Blog & News from SajeImpact - Tags: sport

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!

Tags: sport

Changes in 2018!

Posted: Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:59

Changes in 2018!

I am not big on doing New Years Resolutions but this year I have realised much of what I do voluntarily will be changing in 2018.

When I left Parliament in 2010 (a polite way of saying 'when I lost my seat') I had developed a passion for Sport and Physical Activity policy during my time in DCMS and the Treasury Ministerial teams. It was therefore a simple decision when I was asked by some now good friends to volunteer some of my time on various sports Boards. At the start I was pleased to join the SRA and the ASA (now Swim England) for example. I Set up Saje Impact and the Sports Think Tank to make sure I could work in the area of sport too. Both of these ventures have grown and I have had some amazing clients over the last 7 years and the company continues to grow.

It feels like I have always been involved in sport but it has largely only been the last 7 years. I arrived this short time ago as a relative outsider – but have been made to feel welcome. I have hopefully both supported and challenged the sector to make it stronger. I had been involved as Chair of the East Midlands Sports Council and was sked by Sport England to Chair the Sports Volunteering network whilst I was still an MP.

However, Good governance in sport – now formally covered by the Sports Governance Code means my time is up. In 2018 I will have to step down as Chair of Leicestershire & Rutland Sport , The Sport And Recreation Alliance, & Special Olympics GB, for example.

It seems it was about 12 years ago that the Leicestershire CSP asked me to help by chairing their Shadow Board. It is suddenly 12 years later and quite rightly the Governance Code insists I should step down. Overall this is the right thing to do. However, I am personally disappointed to be leaving at such an important time and because ironically I will have more time over the next 2-3 years to dedicate to the role! But life moves on and I will commit more time to my role on the LLEP and joining up the Sports Economy in the County. This will combine two of my passions for sport end economic development which have been a large part of my working life prior to becoming an MP.

I won't be disappearing. I will be putting more time and energy into my new role as the Senior Independent Director at CIMSPA and as Chair of SAPCA . My LinkedIn profile will change – but now you know the reason there is nothing sinister happening over 2018!

I intend to be just as busy supporting the sector but in new ways.

As I have said I will give more time to CIMSPA, SAPCA and the Sport Think Tank. My work at SajeImpact means we have a bit of a busy 18 months ahead on two major developments as well as maintaining and growing our client base.

Perhaps in 2019 I will look again at what more I can do in the sector, and specifically to help join up the various bodies and individuals who want us to be unified and fighting together instead of against each other! But unlike 2010 when I rushed into everything I will be a little more strategic about my next steps… so thanks to all those who have already offered to fill my new found spare time. I am touched and will certainly be considering them all very seriously!

Keep in touch.

Best wishes for 2018


Tags: LRS, Physical Activity, SRA, Sport

Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

Posted: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:07

Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

As we wind down this week to close on Friday for the Christmas holiday we want to wish everybody we have worked with in 2016 a very Merry Christmas.

Each year at Saje Impact we wonder what the next year will bring our way – and it never disappoints. We are delighted to have welcomed new clients, new partners and lots of new friends and colleagues to the events, conferences, talks, lectures and engagement on social media! It has been a bit of a crazy year in our political circles – Brexit, Corbyn and Trump. But the sport has been fantastic with Leiecster City, the renewed England Team, an amazing Team GB performance in Rio and Birstall RFC promoted again!

We look forward to an exciting 2017 with a series of new projects including our work on #sportbrexit and the fantastic opportunity to shape the amazing stadium development at Scunthorpe.

We are available to clients throughout the Christmas period but re-open formally on the 6th January

Tags: Politics, Sajeimpact, Sport

Reed Speaks at Black Country Sport Skills Conference

Posted: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:12

Reed Speaks at Black Country Sport Skills Conference

Reed Speaks at Black Country Sport Skills Conference

Andy Reed was a guest speaker at the Sport Employment conference in the West Midlands last week.


Sports Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships

The Government's New Strategy for an Active Nation wants the sport sector to be at the forefront of changing the way frontline staff interact with customers. It questions the continual focus on technical qualifications and the need to make sport an attractive career option for the brightest and most able individuals, and for the Further and Higher education sector to ensure graduates are high quality and have the right skill sets for employers. It sees apprenticeships as the key mechanism to realise a sport workforce with the right skills.

Sport England's recently announced "An Active Nation" strategy covers issues ranging from, coaching, volunteering and workforce setting out how this will be achieved. These far reaching strategies will provide the platform to inform locality planning and delivery. The Government also sees employment and skills as key economic growth with a commitment to provide three million apprenticeship starts in 2020. These provide both challenges and opportunities for the the sport sector as we navigate the national sports strategy with a greater devolved responsibility for employment and skills to areas such as Local Enterprise Partnership's and the devolution deals alongside a range of policy and funding programmes such as Area Reviews, City Deal, Talent Match, Careers and Enterprise Company and European Social Fund funding including Youth Employment Initiative and Building Better Opportunities.

