NEWS RELEASE: SPFL Trust research demonstrates reach and impact of SPFL associated clubs and trusts


ISSUE DATE: 22 June 2022

Measuring Community Impact: SPFL Trust research demonstrates reach and impact of SPFL associated clubs and trusts

New research compiled by KKP and published by the SPFL Trust has demonstrated the huge contribution of SPFL associated trusts and clubs (ATCs) to their local communities.

The evaluation report, entitled Measuring Community Impact: SPFL Associated Trusts and Clubs, shows that in a single year the ATCs linked to Scotland’s professional football clubs delivered more than 2,402,000 person hours of participation. This involved more than 110,000 people taking part in a wide range of activities, including more than 91,000 hours of group activity across 250 facilities.

Over the course of the evaluation year more than £5,000,000 was spent directly on community projects by associated trusts and clubs to “support and change people’s lives for the better”.

As KKP’s data analysis and geographic information systems show, 4.52 million people, 82.6% of the Scottish population, live within 10 miles of an SPFL ground, which means SPFL clubs’ ATCs are well placed to reach 93% of the most deprived population groups in the country.

Nicky Reid, chief executive officer of the SPFL Trust, said the report illustrates the importance of the work done within communities by ATCs across Scotland: “ATCs are a powerful network, well placed to support communities across Scotland. They deliver a wide range of cost-effective programmes which, even more importantly, support and change people’s lives for the better. This helpful data provided by KKP has informed our 2022-25 strategy, Football Powered, which focuses on the important role football can play in helping people to live happier, healthier, longer lives in Scotland.”

KKP chief executive John Eady commented: “KKP’s extensive experience in the field of impact evaluation and specialist performance measurement has enabled us to devise a research methodology that provides the data and analysis to demonstrate the huge community impact of SPFL clubs’ ATCs. This requires the handling of high volumes of data, and the support and commitment of a huge number of people.

“We were pleased to have been able to generate a 93% response rate from the 42 SPFL clubs This makes for comprehensive, robust data and is testament not only to the hard work and commitment of the KKP evaluation team but also to the strong working relationship we enjoyed with the team at the SPFL Trust.”

The research period ran from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. This included the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid crisis saw extensive disruption of the activities and priorities within communities across Scotland but it was notable that the SPFL ATCs were at the forefront of community engagement in their locations. Despite all the challenges of Covid-19, not least to staffing and funding, between 1 March and 30 June 2020 ATCs delivered a total of 193,908 individual/family support initiatives.

The report Measuring Community Impact: SPFL Associated Trusts and Clubs, including details of all data and methodologies, is available via the SPFL Trust website at www.spfltrust.org.uk


 Notes for editors

  • This evaluation of the social and community impact of ATCs was commissioned by the SPFL Trust and delivered by Knight, Kavanagh and Page. For further details of KKP’s work visit www.kkp.co.uk
  • John Eady is available for interview. Please contact KKP via (0)161 764 7040 or email mail@kkp.co.uk
  • KKP’s report for the EFL, Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community, a report into the community role of club community organisations associated with professional football clubs in England is available via the EFL Trust website:

RWC 2025: preparing to have a real impact on the game

Tim Holdsworth, senior consultant at KKP considers the impact of Rugby World Cup 2025 and what the legacy programme will mean for the women’s game.


The recent announcement that the Rugby World Cup 2025 will be hosted by England is good news for England rugby and great news for domestic women’s rugby. This is the biggest event in the women’s game and KKP was pleased to contribute to the work undertaken by the bid team that brought home the prize.

The RFU was keen to host the RWC competition to reflect the success of women’s rugby in England and to build on the growth of the game across the UK.

When the success of the bid was revealed the RFU noted that “since England last hosted the RWC in 2010, and won it in 2014, women’s rugby has grown exponentially”. The growth in female participation, which has led to there being some 40,000 registered women and girls playing in clubs across the country, is testament to the work undertaken by clubs and coaches at local level, and to the RFU’s investment in developing the women’s game.

