leicestershire.

Check out LRS

Tags: #activeLeics, LRS, active county

Sport Impact Fund

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2016 11:11

Sport Impact Fund

Sport Impact Fund

Last week saw the first Steering Group meeting of the initiative to set up a Sport Impact Fund and create Social Investment Bonds for the Sport Sector.

Andy said "It was a positive meeting with a desire to explore more fully the opportunities and potential pitfalls in setting up such funding streams. I was grateful to the SRA for hosting & helping with logistics! and for the many partners giving up their time to explore this issue"

The meeting took place after I had a series of chance meetings in the summer of 2015 with the RFU, Numbers for Good, the Cabinet Office and DCMS. It seemed there was a real desire in the sector to look at these new funding models, but the capacity to prioritise these just wasn't there. With the launch of the Arts Impact Fund I realised it might just take a little bit of impetus and support to manage the process. So after I came back from my summer holidays full of the mad ideas I always dream up on the beach I thought I better step in and help make this happen. So in August 2015 I helped set up & @sportimpactfund to make the case inside the sector and to the DCMS Sports Strategy Consultation.

I then did another series of meetings to see how much support there was in the sector and got overwhelming backing to look at the feasibility and get people together to make it happen.

I knew when I stepped down as Chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance I would need another BIG project and this seemed a perfect challenge. I like bringing new ideas to life and to challenge old thinking. Certainly impact bonds and impact loans require a different level of skills from sports bodies used to applying for grants.

So far I have managed to secure the backing of Numbers for Good, DCMS, Cabinet Office, Sport England, Sport & Recreation Alliance, Sport Wales, Supporters Direct, FA, RFU, LTA, School of Hard Knocks, StreetGames and the Sports Think Tank. Of course this list is not exhaustive. There will be hundreds of organisations interested in Social Impact funding as the new Sports Strategy comes into play. But we needed a cross section of the sector – from potential investors to potential customers to share their wishes and desires and to be frank – their barriers. If it was easy it would already be happening and established.

At this first stage we have agreed to look at the feasibility and potential market for the Fund and a Sport Impact Bond. We will be looking at the Arts Impact Fund, some existing Bonds in other sectors as well as the work we are aware is happening in the CSP in Gloucester.

We still have a long way to go. But we would love your support and to sign up to receive news updates via the website or follow us on twitter. We would also love to hear from you more importantly. We need to know about organisations and their experiences and what potential investment funds like these might have in the sector. Remember these are loans (on a favourable basis) that require sports organisations to be contract ready and delivering social impact. They won't be an easy option but they are something we feel will add to the blend of funding available for sport moving forward.

Tags: @sportimpactfund, Social Impact, sport, sport impact fund

Award Winning Annie Zaidi Joins Green and Gold

Posted: Fri, 15 Jan 2016 10:23

Award Winning Annie Zaidi Joins Green and Gold

Award Winning Annie Zaidi Joins Green and Gold

Award winning Football Coach and Sporting Equals ambassador Annie Zaidi has joined a growing list of clients at our partnership with Green and Gold.

Annie added the Neville Hamilton special award at the Leicester Mercury Sports Awards at the Leicester Tigers stadium last night to a growing list of accolades as she is increasingly recognised for her remarkable journey.

The Ground-breaking football coach Annie Zaidi also won a top accolade at the 2015 Sky Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

She was awarded the Hellen Rollason prize for inspiration at the London ceremony in December 2015.

David Beckham told the star studded event in a video message that Annie was "an inspiration to so many people".

Annie, is the only Muslim woman football coach in the east midlands.

She has overcome years of sexist and racial abuse to pursue her goals. She currently coaches the under 11s at the Leicester City Girls' of Excellence at Oadby..

But as a life-long Arsenal supporter she has her eyes set on the top coaching job at the Emirates Stadium.

Annie, 31, won the award which is named after Hellen Rollason a pioneering television sports journalist.

The citation for the award said: "Annie Zaidi is the first South Asian and Muslim woman in her region to acquire a Level 2 coaching certification badge from the Football Association.

"When she was the only female manager of a Sunday league team in her area, Zaidi endured overwhelming levels of discrimination from opposition team managers and parents. "However, despite the abuse and lack of inclusion, she did not abandon her dreams, maintaining her passion to coach football."

She has just competed her spell in West London coaching the Under 21 men's team at Queen's Park Rangers.

She sees her time with QPR as a great step towards her goal of one day becoming a coach in the professional men's game.

With the support of QPR director Les Ferdinand and the former Rangers manager Chris Ramsey, she has undertaken her UEFA B licence.

Zaidi said she coached at QPR every week and told the boys how it was really done.

She added: "I'm hoping to get my UEFA B licence done at the end of this year.

"My ultimate job in football? "Well that would be to coach the Arsenal men's team maybe."

The winner of the Sportswoman of the Year title was Jessica Ennis-Hill for winning the world heptathlon title in the summer.

Andy said "We are delighted to be working with Annie as she is an inspiration to together because of her football coaching skills and her determination to succeed in her ambitions. I am sure we will see much more of her in the years ahead in the game. Already she has a busy year ahead and we want to make sure she is available to be an inspiration but at the same time manage her time to make sure she completes her UEFA B License and completes her dream to coach at a senior level.

Tags: Annie Zaidi, Coach, Football, Leicester City FC, QPR

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