Six impactful projects on shortlist for SJA ‘Sport for Change’ Award 2023

Judging panel has narrowed down the entries for the sixth edition of the prize, which will be presented as part of the SJA British Sports Awards 2023 event in London on December; supported by the Sport for Development Coalition, the award recognises projects that benefit local communities and individuals…

Six projects have been shortlisted for the ‘Sport for Change’ category at the 2023 SJA British Sports Awards early next month.

The award, which is supported by the Sport for Development Coalition, aims to highlight the amazing work of organisations that are using sport and / or physical activity to create a positive impact on local communities and individuals in need.

SJA ‘Sport for Change’ Award – Past Winners

  • 2018: The Wave Project
  • 2019: Salaam Peace
  • 2020: Marcus Rashford; Lou Macari; Ebony Rainford-Brent; Dons Action Group
  • 2021: The London Marathon
  • 2022: Panathlon

For the 2023 shortlist, a panel of judges including representatives from national sports media and sport for development experts selected six projects based on criteria which included impact, reach, sustainability and innovation.

The six shortlisted projects for 2023 are:

British Canoeing

British Canoeing used the World Slalom Championships to shape positive environmental and social change. This was achieved through engagement programmes within paddlesport and the local community.

One of the initiatives was to remove junk and Invasive Non-Native Species from the River Lee Navigation, which is close to the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

About 15 tonnes of the invasive plant have been removed from those waterways as a result of the work British Canoeing has led on.

Chance to Shine Street

Chance to Shine Street supports young people in underserved communities to play, learn and develop through cricket in a free and inclusive environment.

Designed to be fun and informal, Street cricket is played with a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape and matches are just 20 balls per side. Young people aged eight to 24 attend weekly sessions, making friends, learning new skills and developing their wellbeing.

With 53% of young people not getting the recommended level of daily activity (Active Lives), too many children are missing out on the benefits of being active. Street takes cricket to the most deprived areas of the country, giving opportunities to those who previously lacked access to the sport. Established in London and Birmingham in 2008, there are now 268 projects across Great Britain.

Dallaglio RugbyWorks

Dallaglio RugbyWorks (DRW) is a national sport for change organisation working in communities facing disproportionate levels of deprivation.

The organisation delivers a range of interventions using the values of rugby, and sport in general, to ensure that disadvantaged young people who are disengaged from education get the best opportunities to build a positive, productive life. Interventions include: term-time, evening, holidays, youth offender, and girls, all of which deliver the DRW theory of change – developing life skills, raising aspirations, and improving physical and mental wellbeing.

Thus far, DRW has had incredible success in transforming post-education outcomes for its target group. Engaging 4439 young people to date, 96% of participants sustained EET post-16, compared to 54% of their excluded counterparts.

PeacePlayers – Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, division is still an issue, with communities often split by neighbourhood, sports affiliation, political beliefs, religious affinity, schools and more.

For the past 20 years, PeacePlayers Northern Ireland has cultivated a community of 25,000 youth from diverse groups, giving them the skills and the confidence to act as leaders and change agents in their schools and neighbourhoods.

PeacePlayers uses basketball to unite young people from the historically divided traditions, those who identify as British/Unionist/Loyalist, commonly generalised as Protestants; and those who identify as Irish/Republican/Nationalist, commonly generalised as Catholics, and teaches them the dynamics of conflict and how to overcome it, and most importantly, how to share this knowledge with others.

Sporting Memories

Sporting Memories is a charity and social enterprise which supports frailer, isolated older people to reminisce, replay and reconnect within their local community through the power of sport and physical activity.

The organisation engages those who face challenges in later life, whether it be living with dementia or other long-term health conditions, or supporting those who face loneliness or isolation, to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

With an increasingly ageing population across the UK, the work Sporting Memories does is now more important to provide a regular service that can help older people to lead active and fulfilling lives.

Tackle (formerly TackleAfrica)

Tackle, founded in 2002, uses the power and popularity of football to deliver essential HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services to young people across Africa.

Tackle does this by training African coaches, volunteers, and community leaders to deliver fun, interactive football sessions with inbuilt health messaging to players. Alongside receiving sexual health information on the pitch, players can access youth-friendly SRHR services at tournaments, such as HIV testing, counselling, condoms, and referrals to further clinical services.

In 2022, Tackle trained 792 coaches who engaged 16,593 young people across Africa, 48% of whom were female. 5,053 young people tested for HIV of which 110 positives were linked to treatment.

The six shortlisted projects will be invited to attend the SJA British Sports Awards event, which takes place at the Kia Oval in London on Thursday 7 December.

Tickets and tables are still available to purchase via the awards website:

The Sport for Development Coalition is a movement of more than 400 charities and organisations across the UK using sport and physical activity intentionally to address key health, societal and environmental inequalities. For more information, visit: