The Satellite Clubs programme was established by Sport England to bridge the gap between school, college and community sport. The aim was to provide new opportunities for children and young people to create lifelong sporting habits. Living Sport have facilitated the fund in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough since its inception in 2013. With the programme now coming to an end, we take the opportunity to reflect on the impact it has made and introduce our new approach to supporting children and young people to get active.

Since 2013, Living Sport has invested in 63 Satellite Clubs, which in turn helped over 3600 young people to become more active. 

Prior to 2017, the Sport England Satellite Clubs programme had a wide remit, with engagement and partnership working from National Governing Bodies of sportmainly providing traditional sports such as football, netball and gymnastics to 11-25 year olds. However, evidence suggested that young people who were inactive were less attracted by conventional sports, and the usual forms of delivery. By changing our approach for Satellite Clubs to targeted areas and adapted delivery models, we focussed on the needs of the young people who needed thintervention the most. 

Consultation with existing Satellite Club participants found that nearly a quarter (22%) were 'Everyday Youths' (Sport England: Under the Skin Youth Insight tool). This highlighted that they: 

  • Found it hard to motivate themselves
  • Go with the flow” – less likely to put time aside in their diary for sport/activities
  • Prioritise relaxing and spending time with friends and family
  • Are not competitive

The work of Living Sport as a commissioner of Satellite Clubs evolved over time, as there was a shift to working collaboratively with non-traditional providers that work with young people. Together, we used the Satellite Club investment to create opportunities for young people to achieve better outcomes and offer provision that best met the needs of the young people. 

"The club is my safe space to come and make new friendsstrengthen existing friendships and exercise."

With a focus on targeted areas of need, the Satellite Clubs programme has achieved:

2017-2019 Satellite Clubs

  • 80% of clubs targeting inactive 14-19 years 
  • 55% of clubs located within Peterborough or Fenland 
  • Almost 50% of clubs were female focussed 
  • 8% of clubs had a disability focus

2020-2021 Satellite Clubs

  • 34% of participants from diverse ethnic communities
  • 12% have a disability focus
  • 10 clubs have been established in low socio-economic areas 
  • Over 25% are set within youth or community centres 
  • 25% have a focus on multi-sport rather than traditional sports, so that young people can mix and match their activity choices


The Impact on Young People 

The response from Satellite Club participants has been consistently positive. 

You can view more Satellite Club videos showing here.

The success of the programme was made possible by the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment of Satellite Club delivers. Living Sport are hugely grateful to these partners and 
hope to continue to work with them during the next phase of our children and young people focussed work. 

Dragons' Den Co-production Pilot
Living Sport have also piloted 
co-production opportunities alongside young people. This was initially through schools in a format like Dragons' Den where pupils work in small groups to develop ideas for a new extra-curricular physical activity club for their school. The groups are required to pitch their ideas and the successful “pitches” gain investment. Paralympian and Living Sport Ambassador, Sam Ruddock, explains the concept here. This new approach led to after school clubs being established in Glow Sports and BMX. 

Feedback from schools involved included:

“The young people have now got more involved with activities and are showing more commitment to learn.” 

Due to its success we are now reaching out into local communities with this concept working with young people from under-serviced groups. 

The Future of our Children and Young People Work
e aim to help support future children and young people projects through a focus on youth voice, engaging with those young people most likely to be inactive and supporting with the feedback on proposals from our Youth Panel. 

From May 2021, we are looking to address inequalities for under-serviced groups of young people, and will be looking to deliver projects with two key approaches; through virtual delivery (Virtually Active) and through face to face delivery (Inclusive Futures). 

For further information about Satellite Clubs or our approach to children and young people project delivery, please contact Sports Delivery Co-ordinator, Sally Gibson.