A Model That Strengthens Communities in London

The Sport for Good Cities initiative, pioneered by Laureus in the USA, empowers local partners to create positive social change in their communities. Bringing together coalitions of community leaders who identify key challenges facing their local area and develop a shared vision to address them through sport.
In 2018, based on learning from the initiative in the USA, Laureus piloted the Model City London programme in partnership with the Mayor of London and Nike. The aim of this unique place-based approach is to improve social integration for Londoners, using sport and physical activity to empower them to make their community an integrated, inclusive, active and healthy place.
Over the course of the three-year pilot programme, the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) was commissioned to evidence the impact the programme had on three  London communities in Barking, Haringey East and Hounslow West. The publication of their final evaluation report today reveals some significant successes.
Much of the pilot took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a huge impact on the Model City London programme and its three communities. But having established three coalitions of over 100 local organisations who had built relationships based on respect and trust enabled a coordinated response; mobilising resources and encouraging mutual support to embrace new ways of working, even in difficult times.

We have been able to work collaboratively to support each other with funding bids to bring more money and activities into the area, shared resources and supported each other with delivery, it has been hugely beneficial.

Hounslow Coalition member
NDTi’s evaluation report found more than 5,200 people benefited from new and diverse opportunities for sport and physical activities, with more than £400,000 being invested across 25 project grants. One of the main areas of change reported was participants feeling more connected, less isolated and having a greater sense of belonging. In addition, around 70% of participants are more active, feel more confident and are happier as a result of the programme.
The report illustrates that significant progress has been made in achieving each coalition’s local vision for change, as well as contributing valuable lessons for the wider Sport for Good Cities initiative. Findings also highlight how communities and key stakeholders, both public and private, can work together for a common purpose and achieve change through sport and physical activity.
The report concludes: “People on the ground say that this approach is very successful and more sustainable than traditional grant funding.”

It helped young people at a time when they needed it most. It if wasn’t for the funding, I don’t know where a lot of young people would be – mentally, physically – and their families. It’s provided them with a lifeline.

Active Change Haringey Vice Chair
The learnings from this report will be used to help develop the Model City London programme which is ongoing and diversifying, building on the experiences and impacts of the pilot, as well as inform the development of the Sport for Good Cities initiative which continues to make an impact across the world, now supporting communities in Paris, Delhi and Hong Kong to create positive change through sport.
Adam Fraser, Chief Executive of Laureus Sport for Good, said: "The success of Model City London during this pilot phase – both on a local level in partnership with the Mayor of London and Nike, and as part of our global portfolio of 'Sport for Good Cities' recognised by the World Health Organisation – gives everyone at Laureus not just pride in what has been accomplished, but huge belief in what will come in the future.
“The partnerships and coalitions that have been formed are incredible to see and even more inspirational given that they have been formed and sustained during the pandemic. They are the leaders of this work and we are proud to have supported them through this initial phase, and as the Model City London initiative takes its next steps.”
You can read the full evaluation and learning report here, alternatively the shorter summary report can be accessed here.
The first Sport for Good City was New Orleans in 2014, followed shortly by Atlanta, New York and Chicago. Following London as the first city outside the USA, the initiative has spread globally to Delhi, Paris and Hong Kong.
Mayor of London
‘The Mayor of London believes in the power of sport to transform lives and bring communities together. Sport Unites is the Mayor of London’s flagship community sport programme, which was launched in 2018. At the heart of the Mayor’s approach to sport in London is his belief in the power of sport to tackle social issues, transform communities, and improve Londoner’s wellbeing. Sport Unites supports the Mayor’s long-term vision for London to be the most active and socially integrated city in the world.’
Nike Social & Community Impact
We believe in the transformative power of sport to help move the world forward and create change. To help create a more equitable and inclusive world, we’re tackling systemic inequality through our commitment to getting kids active and building inclusive communities. We’re empowering adults to welcome all kids to play through community partnerships and coaching resources. And we’re teaming up with organizations and our employees around the world – to rewrite the playbook so everyone can win in life. We invite you to learn more about our Social & Community Impact work as part of Nike’s Purpose.
National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)
NDTi is the evaluation and learning partner for Model City London. It was commissioned to work with all the partners to develop and use a community-led vision and outcomes framework to assess what happened and to record the changes that occurred as a result for local people and the coalitions.


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