Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Sport following the pandemic - priorities for safety, funding and revenue, and assessing the new normal for elite, grassroot and community levels

Morning, Thursday, 15th October 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the way forward for UK  elite, grassroots and community sport in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at:

  • the disruption to sports bodies and businesses, facilities and individual athletes, funding cycles and sponsorship, and major events in the UK and worldwide
  • how the sport sector, and those that support and partner with it, are adapting and what further response is needed to mitigate the impact caused by the pandemic
  • longer term questions surrounding funding and revenue streams across both elite and grassroots levels

Key areas for discussion:

The impact of the pandemic on elite sport in the UK and internationally

  • the effect of the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on funding and training cycles, and on organisational processes
  • strategies for mitigating financial and other challenges facing UK elite athletes and their sporting bodies sport, the workforce and facilities that support them, and their partners and backers, including suppliers, media organisations and sponsors
  • developments and next steps for safety and innovation in sporting events, and assessing longer term impact of increased free-to-air and online content
  • what focus may be needed on maintaining the momentum in women’s sport

UK Sport’s funding strategy

  • implications of UK Sport’s new funding strategy for elite sport programmes
  • the way forward for implementation, and whether any adjustment or postponement to its implementation may be necessary as a result of the pandemic

Grassroots and community sport

  • the UK’s grassroots, community and mass-participation sporting landscape, with a particular focus on the pandemic’s effect on rates of participation and on longer term trends of engagement with the reinforcement of the importance of exercise throughout the pandemic
  • financial and organisation challenges facing grassroots sports clubs and associations, and their partners and backers in local government and communities, training and competitive facilities, and local businesses - what support may be needed in the long term and more immediately  
  • the way forward for developing talent pipelines and connections between the grassroots and elite levels of sport, and ensuring that emerging talents are given opportunities to compete at elite levels - including support with training programmes, funding, and access to elite facilities and other resources

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • UK Sport’s new funding strategy for elite sport set to take effect in 2021
  • UK Sport seeking more than £50m in exceptional government funding to ease the financial uncertainty for GB’s athletes and sports as they prepare for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
  • Written evidence given by UK Sport to the House of Commons DCMS Select Committee’s ongoing enquiry on the impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors, on the financial vulnerability of Britain’s sporting governing bodies and the impact of the virus and the ensuing lockdown
  • Some sports having resumed competition under new measures to mitigate the virus, and with the Government having recently published stage three of a five-stage framework for a return to full competition

The agenda:

  • Taking forward the new funding strategy and supporting UK athletes and governing bodies through the pandemic - key priorities and next steps
  • The outlook for UK elite sport
  • Responding to reductions in revenue due to COVID-19, the impact of the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games, and resuming elite competition safely
  • The way forward for promoting and supporting mass participation in sport - what more may be needed in terms of public funding and how best to harness the power of technology
  • Key issues for community and grassroots sport - funding, participation, safety and sector recovery from the pandemic
  • Policy priorities for funding elite and grassroots sport in the UK

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, representatives from devolved and local government, national sports bodies, sports governing bodies and associations, funding bodies and commercial investors, LEPs, grassroots and wider social programmes, venues and businesses, their suppliers and advisors, athletes and sport teams, representatives from the health sector, schools and charities, organisations and individuals representing the views of citizens, academics, analysts and commentators, and reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Joanna Coates

Chief Executive Officer, UK Athletics

Nick Pontefract

Chief Operating Officer, Sport England


Ed Warner

Chair, GB Wheelchair Rugby

Siobhán Prior

Athlete, Nottingham Wildcats and Basketball England and Director, Basketball Operations, Nottingham Wildcats

Mark Lawrie

Acting Chief Executive Officer, StreetGames

Ben Dean

Director, Sport and Gambling, DCMS

Anna Scott-Marshall

Director of Communications, British Paralympic Association

Heather Douglas

Policy and Partnerships Manager, UK Coaching