RWC 2025 clearly represents another opportunity, both for the RFU to further grow the game in England and the UK, and for World Rugby (the organisation that oversees the staging of the RWC) to present the women’s game to a global audience.

As one might expect, legacy was at the centre of the RFU’s vision as RWC hosts, creating both an opportunity and a challenge.

The opportunity is clear. Within the bid document, the RFU envisaged RWC 2025 as a multi-city, multi-region event, bringing the world’s best players to venues across the country to create interest and engagement among new and existing audiences.

Equally clear is the challenge. Legacy is a much-promised element of every major event but bid document aspiration is not always matched by a long-term benefit to the sporting environment. However, we can be confident that the proposed RWC 2025 legacy will be delivered and make good on the promise of significant impact.

There are three strands to the legacy programme, which will be rolled out from 2022 through to 2025:

  • a multi-generational legacy, creating players among younger women and girls, and fans among those women who did not have a chance to play;
  • support for rugby development within the home unions and creation of capacity, via the recruitment of coaches and referees; and
  • facility development and improvement to service the women’s game.

It is this third element of the legacy programme – the development of facilities – in which KKP has been able to play its part. Utilising our long experience of sport and leisure facility development, background working in and with rugby at all levels, and our extensive data analysis and mapping skills, KKP has been able to help the RFU focus on how investments in physical provision can help to transform the experience of girls and women playing the game.

There will be more detail in subsequent articles but this part of the legacy programme revolves around the development of new, and the upgrading of existing, changing and social spaces to ensure that they better reflect modern player expectations (and in particular female player expectations) of what sports facilities – and specifically rugby clubs – should offer. The legacy programme will encompass a range of investment approaches, from brand new exemplar changing and clubhouse facilities right through to minor improvements in showers and toilet accommodation.

This facilities programme is arguably a reflection of the fact that, notwithstanding good levels of investment across the board by the RFU and clubs themselves in respect of clubhouse provision for women, facility provision has not been able to keep pace. The thinking is that new generations of female players should not – and will not – have to endure such ‘traditional’ understandings of what constitutes appropriate environments for sport.

The RWC 2025 facility legacy programme is designed to reflect and recognise the work undertaken by many clubs, and the success they have had, in promoting and developing the women’s game. KKP’s research showed that clubs that have demonstrated their commitment to the women’s game are spread fairly evenly across the country, making the RFU’s task of equitable legacy investment allocation and programme delivery a little easier.

In delivering a proposed legacy investment process, KKP is delighted to have had the opportunity to work so closely with the RFU Facilities team and S&P Architects, all of whom went out of their way to collaborate and share their own knowledge, experience and expertise. It certainly made our job more straightforward and enjoyable.

As sport and leisure professionals, we are confident that the RWC 2025 legacy is achievable and deliverable, and that it will have a real impact on the game. As rugby fans, we can’t wait for kick-off.


Tim Holdsworth is a senior consultant at KKP.

Today’s specials: strategic thinking and a cross-boundary approach

Claire Fallon explains why housing development is driving a partnership approach to strategic thinking for sport and leisure.


KKP’s current portfolio includes numerous projects that incorporate cross-over between several aspects of strategic review. While the production of playing pitch strategies and indoor and built sport facility strategies are quite distinct in terms of tools, techniques and approaches, it is not surprising that strategic thinking with regard to one impacts upon the other. Start evaluating where your pitches are and where they might need to be, and it is not too many steps before the links with other facilities, other sports and other communities appear on the whiteboard.

This combination of strategies has become an increasingly common feature of KKP’s caseload over recent years. So too has joint commissioning by local authorities. An increasing number of projects now involve client groups comprising separate councils that come together to look strategically at the sport and leisure services that serve users and communities on both sides of council boundaries.

Most local authorities have long acknowledged that many users of their sport and leisure facilities have little understanding of, or interest in, which authority might provide and manage the specific facility they play in. It is also increasingly recognised that duplication of facilities in close geographic proximity on either side of an authority boundary is a luxury that is difficult to afford, justify or defend. At KKP we are increasingly finding that acceptance and recognition of reality is translating into practical partnerships and the co-commissioning of strategic planning.

