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!

Rugby World Cup Referee Team Supports SOHK

Posted: Sat, 24 Oct 2015 10:52

Rugby World Cup Referee Team Supports SOHK

Rugby World Cup Referee Team Supports SOHK

SajeImpact teamed up with the Rugby World Cup Referees and their support team to get behind the School of Hard Knocks Charity at a reception in the House of Lords yesterday .

A special reception was held in the House of Lords to celebrate the contribution made by sports officials up and down the country every week who make sport possible for millions of participants. Amongst the guests will be one of the younger referees George Richardson from Leicestershire who is embarking on a career in refereeing after being forced out of the game through injury.

The twelve elite referees, their TMOs, Selectors,support staff and families were thanked at the event by host Lord Addington.

"During the 6 week Rugby World Cup the referees like to undertake a number of social and fundraising events" Andy said. "from my friendship with Wayne Barnes we chatted about showing off Parliament to the 12 international referees and Wayne agreed on their behalf that we could use the opportunity to promote a rugby charity. I have worked with "School of Hard Knocks" for some time and love what they do. Of course Nigel Owens is no stranger to SOHK as he has been heavily involved giving his time to referee their games. So this all tied together nicely. Nigel was great at running the auction!

SajeImpact have teamed up with Mark Ramsdale Events to put on the reception in the House of Lords to celebrate the role Referees play in our sport.

Andy continued "We know we are passionate about sport when we are still discussing a refereeing decisions for weeks. But we know we need to thank our refs for making our sport possible. As players we make mistakes on the pitch and so do refs. In the best tradition of rugby we play hard on the field and then move on. The event will give is a chance to hear from the team about their experiences at England2015 and what the future of our sport might look like in the years ahead after what we have seen in this RWC"

Guests included Members of both Houses, the parliamentary rugby team and other rugby fans connected to parliamentary rugby. The Parliamentary rugby team use their charitable aims to support rugby charities and have worked with SOHK for some time.

The event happened thanks to the kind support of Barry Howard, David Stalker, Area4 Legacy Partners, David Slemen (EPpartners) & Rob Booth.

Tags: Sohk, Wayne Barnes

Next Generation of Sports Leaders

Posted: Fri, 16 Oct 2015 13:37

Next Generation of Sports Leaders

Next Generation of Sports Leaders

It has been my privilege to spend the last couple of days meeting and talking about our next generation of leaders in sport governance and business. If my experience of the last 48 hours is anything to go by then I know we have a bright future.

On Wednesday I was able to speak to the Champion Voice programme run by the DKHLT for retiring athletes. What an impressive group they are! Too often we have not been giving athletes the right skills to make the contribution after they retire from their sport… being good at a sport is not necessarily the skill set for being involved in governance. Hopefully this course helps.

Additionally yesterday I hosted a meeting with CEOs' volunteer managers, young people and the #iWill campaign to look at how sport engages in a much better way with young people. It was a really challenging session to be made to think about how little we do to create space for the voise of young people in our structures. I know we will be going back to the SRA and looking at how we do a much better job.

I am sure there are many of us in all walks of life we started as young confident agitators. It would be short sighted if I held onto the levers of decision making and denied a voice to the next generation when I spent so much of my youth complaining about not being listened to…

Tags: DKHLT, athletes, olympians

Finally Taking Part in Active People Survey (APS)

Posted: Fri, 02 Oct 2015 19:25

Finally Taking Part in Active People Survey (APS)

APS Telephone Call

For the first time in years I welcomed a 'nuisance call' at home. I was finally chosen to answer the Active People Survey for Sport England. I am reassured it was a random call.

At home we are registered with TPS so as soon as there was a pause and an introduction about a 'survey' I was suspicious and about to do my assertive but polite – no thanks, we are registered with TPS, you need to remove us from your database and goodnight. However, a few weeks ago whilst looking into the Active People Survey I did find a copy of the questions and recognised the name TNS. I asked "hang on a minute is this the Active People Survey… hey yes I have got time for this!'

So my first observation was over the way it was introduced. Unless I had recognised this as APS I would normally have said NO. Even when he explained it would be about 15 minutes I was in the middle of some emails and really wouldn't have been bothered if I wasn't such a nerdy policy wonk on sport and policy. Most sensible people would't be at home answering their home phone. I know they are looking into reaching people without a landline – but It was lucky I answered. I never answer my mobile to strange numbers now as I find it really intrusive and assume they are wanting to talk PPI. So for me the issue of a telephone survey has its problems from the start.

