On 2nd December 2022 over 90 organisations from the children’s activity coaching sector gathered at Villa Park for the Aspire Active Partnerships Conference.

Twice a year the Aspire Active Partnership (AAP) network gets together for a full day of workshops, networking and collaboration.

Uniting the network is their drive to end physical inactivity.

Valuable ideas, evidence, case studies, stories, insights, and best practice all were shared to support the network in boosting their businesses and getting more children more active, more often.

Keep reading for a round-up of one of the most attended AAP conferences yet.



Insights and benchmarking your business

Paul Griffiths, Aspire Active Education Group

There’s a lot of noise at the moment. With recessions, funding cuts, and much more besides, the challenges just keep on coming. But switching off from the noise and remaining positive is essential to both your own and your business’s well-being.

Paul Griffiths spoke about riding the wave of opportunity; be the surfer that catches and rides the wave, not the one that gets wiped out. Paul shared strategies to turn problems into opportunities, enabling businesses to not just survive but thrive. Paul explained how problems and headaches could be solved with the network’s services and products, and how this could support our goal of combatting physical inactivity.

A thriving business also requires reflection. In Part 2 of his workshop, Paul shared business insights from the network, insights that reflected on what the sector is doing well and where the sector needs support.


Build a recruitment process to grow your business

Tom Trout & Steve Brennan, Love Care Recruitment

People are at the heart of our companies, so creating and retaining the best team is key.

Tom Trout and Steve Brennan from Love Care Recruitment joined us to share valuable insights and actionable advice on finding the right candidates.

As well as getting everyone involved in a brilliant game of Recruitment Bingo!


Sector insights and impact

Rafe Turner & Phillip Wright, The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

Shaping a recognised, valued and inclusive sport and physical activity sector that everyone can be a part of is CIMSPA’s vision.

And so, their workshop, delivered by Rafe Turner and Phillip Wright, was packed with invaluable insights for the AAP network.

Rafe and Phillip discussed the definition of the UK sport and physical sector workforce, and highlighted the importance of that definition. Current workforce trends were shared, and the impact of the sector revealed.


Making golf accessible to all

Martin Crowder, The Golf Foundation

Golf is a game for a lifetime.

And so, starting young offers children a sport, a passion and a way of staying active for life.

But when asking children about their favourite sports, golf doesn’t crop up all that often.

Cost, accessibility, perceptions, equipment, difficulty and time are all barriers to participation.

Martin Crowder joined us at the AAP Conference to share how The Golf Foundation is breaking down these barriers.

Martin talked to the network about the Foundation’s brilliant golf programme delivered in schools to introduce children to the sport in a safe and fun way.

To demonstrate the power of the golf programme, Primary Sports Coaching Limited shared the incredible impact they’ve seen as a result of delivering it in schools.


Develop your sales DNA

Dan Hays, Aspire Active Education Group

Excel partners in the AAP network took part in Dan Hays’ workshop to explore sales DNA.

Dan took partners through the six-step sales process and the critical activities for success.


The new QA process

Andrew Stanton, Aspire Active Education Group

Andy Heald, Sportivit

Some swift problem solving was required for this one. How could Andrew deliver his part of the workshop when he was at home with Covid? (This wasn’t a workshop activity).

Of course, trusty Zoom saved the day.

And speaking of trust, in their workshop, Andy and Andrew shared the new QA process with Impact partners that’ll support the sector to build trusted teams.

Building those trusted teams relies on team members feeling safe. And as Andy said, making staff feel safe is ultimately what we’re aiming to achieve with the CQI process.


Make your PE lesson fully inclusive

Sue Morrison & Louise Assioun, LUSU

“A lot of children with additional needs were being sidelined.”

LUSU is ensuring that this is no longer the case.

Experts in inclusive sport and activity, Sue and Louise delivered an important workshop to support the network in ensuring every child can be active.

LUSU are transforming the lives of children with disabilities and their families through providing expert training. It was inspiring to learn about their ideas and take part in activities that we know the network will already be putting into practice.


Open up the secondary school market

Jon Davis, TLE

The majority of the AAP network deliver programmes mainly in primary schools.

But think about what’s possible when you also consider the secondary school market; how many more young people could you reach? That’s what Jon Davis asked the network to consider. Jon discussed how programmes could be adapted to engage secondary school pupils and the impact that’s possible.


Future-proof your business

Matt Ogle, S4A Group

Paul Griffiths, Aspire Active Education Group

After the past couple of years, it might seem impossible to consider how you could ever future-proof your business. But there are ways that’ll ensure you’re in a stronger position should issues arise. One of those ways for our sector is wraparound care. In their workshop, Paul Griffiths and Matt Ogle explained how wraparound care can help with future-proofing and demonstrated the impact this offer can have on businesses.


With workshops completed there was just one more thing left to do. An essential element of any AAP Conference, the awards!


MOTM Engagement Champions

Congratulations to ActiveMe 360 on engaging the most children through Maths on the Move over the past 6 months!

Brilliant work helping children boost their confidence and attainment in maths through movement.


PECS Engagement Champions

A big congrats to Dream Big Sports on winning the PECS Engagement Award. Fantastic work empowering teachers to raise the quality of PE and increase activity levels in a way that lasts.


And the Network Contributor Award goes to…

S4A Group!

The most prestigious award, voted for by organisations in the network. Congratulations and thank you to S4A Group for contributing the most to the network over the past 6 months!


During breaks and lunch, as well as tucking into a delicious spread, a marketplace was set up for partners to engage with affiliate partners, to learn about the impactful services they offer, the support they can provide, and the exclusive offers available. Thank you to all those who were a part of our marketplace:


That may have been it for the conference, but it didn’t end there for the AAP network.

With workshops delivered, booklets completed, resources distributed, the buffet polished off, and awards presented, it was time to head over to Dropshot in Digbeth for food, drink, and a few games of shuffle board, pool, and table tennis.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you to all of our partners, workshop leaders, exhibitors and team for making the day one to remember!

We hope you’re all feeling inspired with a brain full of ideas to take your business to the next level and inspire even more children to lead active lives.