A recently completed project on behalf of three authorities in South Worcestershire (Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon Districts) is a case in point. Working closely together via a project steering group, they commissioned KKP to produce a playing pitch strategy and an indoor and built sports facility strategy for each council area. The result was a coherent, comprehensive picture of the future of the wider area’s provision, one in which the local authority boundaries are only lightly drawn.

It has proved enlightening for the councils involved and, like much of our planning work, had housing growth as a key driver. This will create expanded or, in some cases, new communities, with new demands and increased pressures on facilities, services and transport. Developer contributions are key sources of funding that can be optimised via such cross-boundary collaboration.

In South Worcestershire the authorities were brought together by residential expansion and cross-boundary housing developments but all three were keen to ‘lean in’ to find the best options and opportunities for various facilities, including the right balance of 3G and artificial grass pitches for football and hockey.

The emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDPR) is also driving discussion of options for indoor facilities. While all key population centres within the area of the plan currently have adequate provision, projected population increases point to a requirement for a new leisure centre at the Worcestershire Parkway development in Wychavon District. However, the proposed strategic growth areas will require analysis and consideration of a range of facilities, including Pershore Leisure Centre, Perdiswell Leisure Centre in Worcester and Worcester Citizens Swimming Bath. The new strategic growth areas will create new demand and the northern edge of Worcestershire Parkway covered by the SWDPR is close to the city of Worcester, creating potential demand from adjacent catchment areas that lie within a 20-minute journey time.

Across the UK demand for housing is creating persuasive reasons for local authorities to work together to better shape development and to make the best of wider opportunities to improve and extend sport, leisure and cultural facilities for the whole community. However, with the need for openness and trust, genuinely collaborative partnerships can take time to create and develop. The South Worcestershire partnership was up and running quickly but some authorities accustomed to working solely within their own boundaries can be slow to arrive at the partnership table. Our experience is that such difficulties can usually be overcome once the scale and value created by shared opportunities become apparent.

Cross-boundary partnerships reflect the growing recognition that individual authorities cannot – and need not – meet every expectation of each resident, particularly in the realm of non-statutory services. Having a state-of-the-art 3G pitch is an asset but there is little point having one either side of a road that marks a council boundary.

In the Black Country KKP is working with a partnership of four local authorities with housing development again a key driver of collaboration. This area includes major population centres – Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell – raising the prospect of new or improved facilities bringing significant benefit to a large number of people. Larger-scale projects also makes engaging the local and regional structures of national governing bodies of sport in potential projects that much easier.

This project is well under way and has involved the KKP team in several hundred site visits to ensure the accuracy and validity of the data required. Our approach to facility strategies means that no stone is left unturned and no site left unvisited as we build a comprehensive, detailed picture of existing facilities, including how they are rated and used.

At the ‘just starting’ end of the KKP project timescale spectrum is a commission with Colchester and Tendring councils. Plans for a new garden suburb of some 7,000 homes has fostered a partnership between the two authorities and KKP is working on extensive facility and open space strategies that will reflect the likely impact of such large-scale development.

Our work with Buckinghamshire Council is a single-authority project but its status as a new unitary authority bringing together four former districts means that many of the principles of partnership still apply. Housing development is on the agenda, as is the impact of HS2, but this process is also about this new administration looking to fully understand the area within its new boundaries and consider in full the implications of a unitary approach. The success of the recently completed indoor and built facilities strategy for the County has led to conversations with regard to Bucks taking a comparable strategic approach to its other sports, open spaces and community facilities and services.

Cross-boundary working opens a range of possibilities but increasing the size of an area does increase the scale of the project: more facilities, more people, clubs and organisations to engage, more ground to cover. At KKP we are fortunate to have multi-disciplinary capability in house and we operate at a scale which allows us to take on the largest projects. This means that we are well-positioned to manage and support the most significant and complex assignments and get involved with some really interesting schemes. Along the way it builds experience, develops skills and challenges us all to reach and maintain the highest standards.