The poor guy from TNS didn't quite know how to handle my enthusiasm to do the survey!

We started straight away. I didn't have time to find the copy I had of the questionnaire and / or my diary and data.

After the usual scene setting questions e move swiftly into those about walking & cycling.

I didn't have my diary in front of me but e no spent 20 minutes asking about all the things I had done since 1st September…starting with "have I done at least one continuous walk lasting mor than 10 minutes. It goes on to ask how many days, what sort of walks (excluding walking round shops even though walking to the shops counts). I am not sure about everybody else, but I know I have done more than 10 mins every day but I can't quite recall every one of the 30 days and the level of intensity and distance. Yet I felt I was being cross examined.

At this point I did say – I could tell you exactly how many steps I have done every day during September if I can let you have my jawbone Up information. of course this is not on the questionnaire so I was quite rightly ignored. I was asked about the intensity of my walking. Again I said I could provide lots of data from my MYzone belt and rather than just say moderate I could actually highlight the number of minutes I was working at 60 or 80% of my max heart rate. I said I collected lots of useful data on my activity and what is more Jawbone and MyZone have been collecting live throughout September – they don't need to phone me. And this is my main beef. There is so much available live data around to capture these measurements. If you look at the measurement of TV audiences using BARB I am confident there is a much better way to create a live picture of the nations activity.

We then moved on to look at Sport and Recreation. Despite carrying an injury from August I was determined to make sure I had my main sports captured. I DID play 3 games of rugby and trained a little in September… but I normally am playing fully by now, but because of the RWC I am not playing on Saturdays. I don't want my rugby activities or lack of them for 4 weeks to count against the RFU and rugby so Idid what many do – and say what I would like my ideal month to look like. So I did include rugby & touch rugby, badminton and the beach volleyball played slightly before the Sept 1st opening date. I hadn't swam in September but had in August. But that didn't count!

I don't recall being asked about gym membership (where I have been 4-6 times in September) and we did get asked a few questions about fruit and vegetables (again I know about my 5 a day so gave the 'right' answer.

I knew that for most days in September I had cycled (I have a new exercise bike at home) Played rugby, played badminton, made sure I walked 10,000 steps actively but without my diary and data I couldn't remember exactly when, where and how intensely. But because of social desirability bias I was ensuring I gave the right answers to many questions. If I could have provided the actual data – or even an improved version of all my data we would have a much better understanding of what is really happening. I didn't exaggerate too much but I certainly wanted to make sure my 'normal' level of activity was a captured and that I got in a range of things I normally do. As chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance I panicked and worried about how many NGBs APS figures I could 'help'. Of course I didn't but there was a brief moment of panic! How far would I stretch my definition of activity?

I loved the questions about dance and gardening… fortunately I had helped int he garden recently, but hadn't danced.

I was really honest about whether I would do more or less in 12 months and really quite open about my volunteering and coaching. It has been a busy month going to meeting about rugby – which of course all count.

Overall, it was very exciting to be part of this survey after years of commenting on it. The survey questions are below in the attached PDF.

Being part of the survey highlighted even further for me how behind the times it is for gathering accurate data. Compared to the live data I have available from my wearables what I was able to supply was subjective, inaccurate and little guess work. I do believe there is a much better way to use technology to capture much more accurate data and my experience makes me more determined to push this agenda.

Tags: Aps, Sport England

A New Start - Recruitment for new SRA Chair

Posted: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 10:48

A New Start - Recruitment for  new SRA Chair

As the recruitment of a new Independent Chair for the Sport and Recreation Alliance is now fully under-way I thought it was a good opportunity to set out a few thoughts. As you can see below I have given the details for anybody interested in applying for the role. I am sure many of my readers and friends would be ideal candidates.

I joined the Board soon after the 2010 election as I had been a keen advocate for the Alliance (& CCPR as I first knew it..) as an MP, chairing the Sports Caucus in Parliament. I didn't know a couple of months later I would be stepping in to the Chair position! At some stage when we have recruited the new chair I will blog about my experiences and set out what progress I think we have made as an organisation during this period.

One of the key lesson in life I have learned is to ready to take on new challenges and be prepared to let go of projects, ideas and work at the right time. I think over the last 5 years that the situation I inherited is vastly different. Whilst things are in reasonably good shape it is right to move on to new personal challenges and for somebody to take the reigns and take things to the next level in areas where I wasn't able to complete everything I wanted to do.

In good governance terms it is right not to hang on or hang around too long either. I think we are right to suggest 5-6 years is the maximum service somebody should give to a post like this. We at the Alliance lead on governance, and however much I love what I do at the Alliance it should never be about me, but what is good for the Alliance. I felt the need to lead by example on grounds of good governance alone!

