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

Priorities for sport participation and funding - key issues for the elite, grassroots and community levels

Morning, Thursday, 15th October 2020

***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.

The discussion and key developments:

  • the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on sport participation and funding - following announcements by the Prime Minister earlier this week that the planned socially distanced return of fans to sports stadia from 1 October has been postponed
  • how the eventual return of fans to sport will be handled - as the Culture Secretary holds the first meeting of the Sports Technology and Innovation Group aimed at exploring a range of high-tech solutions so that fans can be back in elite sports venues when it is safe to do so;
  • the continuing financial uncertainty in the sector including:
    • the impact of assurances made by the Culture Secretary to UK Sport around funding for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, after UK Sport sought more than £50m in exceptional government funding to ease the for GB’s athletes and sports
    • the financial vulnerability of sporting governing bodies - UK Sport evidence to parliament on the impact of the virus and lockdown as part of the Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors inquiry
  • UK Sport’s new Post Tokyo 2020 Funding Strategy for elite sport - set to take effect in 2021 - with consideration to what the investment principles should include following concerns over the lack of BAME representation in some of the best funded sports
  • concerns for the long-term future of grassroots and women’s sports - with consideration to:
    • what the impact would be on mass participation levels, and on the talent pipeline, should indoor facilities fail to reopen
  • the impact on the trajectory of women’s sport across both levels following concerns from Sport England that COVID-19 has exacerbated gender inequalities in activity levels, but also the opportunities that have arisen from this period of enforced reflection - such as the organisation of golf’s new Rose Ladies Series

The agenda:

  • 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 for elite sport, restarting safely and innovating broadcast offerings and athlete support ahead of the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Supporting local sport and participation - 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 and the impact of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Policy priorities for supporting elite and grassroots sport in the UK

Policy officials attending:

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

This conference is no different, with places reserved by parliamentary pass-holders form the House of Lords, and officials from the DCMS; the DHSC; the Government Legal Department; and the Welsh Government.

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

Ben Dean

Director, Sport and Gambling, DCMS

Simon Morton

Chief Operating Officer, UK Sport

Keynote Speakers

Antoinette McKeown

Chief Executive Officer, Sport Northern Ireland

Simon Morton

Chief Operating Officer, UK Sport

Joanna Coates

Chief Executive Officer, UK Athletics

Nick Pontefract

Chief Operating Officer, Sport England

Ben Dean

Director, Sport and Gambling, DCMS


Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Football and Treasurer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Formula One

Tonia Antoniazzi MP

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Netball and Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rowing


Leshia Hawkins

Chief Executive, Cricket Wales

Councillor Luthfur Rahman

Executive Member for Skills, Culture, and Leisure, Manchester City Council

Hamish McInnes

Chief Executive, British Shooting

Geraldine Ryan

Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and Non-Executive Director, Manchester Football Association

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

Victoria Aggar

Chair, British Athletes Commission

Anna Scott-Marshall

Director of Communications, British Paralympic Association

Heather Douglas

Policy and Partnerships Manager, UK Coaching