Clare Fallon is a director and principal consultant with KKP.


April 2022

How the SOPG is shaping the future of facilities, services and a new approach to physical activity

With Sport England’s Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance now established as a key tool for the sport and leisure sector, Andrew Fawkes looks at how it is shaping new thinking and driving new projects.


Sport England’s Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance (SOPG) was published in May 2019 and by the start of 2020 it was beginning to shape strategic thinking in local authorities across the country.

Covid-19 saw local authorities, their staff and departments throwing themselves into the unknown and dealing daily with what had, until the day before, been unimaginable challenges. Amid the firefighting of a public health emergency, sport and leisure professionals were managing the practicalities of shutting down facilities and services while speculating on the potentially devastating financial implications of an immediate loss of revenue.

However, during this time of crisis, many local authorities have found that SOPG principles and approaches provide a sound basis for re-evaluation of their services and assessment of the new opportunities and responsibilities being presented to the sector. For leisure operators and local authorities, lockdown, public health emergencies and the ensuing impact on funding has made SOPG an even more relevant tool to better position sport and physical activity.

in the midst of the Covid-19 response, a new understanding of, and approach to, public health had begun to emerge, underpinned by a primary focus on health and wellbeing. There was enhanced understanding of the importance of physical activity and mental health and added recognition of the link between the two. The strong community response to the pandemic created, reinvigorated or repurposed local support networks, often with sport and cultural clubs and societies at their centre. There was a renewed appreciation of sport and leisure facilities; both the indoor halls, gyms and pitches that were temporarily closed, and the parks and open spaces that were, for a while, the only available venues for activity and recreation.

In 2022, with lockdowns endured and restrictions easing, there are numerous examples of local authorities using SOPG to shape their strategic thinking in the context of new expectations, emerging opportunities and different pressures. Sport England’s funding of consultancy support for this process has helped many of them to move along this strategic pathway, particularly in light of the limited resources available.

At KKP, our Covid-19 support projects allowed us to view first-hand the immense workload and huge pressures that local authorities and leisure operators faced at the height of the pandemic. More recently we have supported delivery of SOPG processes and assisted clients to develop strategies for facilities and services that will best meet future demands.

Rossendale offers an interesting example. Rossendale Connected was the comprehensive community response to Covid – led by the local leisure trust. It encompassed local GPs and primary care networks plus a wide range of other clubs and groups. It now offers a new and engaged series of contacts for the facilities strategy that the Council, in partnership with Rossendale Leisure Trust, has commissioned following application of SOPG. As part of the facilities strategy, KKP is working with Rossendale Connected, GPs, ‘social prescribers’, youth workers and many others to consider how the local sport and leisure facility landscape should look.

Central to the process are the basic questions of such an approach (What have been your experiences? What are your current experiences? What needs to change to get and keep people active? What role should built facilities play?) but within the context of a local area that is arguably defined by its outdoor environment. Rossendale offers extensive walking and cycling, moorland and greenspace, along with a reputation for outdoor adventure, so what do built facilities need to offer and provide; and how should they fit into a precious and protected natural landscape?

Wyre, a near Lancashire neighbour of Rossendale, has also built on its SOPG review, creating a partnership board to develop a physical activity strategy and consider the long-term future of its facilities. In the post-Covid crisis context, the aim is to understand the locally specific role of physical activity within health, bring together partners and understand their collective aims, and consider how this all relates to sport and leisure facilities.

Wyre has recognised that health inequalities and physical activity advocacy must be central to the future of its services. In developing its ‘Wyre Moving More’ strategy and its subsequent facilities plans, KKP has led the community engagement process. This has involved its town partnership boards, schools, public health, Fleetwood Town Community Trust and a wide range of community clubs, groups and organisations. Collectively they are building a picture that will inform the Borough’s leisure facilities masterplan in the longer term.