In all honesty too I have found that doing the role on a supposedly 1 day a week voluntary basis was taking over too much of my work and the other projects I want to build. There are other things I want to do – namely my Sports Think Tank and the big project for 2016 – the establishment of a £10m Sport Impact Fund. I will continue to serve on the Board. I can assure my successor that I am not a back seat driver and more than happy to serve a good chair as I do on many other Boards in the sector.

I hope my new projects will help deliver additional thinking to the Alliance and the sector as a whole. I need the freedom a profile position such as this does not allow to say and write about the things that need saying and create the innovation that needs bringing to the sector.

I also want to do more to bring together our 'dysfunctional' sector. For years sitting inside government and now as part of the sector I have watched as everybody scrambles for position and voice. It does us no favours and through trying to serve in as many places as possible I have built up an understanding I want to use a neutral observer at the Think Tank about what I, and the evidence shows is best for sport policy. I am at heart a policy wonk when it comes to sport and I want to use my 20 years expertise to better use creating good policy – not fighting for elbow space in the sector. I am really pleased that my academic appointments have allowed me to do this over the last 4 years too.

So whilst I may not be Chairing the SRA from 2016 onwards I certainly am not disappearing. I want to concentrate on the growing business interests I have as well as building a great team at the Think Tank and delivering the Impact Fund. I am looking forward to the fresh start in January.

Finally though I would like to thank almost everybody who has been part of this last 5 years. I have even learned to cope with the energy sappers in a much more mature way as I have grown older! I have always been laid back in my approach and have always felt that I put things into perspective when people moan, plot, etc. I work in International development so I know a billion people on the planet don't know where their food will come from tomorrow. So when people try to make life difficult I remember this fact and keep any 'worries' I may have in this perspective. I am also somebody who sees a glass half full. So I know for every energy sapper I have had to deal with over the last 5 years there are 98 good people who I have loved working with and have the utmost respect. Sport has been hard work at times – even harder than front-line politics – but I wouldn't have missed the last 5 years and have enjoyed almost every day!


The Sport and Recreation Alliance: Chair

Location: London

Remuneration: £12k per year plus reasonable expenses

Commitment: 50 days per year (approx)

Alliance Achievements

For the last 80 years the Sport and Recreation Alliance has been an integral part of the sports landscape and represented the interests of a wide range of organisations involved in sport and recreation. Please see below for a summary of recent achievements on behalf of the sector:

  • Through the publication of the Reconomics report the Alliance gained a commitment from the Minister for Sport to consider a strategy for the outdoors and was commissioned by the Minister to consult with the sector, in conjunction with the Outdoor Industries Association, on what that strategy should contain;
  • Working with the Professional Players Federation and with the mental health charity Mind, the Alliance launched the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation in March 2015. The Charter was received very positively and over 190 sport and recreation organisations have now signed it and are taking specific action to develop their contribution to support the mental wellbeing of their participants and through their work help break down the stigma still associated with mental health;
  • The Alliance worked closely with key partners, members and stakeholders to successfully secure anti-ticket touting changes to the 2015 Consumer Rights Act to ensure far greater transparency and consumer protections when buying tickets for sporting events on the secondary market;
  • Through the management of the Voluntary Code of Good Governance and the additional advice and guidance we provide the Alliance has helped over 90 organisations improve their governance and leadership enabling them to become more effective organisations

The Alliance

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is the umbrella body for sport and recreation in the UK and represents 320 members – organisations like The FA, the Rugby Football Union, British Athletics, the Ramblers, British Rowing and the Exercise Movement and Dance Partnership.

Our role, like every trade association, is to speak up on their behalf, represent their views and to provide them with services which make their life easier.

Vision – "We are at the heart of a world leading sport and recreation sector"

Mission – "As the independent voice we champion sport and recreation and provide inspirational leadership. We deliver unrivalled services that enable our sector to thrive."

Alliance core functions and objectives

  • Lead – To be a trusted and valued thought leader among all stakeholders in the sport and recreation sector.
  • Champion – To be the acknowledged, independent champion of the interests of our members and the sector as a whole.
  • Enable – To be a provider of high quality, added value services to our members by developing and sharing knowledge and expertise, and delivering world class programmes and services.
  • Perform – To be a high performing organisation which embodies best practice in governance and leadership.