In determining the supply and demand of skills needed to transform the sport sector workforce within our localities, we need to consider the potential opportunity and impact of wider Government priorities and in turn demonstrate our impact on social and economic outcomes. In response to this policy shift, the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and the BeActive Partnership has completed UK's first Sector Skills Action Plan for the Sport and Physical Activity, (2016 – 2021) which navigates both sport and economic priorities by understanding the local supply and demand for skills and the actions to address the gaps and shortages which results. It is hoped that delegates find valuable insight from this plan and are able to apply aspects to their own regions and departments.

The Future of Sport – Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships is targeted at all sports employers, the Further and Higher Education sector, leisure industry and the wider private sector organisations which supply the skills to the sector.

The conference will provide a platform to discuss and debate;

  • Set out the Government's employment and skills priorities and impact on the sport sector.
  • Discuss the Government's and Sport England's workforce strategy and priorities.
  • Explore employment and skills interventions and the opportunities for the sport sector.
  • Debate the readiness of the sector to determine its employment demand led priorities.
  • Consider how sport and physical activity can deliver the Government's Apprenticeship Challenge.

The conference will host keynote presentations from Central Government and Sport England whilst providing an opportunity to share knowledge in a range of dedicated Workshop presentations and an active open floor debate.

Tags: CSP, LEE, Sport, skills

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

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

SAPCA to Work with Saje Impact

Posted: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:39

SAPCA to Work with Saje Impact

SAPCA to Work with Saje Impact

SAPCA (The Sports and Play Construction Association ) is the latest organisation to start working with Saje Impact as it looks to raise its profile and marketing offer to its members by engaging with its external stakeholders.

SAPCA – the trade association that represents businesses committed to raising the quality standards of all sports, physical activity, recreation and play facilities that are designed, built and maintained across the UK.

They help funders, owners, operators and users avoid the hoops, hurdles and high jumps of sport facility funding, construction, management and development.

With over 250 corporate members all have a direct involvement in the development of sports and play facilities – from contractors, manufacturers and suppliers to consultants, test laboratories, sports governing bodies and related organisations.

Andy Reed said "Our sports sector is so wide and varied and sometimes some important elements get left out of decision making and funding. Sports Businesses make a great contribution to the sector and to the British economy and I am looking forward to working with SAPCA in raising the standards of construction in the sector as policy increasingly understands the needs for greater and modern facilities as part of the good sports mix for consumers. I am also keen to help the sector innovate around new technology and the integration of new ideas

With the Governments new sports strategy and a great focus from NGBs on facilities this is a good time for a better partnership in the sector with SAPCA.

Tags: DCMS, Funding, SAPCA, Sport England, construction, sport

SajeImpact - New tech start up set to transform sports industry, launches on CrowdCube

Posted: Tue, 01 Dec 2015 11:24

SajeImpact - New tech start up set to transform sports industry, launches on CrowdCube

SajeImpact - New tech start up set to transform sports industry, launches on CrowdCube

Openplay, which brings sports to your doorstep, has launched today on CrowdCube, the world's biggest crowdfunding platform and aims to raise £150,000.

OpenPlay revolutionises the sports playing experience by connecting players to venues and activities online. It helps people to easily find sports taking place nearby, while also acting as a marketing and booking tool for local venues and activity providers. It also enables users to find other sports players in their area.

Currently, there are more than 15 million people who play sport at least once a month spending more than £3.6 billion a year across the UK. However, consumers face the frustration of out-of-date noticeboards, convoluted websites and telephone answer messages, just to book their favourite space. In addition, sports facilities across the country sit idle and many face closure unless they can bring in new revenue streams or can increase their usage. With OpenPlay, consumers can now just go to one website to find and book venues and activities.

In February, the company will also launch a new mobile app, which will improve the consumer experience. It will enable consumers to find and book sports facilities, join activities and recruit other players in less than 60 seconds. Users simply download the app or log on to the OpenPlay website, and in just three clicks will find listings of venues, leagues, clubs and activities taking place around them.

For venues and activity providers, the new app means that they can take and manage bookings on the go, via their mobile phones. This helps make sport much more impulsive and ad-hoc to suit changing consumer lifestyles. Time and economic constraints mean that they are moving away from traditional membership models and prefer flexibility of pay as you play.