Sport England’s SOPG has provided a sound framework for strategic thinking; its encouragement of links with health partnerships and the wellness agenda is particularly relevant to the current context. While it has often been difficult for physical activity to cut through the health agenda to demonstrate its impact and efficacy, the combination of the Covid-19 crisis and SOPG principles have helped many authorities and organisations to adopt different attitudes and explore different approaches. A strategic approach to physical activity, and the services and facilities that influence its uptake, is not only timely but also offers the potential for a major impact on public health.

SOPG is serving as the front end of a process that encourages authorities and operators to think about the role, function and potential of their facilities. Facilities strategies and leisure masterplans are allowing local authorities to explore realistic futures for their existing amenities, consider the potential impact on revenue and social engagement of new venues, and look at how best to enable and encourage access to physical activity for all parts of the community.


Andrew Fawkes is principal consultant with KKP.


March 2022

Inspiring Active Places: Jersey’s new approach to sport and wellbeing

Helping the government of Jersey to develop and implement its new approach to community sport and wellbeing is a major project for the KKP team. Having managed this remotely for some considerable time and now able to work with project colleagues face to face, David McHendry looks at some of the aspects of the scheme that make it slightly unusual but particularly interesting.


Over the past couple of years KKP has been working with the government of Jersey to review and renew sport and recreation provision on the island. It is a long-term, large-scale project that includes a comprehensive replacement and upgrading of Jersey’s sport and wellbeing facilities, a management options appraisal plus related work on its playing fields, open spaces and community activity.

As a consequence, the scheme draws on a great many of KKP’s areas of experience and expertise, making it an ideal commission for a multi-disciplinary consultancy practice. While the varied professional demands of the project are familiar territory for the KKP team, some key elements of the project make it particularly interesting.

Perhaps the first aspect to note is that this is a genuinely comprehensive assignment. Jersey’s Inspiring Active Places Strategy covers all aspects of its sport and physical activity offer – at a scale to match its ambition. It envisages a ten-year implementation with the potential for significant initial investment over the next three years.

The Inspiring Active Places Strategy sets out specific plans for the Island’s sport and recreation offer based on wellbeing and physical activity rather than a simple facility-focused approach. The strategy implementation includes investment in Springfield and Oakfield leisure centres to accommodate the relocation of all sports functions from the ageing Fort Regent Leisure Centre (which is scheduled for redevelopment). Thereafter there will be major investment in Le Roquier to create a sport and wellbeing hub on the current school site; this will be informed by a review of swimming pool provision, with the aim of rebalancing provision across the island.

Consultation in respect of the first of the sites within the overall project has begun and will feed into the brief for the integrated design team, of which KKP is a core member. Supported and informed by the consultation process, this team will consider options with regard to the type, mix and location of facilities. The full extent of KKP’s broad experience in all aspects of sport, leisure and regeneration will therefore be called into play and fully exercised as part of this.

A second notable aspect of the project is our involvement for the full extent of the project timeline. While we are accustomed to being involved with large facilities (examples include the Sunderland Aquatics Centre, Glasgow’s Emirates Arena and the University of Warwick Sport and Wellness Hub), in many cases the role of the leisure consultant is solely focused at the front end: exploring feasibility and making the business case for investment. In Jersey, KKP is involved at all stages of the process and, as part of the integrated design team, will be on board through to handover.

Our commission for this work represents a long-term commitment between KKP and the Jersey government. Our role be to work alongside project management, cost consultants and architects providing support for the government team.

Another interesting element of the Jersey project has been the working protocols required over the past couple of years. KKP’s involvement commenced during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant that everyone involved in the early development stages of Springfield and Oakfield had to embrace the use of online communication.

It was remarkable how quickly the concept of remote working became firmly embedded in working practice, but this new approach did throw up some interesting challenges. The abrupt termination of site visits and face-to-face meetings has led to Teams and Zoom quickly becoming second nature, allowing meetings to continue and projects to progress, albeit reflecting the many ongoing uncertainties of an unprecedented situation.

In 2022, with restrictions easing and in-person meetings finding their way back into diaries, it is interesting to reflect on the impact that this new approach has had. While what we used to call ‘tele-conferencing’ had been a sparsely used mechanism for years, under pandemic conditions it was quickly and widely adopted. Now it is the default option.

