Sport England
Founded1996; 28 years ago (1996)
FounderDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport
TypeNon-departmental public body
HeadquartersLoughborough, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive

Sport England is a non-departmental public body under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Its role is to build the foundations of a community sport system by working with national governing bodies of sport, and other funded partners, to grow the number of people doing sport; sustain participation levels; and help more talented people from all diverse backgrounds excel by identifying them early, nurturing them, and helping them move up to the elite level.

Chris Boardman is the Chairman of Sport England and Natalie Ceeney is Vice Chair.[1][2]


Sport England was established as the English Sports Council in September 1996 as an executive non-departmental public body by royal charter. It began operating in 1997 as Sport England.[3] It has two statutory, functions: (1) a lottery distributor for sport;[citation needed] and (2) the protection of playing fields, through its role as a statutory consultee on planning applications that affect playing fields, under SI No. 1817 (1996).[citation needed] The funding it distributes comes from both HM Treasury and the National Lottery.[4] Since 1997, it has invested over £2 billion of Lottery funds and £300 million from the Exchequer into sports in England.[5]

Sport England is organised into nine regions. Following restructuring in 2009, its former regional sports boards have been disbanded and regional staffing considerably reduced. Closer working with the sports national governing bodies (NGBs) is key to its new strategy[when?] to achieve its target of one million people doing more sport by 2012–13.

It is encourages sports venues to enhance their development potential by registering under Sport England's SASP (significant areas for sport) programme as either a national or regional centre for their particular sport.[6]

Its 'Active Places' website is designed to help the public find sports facilities anywhere in England. Searching can be through an interactive map, within a given locality or to discover more information about a known facility location.

In 2007 Sport England produced Active Design, which provided a set of design guidelines to help promote opportunities for sport and physical activity in the design and layout of new development. The guide was revised, retaining 'The 3 A's' and refining the criteria based approach to the Ten Principles of Active Design. The revised Active Design was published in 2015, and was supported by Public Health England.


Derek Mapp resigned as Chair of Sport England on 29 November 2007 after 13 months in the post, claiming he had been forced to leave his position by James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in a dispute over funding.[7][8] Mapp was succeeded by Michael Farrar as interim Chair from December 2007 to March 2009.[8][9] Purnell appointed Richard Lewis (former Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League) to review Sport England's funding priorities, and he was appointed Chair on 1 April 2009.[9]

On 22 April 2013, Nick Bitel was appointed as new Chairman, succeeding Richard Lewis.[10]


Clubmark is an accreditation which Sport England makes available to community sports clubs which fulfil certain criteria. Its declared aims are: "Higher standards of welfare, equity, coaching and management in community sports club" and "Making sure the nation's sports club infrastructure is safer, stronger and more successful". As of April 2015 over 12,000 clubs had the Clubmark accreditation.[11]

Logo and branding

The Sport England logo is based on the 'sport for all' logo which was used from the 1970s onwards.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2015 National Lottery Good Causes Award Best Sports Project Sport England TASS Pending

The Sports Council Archives

In 1997, the English Sports Council replaced the previous administrative body known as The Sports Council. The Sports Council was first appointed by the British government in 1965. Archives of The Sports Council are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. The archives include administrative papers, reports, financial records, correspondence, and collected printed material from the 1940s to 2001.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Gibson, Owen (29 May 2013). "Nick Bitel vows to get tough in Sport England fitness drive". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  2. ^ Gibson, Owen (27 March 2015). "Debbie Jevans stands down as England Rugby World Cup chief executive". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Triennial Review of UK Sport and Sport England" (PDF). Department for Culture, Media and Sport. September 2015. p. 25. Retrieved 22 November 2016. Sport England was established by Royal Charter in September 1996 as the English Sports Council and became fully operational as Sport England in January 1997.
  4. ^ "2010 to 2015 government policy: Sports participation".
  5. ^ "Sportcal | News | Sport England London Appoint New Sports Board Members". Archived from the original on 6 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Sport England – SASPs". Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  7. ^ Bond, David (30 November 2007). "Sport England's Derek Mapp forced to quit". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "House of Commons Hansard; Vol. 487, Part 19, Col. 58W". Hansard. London: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 26 January 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Lewis named Sport England chief". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Rod Carr and Nick Bitel move in at UK Sport and Sport England". BBC Sport. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  11. ^ "What is Clubmark?". Club Matters. Sport England. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ "UoB Calmview5: Search results". Retrieved 18 December 2020.