British Equestrian backs Sport England’s ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

British Equestrian is amongst a group of over 120 organisations working in partnership with Sport England to level up access to sport and physical activity across the country.

British Equestrian (BEF) will receive expertise, support and an investment of £5,187,216 of government and National Lottery funding from Sport England to co-deliver the ambitious of its 10-year Uniting the Movement strategy.

Sport England research shows that some groups are typically less active – like women, people with long-term health conditions, disabled people, people from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups. Right now, the opportunities to get involved in sport and activity – and reap the rewards of being active – depend too much on your background, your gender, your bank balance and your postcode.

British Equestrian is committed to a more inclusive and accessible approach to better connect communities and the joy of horses. Equestrianism is a model sport for gender equality, age range, disability access and at its core is accessible to most socio-economic groups.

However, we’re less successful in promoting ethnic diversity and this must become a feature of our future if we are to thrive and represent society better. We, and all our member bodies, as well as the wider equestrian industry, will ensure tackling inequalities is embedded in everything we do. Alongside our unique position, we will utilise this funding in partnership with stakeholders to ensure those who feel excluded from the sport are catered for by providing insight about the barriers communities face. This in turn will enable us to adapt our approaches to remove those barriers and increase access.  

We will also aim to develop our advocacy, communication and influence, to provide greater awareness of our sport, and the wellbeing benefits of being with horses.

We will also focus on further expanding the reach of our talent and performance pathway by providing opportunities for entry points that promote accessibility and inclusivity and establishes a solidly founded and diverse cultural legacy for the future. 

Over £550million is being invested by Sport England in total, with the partners including British Equestrian receiving funding for up to five years. This new funding model from Sport England provides longer-term financial security as organisations recover and reinvent from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

All partner organisations were selected by Sport England due to their ability to influence change and improvement at the heart of the system they are a part of, no matter how big or small.  This is the first step on a journey to revolutionise Sport England’s approach to long-term partnerships as it seeks to partner and collaborate with innovative organisations to deliver Uniting the Movement and build a nation where everyone can get active.

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “Sport England’s goal is to get everyone active– no matter who they are, where they live, or what their background is. But we know that certain groups – Ethnically diverse communities and people from low-socio economic background – are more likely to be inactive. We can only innovate and tackle inequalities effectively by thinking about long-term change; Uniting the Movement is a long-term vision, and our funding approach needs to reflect that. Changes to our funding model will help us achieve our goal, by making it easier for our partners to do what they need to do to level up and deliver.”

Mandana Mehran Pour, British Equestrian Head of Participation, added; “We’re very excited to work with Sport England, wider systemic partners and our equestrian ecosystem to effectively play our role in providing the voice, inspiration, and leadership for all those involved with equestrianism and to encourage and support sustainable growth at all levels to ensure a thriving and increasingly diverse and inclusive sport. 

Our aim is to tackle inequalities in equestrian sport and it will form a major part of our workflow as a key focus in our overall strategy. Today we can announce we will be working with AKD solutions to conduct a piece of research to understand the barriers of participation in horse riding, vaulting or carriage driving. This is the first major piece of work done in this area and we hope to learn through lived experience of people from ethnically diverse communities and low socio-economic backgrounds which will help us to facilitate the way forward to our end goal.”

In British Equestrian’s last Sport England funding cycle, we were able to help fund places at Ride High through the Tackling Inequalities Fund. Visit thier website to read more about their vital work.

Ride High is a registered charity that transforms the lives of disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to learn to ride and look after horses and ponies. We effect lasting change in their attitude, wellbeing, self-confidence and life prospects so they become happy, confident young people who are positively engaged in the outside world.

Ride High works with children aged 8-17 in Milton Keynes, particularly those living in the most deprived areas for whom there is no or little support available.