The Change Foundation on the conference circuit

TCF members of staff have been to some exciting conferences over the last couple of weeks. Here is a round up of what we have learned at three quite disparate events.


Ryan attended the Empower conference at the Museum of London, organised by Women in Sport.  The conference had a stellar line up including Judy Murray, Rebecca Adlington, Eleanor Oldroyd, Laura Bates from Everyday Sexism, outgoing Sport England CEO Jennie Price and Helen Skelton, amongst others.

Women in Sport presented their new research, “Where are all the Women?” which looks at the visibility of women’s sport in the media, and suggests that there has been a vast improvement since 2012, but that there is still a long way to go. As an example, just 8% of newspaper sports coverage is dedicated to women’s sport. Another key theme suggested that it is time to change the narrative from teaching girls and young women to jump higher and higher to removing some of the barriers that are stopping women from reaching the positions that they deserve in the first place.  When the CEO of Sport England, Jennie Price, says that the system is broken then it is time to take notice and start making changes. As a sport for development organisation we are making strides to effect that change, but there is always more that we can do.

“It was a really informative and worthwhile conference hearing about the current themes around positive developments and areas of improvements, as well as how, as a women in sport movement, we are going to continue challenging the societal stereotypes and provide more opportunities to champion women in sport.” – Ryan Jones, Fundraising and Communications Manager

The F Word

Ryan also attended The F Word, a conference hosted by Upshot and the Sports Think Tank based around the topic of failure. The conference was inspired by Matthew Syed’s book “Black Box Thinking”, which suggests that taking an all-round approach to improvement, learning from failure and success equally, is the best way to get the most out of any situation.  It started from the viewpoint that, in the words of Rose Chilton from our friends at Sported, “There has been a tendency for third sector organisations to shy away from talking about what hasn’t worked out. Perhaps this is due to pressure from funders, pressure we’ve put on ourselves (by claiming a larger impact or greater success rate than our grantee competitor), or a bit of both.”

There were a range of speakers from within the sport for development sector and outside (where it seems failure is much more accepted), and the key theme that emerged on the day was the idea of developing a growth mindset in order to see failure as a positive learning experience and not be afraid to share that with others. There was also a highlight on the fact that so far the sports industry has failed to understand diversity and allow representation for diverse groups. This is an area that we work hard on at TCF and we are always keen to learn from what others are doing to make our work more impactful.

“It was another insightful day around embracing failure, taking it as a learning opportunity and not being ashamed to fail, being open and transparent for continuous learning and development.” – Ryan Jones, Fundraising and Communications Manager.

Laureus Sport for Good global summit

Henry was representing The Change Foundation in Paris at the Laureus Sport for Good global summit as one of the 130 Laureus-supported programmes in attendance. The Change Foundation is currently a recipient of a grant through Laureus from Mercedes Benz for our Netball 4 Change project in Newcastle.

The focus of the summit was on ways in which sport can shape a society where people with different physical and intellectual needs are fully integrated, and where women and girls participate equally. Over the course of the three days many workshops took place including funder insights – hosted by Comic Relief, Disability Inclusion – hosted by Special Olympics and a day spent exploring gender equality within sport but also within the sport for good space. There were a host of global sporting icons in attendance who sat on a wide variety of panels, including All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick, ex-England and Arsenal female football star and BBC pundit Alex Scott MBE and friend and supporter of TCF, Bryan Habana.

“We are hugely proud of the work Laureus programme partners are doing around the world, using sport to help young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Our programme partners are deeply embedded in their local communities, wherever they are working, and it has been wonderful to hear about the creative ways sport is being used to shape lives and transform communities. This event has been a welcome reminder that the Sport for Good movement is in innovative and inspirational hands.” – Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy

“For me the greatest thing about the last few days was to meet and learn from so many wonderful people doing brilliant things with brilliant projects all over the world. On reflection it’s also re-confirmed to me that at TCF we do an awful lot of things right. For any organisation, it’s incredibly important to self-critique and continuously challenge yourself to be better,  but it’s also really important to celebrate successes’ and organisationally the things we do really well. We’ve made some really good connections over the last few days and TCF continues to develop a reputation within the sector as being a dynamic, innovative and collaborative organisation” – Henry Glynn, Head of Learning and Development