Participation & Access

Sport, Leisure and Physical Ability


Our aim

Move physical activity, sport and active lives within easier reach of people and communities.


To provide strategic leadership to secure system change for physical activity and sport across the life course, with person-centred, preventative approaches in an integrated system. This is needed after the pandemic due to falling sport and activity levels. Now, as communities recover, it is important to work with partners collectively to contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of people and communities.

What have we done?

  •  We advocated for and supported partners across Greater Manchester (GM), to make sure reducing inequalities was the focus of this work, which has been paramount to distribute the investment in sport and physical activity groups and organisations through the ‘Together Fund’ (previously Tackling Inequalities).
  • As well as widening access to activities and participation we worked with GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authorities) and Lancashire Cricket Foundation to advocate the GM Moving in Action ways of working. This supports their Inspiring Generations strategy: to use cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities in Greater Manchester.
  • We worked more closely with the GM Active Board and strengthened our relationship further. The refresh of GM Moving maximised opportunities and ways of working together for future aims and priorities, including contributing toward; population health and wellness, digital transformation, workforce system leadership, and insight and evaluation. Together, we are connecting opportunities, sharing knowledge and expertise, and maximising the capacity of working as a collective to support the new strategy - We Move as One - to align with GM Moving in Action.
  • We facilitated the GM Sport group to open collaborative dialogue across the city-region with localities, sport partners and Sport England, to share successes and challenges, explore cross borough working and work collectively on local issues within sport.

What did we learn?

Now we are working more collaboratively with sport partners across the county we are finding it much easier to connect opportunities. We are also getting to know partners better to understand what they can deliver and move faster where the energy and needs are.

Collaborative work and communication around health is crucial for physical activity, joining dots, opportunities and connections. Colleagues are understanding the system, adding value with expertise across the whole of GreaterSport when relevant, and sharing learning from the new community projects the Together Fund invested in.

By working in long-term partnership, we can leverage the expertise, resources and influence of our collective organisations to deliver outcomes that will make Greater Manchester a better place to grow up, while ensuring activity and sport flourishes in our communities for the next generation.

Case study: Contribution of Sport to GM Moving event

In the GM Moving in Action engagement phase, we wanted people and partners from across the system to work together to use physical activity and sport to reduce inequalities and support active lives for all.

To further that aim, in 2021 we held an event, attended by 20 partners: Contribution of Sport to GM Moving. Here, we discussed what it looks like when sports plays its part in a community, how that works, and how we can best support it. We also talked about how we create the conditions for equality within sport and physical activity, focussing on what is working well and what changes are needed.

There was great value gained at the event, with a wide range of partners creating broad discussions. These taught us how important it is to adapt, changing our narrative and offering based on fresh perceptions about who the activity is for. It also showed us we need to be flexible in the way we think of both participants and volunteers, looking at more varied ways to play sport in local settings. To close inequality gaps and address lifestyle changes following the pandemic, we learnt we need to support the most vulnerable – addressing barriers and challenges and opening up opportunities for people to work together.

The event brought great energy into this space from partners all keen to work together frequently to share and shape connections and outcomes. Hosting the session showed us how we need to commit to a regular space, like this, where partners throughout Greater Manchester can discuss, network and find opportunities to encourage sport and physical activity and further the GM Moving ambitions.

Further details

For more information, please contact Shirley Hurst on