The role

The Chair will be responsible for ensuring the Board delivers the Alliance's mission, vision and operational plan. They are further responsible for providing inclusive leadership to the Board, ensuring that all the Directors fulfil their duties and responsibilities for effective governance.

Principle Responsibilities

Governance and Strategic Leadership

  • Lead the Board in their responsibility for setting direction, long-term vision and performance of the Alliance within the powers and parameters laid down in its Articles of Association and Objects

External Member and Stakeholder Relations

  • Represent the Alliance at events, meetings and functions ensuring appropriate style, content and presentation of such representation and that this exemplifies the Alliance's values

Relationship with Chief Executive and wider management team

  • Promote and exemplify constructive relationships between the Board, senior executive team, employees and key stakeholders

The Candidate


  • Demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to the strategic objectives and core functions of the Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • Exemplify the Alliance values of excellence, positivity, passion, imagination, integrity and collaboration
  • Strategic thinker with the personal gravitas to lead a significant national organisation
  • Politically aware and able to engage at a senior level with politicians and senior officials


  • Experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level with a successful track record of achievement
  • Experience at Chair or senior NED level
  • Substantial business experience and understanding of how to run a small organisation effectively and with strong financial literacy

Knowledge and Skills

  • A broad understanding of the sporting landscape in the UK, including the political environment would be ideal
  • A knowledge and understanding of the governance framework and issues applicable to not for profit organisations
  • An interest in sport and recreation and issues that matter to our members

Appointment Terms

  • The Chair will be appointed for an initial three year term. The position will then be eligible for reappointment for a further three year term.
  • The role is remunerated with a time commitment of 50 days per year (approximate) and will report into the Alliance Board
  • Board meetings will generally be held in London and there will also be some limited requirement to travel within England.

How to apply

For a confidential discussion about the role, please contact:

Alistair Milner on +44 207 972 6966

For further information and to download a full Candidate Brief please go to .

More details on the Alliance can be found . For more information on the Alliance's most recent impact report, please or download the PDF here.

To apply, candidates should send the following information by 5pm, Friday 25th September 2015:

  • Letter of application highlighting relevant achievements and experience
  • Up to date curriculum vitae
  • Details of current commitments

Tags: Sra Sport England

A Sport Impact Fund?

Posted: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 10:29

A Sport Impact Fund?

A Sport Impact Fund?

With just a week to go until the deadline for the DCMS Sports Strategy Consultation I am urging people to add their voice to the call for a specific Fund to be created for investment in social impact sports projects.

I have established broad support for the creation of a specific Sport Impact Fund (see our website for the details) and want to use my time and effort in 2016 to get this established and properly funded. We know that DCMS and the Cabinet Office are very favourable to the idea but we need examples of the sort of projects, charities and social enterprises that feel they would benefit from this new stream of funding. It would be great for the sector if people were able to support this project in its early stages.

Updates on the progress of the Fund will be via the website and twitter @sportimpactfund.


Tags: Loans, Social Capital, Social Enterprise, Sportimpactfund

Reed Starts Term on CIMSPA Board

Posted: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 09:54

Reed Starts Term on CIMSPA Board

Reed Starts Term on CIMSPA Board

Andy Reed formally started his role as a Trustee of CIMSPA yesterday at his first Board meeting. Here he tells us what priorities he sees for the forthcoming year.

"I have been involved in the CIMSPA story for a few years. As the MP for Loughborough I obviously took a great deal of interest in the merger of the previous organisations and the emergence of a Chartered body! I know it was a long and sometime painful process. I don't pretend to understand all the history but perhaps that is a good thing. I see this with a fresh pair of eyes.

"I Agreed to join the Board when I was approached because I am a passionate believer that we need far more collaborative leadership across the sector. We have created our own artificial silos based on delivery and supply models that bear no relationship to the customer view of the sector. Indeed when we use the term 'sector' I am already aware that many have an idea what we are talking about and it is usually their part of the wider sector. I am very aware that the clue is in the title – this is a the Institute for Sport and Physical Activity and I see both are equally important. "

"Clearly I have come to the Board at a challenging time as CIMSPA needs to have an impact on the sector and for membership to become the norm for anybody entering the sector to work. Fortunately I like a challenge and so over the next few months we need to take tough decisions and to firmly place the concept of professionalism of our workforce as a high priority. There is a long way to go.

"My early impressions are of a good group of people who want the best for the sector and for CIMSPA. I am looking forward to serving the Board as a whole and making sure we stick to understanding that the sector is not just the gym & leisure world but includes sport, recreation, movement & dance. As insiders at the DCMS consultation point out – they are agnostic on terms even if some in this world I have entered would like to abolish the word sport all too often. I will speak up for our part of the wider sector and that will make the Institute stronger and better as a consequence."