Sam Parton, Founder of OpenPlay said:

"The sports industry has been dragging its feet when it comes to adapting to the digital revolution which is already transforming many other consumer facing businesses, like retail and personal finance. Currently, to book a game of tennis or join a football match, people have to spend hours calling around and even that often proves futile. OpenPlay revolutionises this experience by making it possible to find and book any sport taking place nearby online or via your mobile. It also helps venues and activity providers to attract and retain new customers. It's a win-win for all stakeholders, whether the local sports player, venue or sports bodies trying to get more people playing.

With the new funding, it will boost the customer experience by making it faster to play sports, find other players and teams and effectively create a new online, localised sports community.

For anyone interested in investing in OpenPlay, please go to

The OpenPlay website can be found at

For further information about OpenPlay, please contact Sam Parton (CEO) on 0203 816 0404 or email sam (at)

Tags: Apps, Booking Online, Sport, Tech

Andy Reed Speaks at LondonSport Conference

Posted: Thu, 26 Nov 2015 11:33

Andy Reed Speaks at LondonSport Conference

Andy Reed Speaks at LondonSport Conference

Andy Reed was a guest speaker at the LondonSport conference for Primary PE at Lords yesterday.

Andy was speaking to delegates about the government comprehensive spending review and its impact on sport.

Andy said "The Chancellor sat down at about 2pm and I needed to brief the conference by 3.30 on what it all meant for our sector. Fortunately some of the news was better than expected for sport in the DCMS announcement and hopefully for school sport.

"However, I was very cautious about the implications in the cuts announced in Public Health and in local government where leisure and tackling obesity are large beneficiaries of their budgets"

Tags: CSR, london sport, pe, primary premium, sport

Celebrations and Challenges Ahead for Sport

Posted: Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:03

Celebrations and Challenges Ahead for Sport

Celebrations and Challenges Ahead for Sport


It has been a bit of a topsy turvy sort of week for us at SajeImpact as we have been able to celebrate what is best about sport, feel the challenges ahead as the landscape changes and partnerships are strained and then see the global integrity of sports governance crumble one again in the media spotlight.

I started the week with 3 days at the Sport and Recreation Alliance Leadership convention – and this year it was certainly about learning about leadership from outside the sector as much as from within. I have always been a great advocate of learning new lessons so this was a great 3 days mixing with so many sports friends.

on the evening of the 4th November I attended the IoG awards ceremony. I have to admit to having visions of a hundred people in a room and a few trophies. It was none of that. Every time I think I start to fully appreciate the size and extent of the sports sector I am blown away by another hidden gem. There were 650 people all quite rightly proud of the progress we have made in creating playing surfaces for our sports to take place. It was great that the first winners were Leicester City FC. The ground has been amazing and looked great for the RWC games played there in October.

I spent a day trying to extend the collaboration across the sector by attending the UKActive Summit. I have blogged over at about the unhelpful language – trying to squeeze out the word sport and claiming sport was dead. I think we are all in this together and creating artificial and unnecessary divisions are unhelpful.

Friday saw me at WorldVision Boards in London and a day rounded off by attending the Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year #SWOTY at the Sky Studios. A little like attending the BEDSA awards, it is a useful reminder to be in the minority at such events. There was so much to celebrate for women in sport this year – but as the Women in Sport Trophy Women report launched that morning showed there is also a long way to go.

This week has seen the launch of #GetYourKitOn campaign through the Sport and Recreation Alliance, as the reality of the CSR cuts likely to hit sport on the 25th November CSR announcement loom large. A range of media interviews and briefing have kept me busy!

Of course we launched the grass roots campaign on the same day as WADA launched its report into systemic drug cheating in Russia and corruption in the IAAF. Not a great backdrop!

Clients have the benefit of the wide range of issues and partnerships I am involved with. Why not have a coffee to see what Saje Impact could do for you?

Tags: #getyourkiton, SRA, SWOTY, UkActive, Women in sport, sport

Teaming up with NumbersforGood

Posted: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 11:57

Teaming up with NumbersforGood

Teaming up with NumbersforGood

Andy Reed is teaming up with Numbersforgood to co-create an Impact fund for sports that create a social good.

The Sport Impact Fund will be created to help fund sports bodies and charities social impact work. It creates an investment in sport for social good.

"We are delighted to be working with NumbersforGood who have a wealth of experience in this field. This is an exciting opportunity for all parties and we know already there is great interest and demand for this type of funding for the sector.

"There is greater need for different funding models as we move forward into 2016 for sport. The environment is changing and sports bodies need help to steer and navigate through this new world. Teaming up sports expertise with Social Impact financial expertise we can co create something very special.

Tags: Social Impact, Sport

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