Managing projects via Teams and Zoom has meant that meetings tend to be more frequent but also more focused – and usually shorter. This, combined with no requirement (or indeed permission) to travel, has meant that finding space in the diary is easier. Increased availability and fewer diary clashes meant it was more straightforward to assemble the right people round the virtual table, making meetings more effective and speeding progress.

Having recently visited Jersey again after a lengthy absence, I was struck by how far we had come, not only in terms of miles travelled to get there but also the development of the project. When prevented from making the trip across the Channel, all the individuals and organisations involved with the scheme were able to continue working and make sure very little time was wasted. While in-person contact and conversations remain an important part of building effective working relationships, it is clear that remote working tools and techniques have already and will continue to have a huge impact on how projects are managed, progressed and delivered.


David McHendry is KKP’s managing director. Contact him at david.mchendry@kkp.co.uk


March 2022

Edge Hill University commissions KKP to lead strategic review


ISSUE DATE: 1 February 2022


Edge Hill University commissions KKP to lead strategic review

Edge Hill University has commissioned KKP to undertake a strategic review of its highly regarded sport and physical activity services.

Building upon the positive reputation already enjoyed by Edge Hill, the process will consider how to further enhance the role of sport and physical activity as an important aspect of university life and the student experience. In so doing it will review and consider where and how the University can build upon the social, cultural and educational role that the University already plays and further enhance its impact on the health and wellbeing of students, staff and the wider community. It will also consider the relationship between Edge Hill Sport and the courses run, and opportunities provided by, the University’s three academic faculties.

Rachel Burke, principal consultant at KKP as well as a graduate of Edge Hill University, will be leading KKP’s project team.

Rachel commented: “Sport and physical activity have long been recognised as a fundamental aspect of university life and has always been at the heart of Edge Hill. The University has been at the forefront of making sport and physical activity an intrinsic part of the student experience. This review will assist it to build on its many achievements in this field. As a former EHU student, it is of course a great thrill and an honour to be coming back to work with Edge Hill having built my own career in and around sport and physical activity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Paul Greenwood, Head of Sport and Commercial Services at Edge Hill commented: “We have always recognised and promoted sport and physical activity as an important part of university life. This review will enable us to build on our strengths and successes in this area and explore how we can better integrate sport and physical activity with other areas of university operation and the quality of the Edge Hill student experience. We are of course delighted to welcome Rachel back in her role as a respected and highly experienced sport and physical activity professional. She will notice many changes since she was here as a student and will be able to help us make sure that Edge Hill University remains at the forefront of creating positive opportunities and experiences for students, staff and the local community.”

Based on a 160-acre campus in Lancashire, Edge Hill University was recognised in two categories – Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community and Support for Students – in the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) awards. It was also named Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022. The institution has been providing higher education since 1885, with a mission to “create opportunity from knowledge”.

This commission builds on KKP’s extensive recent work in the sector which includes strategic planning and review assignments with and on behalf of: Salford, Aston. Warwick and Birmingham universities in England, Robert Gordon and Glasgow Caledonian in Scotland, Aberystwyth and Cardiff in Wales and Ulster and UC Cork in Ireland.


Rachel Burke is available for interview. Please contact KKP via 0161 764 7040 or email rachel.burke@kkp.co.uk

KKP is online at www.kkp.co.uk


Notes for editors

  • KKP is a leading UK-based multi-disciplinary national and international practice operating from offices in Manchester. It offers specialist advice and impartial, objective and creative consultancy support to a wide portfolio of clients. Full details of KKP’s work, clients and projects are available at www.kkp.co.uk.
  • Edgehill University is online at www.edgehill.ac.uk. Edge Hill University’s Department of Sport and Physical Activity offers a variety of degrees including coaching, management, physical education, sport and exercise psychology, and sports therapy, which prepare students for a diverse range of careers.
  • Edge Hill University Press Office can be contacted on 01695 654 372 and by email at press@edgehill.ac.uk