Tags: Cimspa

Supporting #chilliMEChallenge

Posted: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 10:21

Supporting #chilliMEChallenge

Supporting #chilliMEChallenge


As you will know from previous posts and my twitter, Sarah has been sufferingfrom a relapse of ME for the last two years. Our first experience as a family of ME was in the mid 90s when Sarah had to stop work because of her ME. In those days the condition was little understood and even called 'Yuppie flu'.

Over the years I was mindful of this and tried my hardest in Parliament to support the various ME initiatives. I was conscious progress was slow. It si always hard to break down long help established views and the medical profession in particular can be a real block to progress – however much we 'love' our doctors!

I am trying to help again in a small way to raise the issue. I have watched Sarah telling her story publicy this time – which shows the progress that has been made and the power of social media. Here is my small contribution:

Tags: #chillimechallenge

The women ‘sewing’ their own harvest

Posted: Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:42

The women ‘sewing’ their own harvest

2015 second one

From Sarah….

This is slightly different to my usual posts, not just because it's shorter (!) but to promote an initiative that I've witnessed first hand. Some of you will know that I went on mission to Spain last May. As with a lot of Europe, the global recession has hit Spain hard. Unemployment is at 35% but this figure rises to a staggering 65% among the under 30's. Behind the popular tourist destinations, there are many communities struggling. We were told before we went that to be prepared to show our love to lots of very dirty, smelly people! We met a whole spectrum of people from all walks of life but loving them really wasn't hard to do. They were so open and loving to us, we gave and received in equal measure!


Sarah Wordpress Blog

Tags: Ignite, Sarah Reed

New Term at Saje Impact

Posted: Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:01

New Term at Saje Impact

New Term at Saje Impact

The schools have returned today after their summer break, and whilst it certainly never stopped here at Saje Impact there is always a sense of 'new term' about September for us.

Indeed this year there is even more of a new feel to the start of Autumn as there will be big changes to our work balance as we head into 2016. Sarah has also finished her Ignite Course and is preparing fresh challenges with Open Heaven for 2015/16.

As many of you know much of our work focus has been around the Rugby World Cup. Right from the start in 2007 when we bid for the RWC it has been fun to be involved. It now seems strange that in a matter of days the Parliamentary World Cup (for legal reason we can't call it the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup any more – despite that being ok since 1995!)will kick off in Rugby and London and I will probably play my last tournament. (Although Tokyo 2019 does seem tempting)

Our work with @engage2015 will also be ending in November/ December as we wind down as the World Cup packs up and leaves. It has been an amazing journey and anybody who follows our twitter will know we have done a great job getting the message out.

My voluntary work with the Area4 Legacy Group has been a real eye-opener for me and will prove invaluable to creating new opportunities and challenges in Leicestershire for rugby and sport in general.

In other areas we are starting to focus a little more in the next year or so. Despite taking on a few more Board positions in recent months these are all strategic decisions to help focus our campaign and advocacy roles.

More importantly there is every possibility of more time and effort going into a few pet projects. Namely the Sport Impact Fund and the work we are doing at the Sport Think Tank and SportsInnovation. I want to take a much more holistic approach to the sport and physical activity landscape and to be free to speak into the sector as well as publish and write more. This may mean changes at the Sport & Recreation Alliance as I want to pursue new interests.

Many of you will know and already follow the work of the Sports Think Tank but you will be less familiar with the other two initiatives. So far that is deliberate but as we soft launch the Sport Impact Fund in particlular in September I hope you will have a look at what we are trying to achieve and feel able to support us. I will be writing more about this as soon as we are in a position to make new announcements.

So whilst much of what is familiar about our innovation and strategic work remains the same , and our focus remains on making positive impact on society through our partnerships there will certainly be some major projects to follow in 2016.

I guess my trick is knowing what to let go of from the present portfolio!

Tags: Sport, Sport Impact Fund. Sport Think Tank, Sports Innovation

Sport England Celebrate European Week of Sport #beactive

Posted: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:19

Sport England Celebrate European Week of Sport #beactive

Sport England Celebrate European Week of Sport #beactive

Sport England have created a video to promote the European Week of Sport.

Take a look at the video here on the Sport England Youtube Channel.

Published on 20 Aug 2015

The first-ever European Week of Sport is being celebrated in 31 countries across Europe from 7-13 September, and the UK is leading from the front. #BeActive and register your event or take part:


Tags: #beactive

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