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Sport England CEO: Kids Company collapse has changed the funding landscape

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The huge media fallout and criticism of the government from the collapse of the charity Kids Company has significantly changed the environment around state funding, says Sport England CEO Jennie Price.

Speaking at the ukactive Summit in London last week, Price said that physical activity organisations seeking funding from the government must now do more than ever to demonstrate that they are leading solid and well-organised initiatives.

The collapse of Kids Company, which had regular meetings with top politicians and received millions of pounds in state funding, caused the government huge embarrassment. Price said the impact on the mindset around funding has been evident, with government officials clearly now thinking in meetings ‘We don’t want another Kids Company.’

“The funding environment has definitely changed since Kids Company. The price of failure in government is massive, with front page headlines guaranteed to greet decisions that go wrong,” said Price.

“So we have to create confidence that what we are putting forward are solid partnerships, that can be confidently supported. Physical activity initiatives need to be thinking ‘how can we get more relevant parties involved in our projects.’”

Price made the point during a Q&A session on ‘Using new approaches to boost activity,’ after Lawn Tennis Association CEO Michael Downey had said that organisations may gain better results if they approach the government for support rather than funding.

“There’s a difference between government funding and support. For physical activity organisations, gaining support is a far more realistic outcome and can help to achieve more than just one-off grants,” said Downey in response to a question from Health Club Management on what more the government can do to help activity initiatives.

“Moving forward, the government needs to help physical activity providers get into schools through the front door, as right now we have to go through the back door.

“There’s currently no mandate specifying the time kids must be active each day in school. My message to government is to keep pushing for an hour a day in schools – it can be achieved.”

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The huge media fallout and criticism of the government from the collapse of the charity Kids Company has significantly changed the environment around state funding, says Sport England CEO Jennie Price.
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