Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice – progress since winning the Not A Red Card Collaboration Award

Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice won The Collaboration Award at the 2019 Not A Red Card Awards for their Community of Practice – a group of over 375 people who advocate and champion best practice and increase research and partnerships for those working in sport and the criminal justice system.

Here, James Mapstone, Chief Executive for the organisation reveals what they have achieved as a result of winning, and what is to come.


Tell us about Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice…

Our mission is to build a better and safer society through the use of sport in the criminal justice system by actively helping the sport for development sector in their mission to reduce violence, crime, and reoffending. We do this through expert guidance, evidencing impact, advocating for what does and doesn’t work, as well as building a portfolio of solutions to support sport in criminal justice, such as helping to establish parkrun’s in prisons across the world since 2017. 

Why are you and your organisation passionate about mental health? 

In our sector we see programmes come and go, however its often the people who remain. The more we look after our people and ensure they have the tools and support they need, the more we grow together and increase our reach and impact on our mutual beneficiaries.

You won The Collaboration Award in 2019, what has happened since then? 

Winning the award last year helped us to secure a record grant of £1m from the London Marathon Charitable Trust to help kick start a new £1.7m project for minority groups, as well as increasing our credibility in the eyes of new partners. Our new project – called Levelling the Playing Field – will operate in four areas across England and Wales, and uses the power of sport to engage and improve health and life outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic children who are in, or on the fringes of, the Criminal Justice System. 

Fantastic progress so far, tell us a bit more about Levelling the Playing Field 

The three-year initiative, ‘Levelling the Playing Field’, developed in partnership with the Youth Justice Board, will use sport to engage and improve health and life outcomes for more than 11,200 black, Asian and minority ethnic children aged 10 to 17 who are at risk of entering, or who are already disproportionately involved in, the Criminal Justice System. Our target delivery areas are in London, the West Midlands, South Yorkshire, and Gwent. 

We are in the process of developing the local strategic partnerships and building the programme in each area. Working with each Youth Offending Team, the Police, and local Active Partnerships we are in the process of identifying the local delivery partners and workforce development will begin post Covid-19 lockdown. 

Our long term aim is to not only increase black, Asian and minority ethnic participation in sport, but to foster more active partnerships between sport and criminal justice agencies, advance youth justice policy to support a reduction in disproportionality in the Youth Justice System and develop an effective model for expansion across other areas of England and Wales. The Project will also support the development of intensive sport-based mentoring programmes.

The Not A Red Card Awards are now open for entries, what is your top tip for someone considering entering?

What have you got to lose? Simply by entering the award and putting your nomination together is a chance to reflect on your impact and take stock of your achievements. The recognition for us helped to raise our profile and by attending the event, we had the opportunity to make some great new contacts and learn more about how other organisations are taking action and supporting their people.


Enter the Not A Red Card Awards now to celebrate excellence in workplace mental health

The Collaboration Award is for a company demonstrating cross-sector or cross industry engagement with an initiative that brough together different stakeholders to address mental health in the workplace.

This award, along with 5 other categories, including The Leadership Award and Best Mental Health Initiative for SME’s and larger businesses, are all open for submission, by any business small or large. Entries are open until 14 August 2020.

Enter the Not A Red Card Awards