Active London 2019 Workshops

Active London 2019 took place on 10 September at 30 Euston Square and to ensure every delegate got the most from their day we split the afternoon sessions into four different workshop tracks.

The afternoon sessions allowed delegates to choose which of the tracks they would get most value from exploring, though each continued to concentrate on the concept of innovation in the ways we work.

Find out more about each of the workshop tracks below:

  • Innovation in an Urban Environment
  • Community-based Innovation
  • Driving Innovation through Technology
  • Insight-led Innovation

Beginning with London’s built environment, this track challenged participants to consider the ways that sport can adapt to a changing urban landscape, before flipping the debate on its head and seeking a vision of a city that develops to create a culture of physical activity. 

Session One: Built for London? How sports can adapt to modern urban environments without losing their essence.

The first ‘living library’ session focused on rebuilding sport and physical activity for London and the Human Library was full of experts that have broken conventions to bring their sport deliver in the streets and grey spaces of London. 

“If we are to make London the most active city in the world we must innovate to rebuild sport for the city, and rebuild the city to create an environment more supportive and permissive of an active culture.”

Matt Roebuck (Relationship Manager)

Session Two: Built for Sport? Reimagining a London environment that is permissive and supportive of an active culture

After the break, delegates heard from urbanists – people who spend their time imagining a different London. Delegates considered how they might change London to better support sport and physical activity, even from a start point of no budget.

“For a great example of what we mean by innovation in this field watch this video on the Unusual Football Pitch Project in Bangkok and come ready to imagine the same in your area of London.”

John Arthur (Community Relationship Officer – Urban Sport)

For more information on this workshop track, click here.



This track took an in-depth view on the ways that innovation has been adopted by community projects, groups and stakeholders in a way that successfully enables true community buy-in and support.

Session One: As easy as ABC(D)? How the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach has been used to transform approaches to physical activity and sport projects.

This workshop gave an introduction to the main principles behind Asset-Based Community Development and insight from a current project to help delegates understand how to approach community led work.

ABCD is a sustainable method for community development which focuses on the strengths and potential of a community. The method allows the sport and physical activity sector to work with the community rather than doing things for them and provides more opportunity for lasting change with diminishing budgets. 

The ABCD method requires localised innovation, each project is unique to it’s community. It’s about looking for innovative ways of joining up or capitalising on what already exists for greater impact.” 

Emily Neilan (Relationship Manager)

Session Two: Hyper local and community driven approaches to increasing physical activity

When focusing your work on some of our most vulnerable communities in London – the key to success is to empower communities.

The days of ‘doing to’ are over and co-production or community engagement will give you a decent shot at the cost effective and sustainable solutions you will be seeking.

There are no shortcuts to understanding the community you are working with, earning its trust, and co-producing solutions.

This workshop focused on pragmatic community engagement approaches that bring asset based approaches to life and showcased social prescribing as the opportunity of the decade for sports development professionals.

There is no silver bullet to increasing levels of physical activity – but perhaps the best approach is to work with communities to help them understand the challenges they face and find the long term answers they are seeking.

Phil Veasey (Public health, community engagement and sports development consultant)


Digital and technological innovation is one of the most widely-discussed areas of innovation for physical activity and sport, yet its adoption remains patchy and commercial sport remains ahead of its grassroots equivalents in its use of technology. This track engaged with two of the most timely aspects of technological Innovation with an eye on their influence on grassroots physical activity. 

Session One: As eSports move further into cultural consciousness, what are the opportunities for traditional physical activity and sport?

Some might still be asking as to whether eSports is a sport or a foe for participation but trying to answer that questions is actually counterproductive. Why? Esports is already here, it’s not going away and is a global phenomenon which is fast becoming part of our day to day culture and society.

Rather than dwell on what is it and whether it is good or bad, this panel debate session focused on what can be learnt from its growth and, importantly, delegates heard from key figure heads and thought leaders on any opportunities to create a world-leading collaboration between the two sectors in London.

“Like music, participation doesn’t have to decline in a digital era; sports organisations, and national governing bodies in particular, have a great opportunity to use disruption to their advantage given the ways digital can provide a means of engagement”

Matt Rogan (Chair of Two Circles)

Session Two: The Power of Storytelling. Experts in digital content share their views on the power of great storytelling to get people more active.

Sport’s unique power to change lives has long been talked about and was repeated again at the recent launch of Made by Sport where sport was labelled “a powerful force for good that can change people and places for the better”.

At this session delegates explored how to best make use of video, campaigns and stories as well as effectively and efficiently create your own. They also talked through and showcased examples of showing outcomes and impact through storytelling and also growing a brand and exposure of services and products for new users.

“Stories have a transformative power to allow us to see the world in a different way than we do if we just encounter it on our own. Stories are an entry point to understanding a different experience of the world.”

Clare Patey (Empathy Museum)

For more information on this workshop track, click here.



Taking two London Sport-led projects as its starting point, this track looked at the ways that sophisticated insight approaches can shape our approach to helping less active people to enjoy the benefits of regular participation In physical activity and sport. 

Session One: In session one, delegates received an introduction to research and segment profiles before focusing on two segments as a ‘taster’ for London Sport’s segmentation research and framework.

Delegates will be able to refresh their views of less active population and gain a greater understanding on how to target those people. The session encouraged participants to develop instinct, empathy and understanding of less active individuals and consider relevant interventions and opportunities to engage with them.

“Innovation is very important for our insight work. It’s particularly potent if we are to consider the opportunity to shape future interventions and communications that are relevant and capable of engaging target segments. Examples could include; co-development or working with less active representatives directly amongst further stakeholders to shape and guide developments.”

Daniel Stracey (Senior Insight Manager)

Session Two: A Walk in the Park: shaping digital marketing through project insight

Facebook advertising can be a great way to reach people who might be interested in your activities or services. But it’s also a crowded space. With thousands of companies competing to get their message across it can be hard to create an ad that captures attention and prompts action.

In this workshop delegates heard about recent Facebook advertising campaigns run by Sport England (This Girl Can) and London Sport (Walking Groups). Both organisations shared what worked, what didn’t and gave some top tips for running your own campaign.

In particular, we explored the key components of an advert that stops people scrolling and engages them with your campaign. For example: should you be using images or video? Pictures of groups of people or individuals? Just the participants or show an instructor? We’ll cover all these and much more including the different ad formats on Facebook and how to craft an offer that your audience can’t refuse.

“Did you know that each week we scroll through more content on Facebook than the height of Big Ben? That’s 96 metres of scrolling.”

Chris Norfield (Digital Marketing Lead)

For more information on this workshop track, click here.