The Change Foundation

The Change Foundation

At a glance


  • Learning disabilities / difficulties
  • Mental health
  • Physical disabilities
  • Refugees / migrants
  • Sports
  • Training / employment support
  • Women
  • Young people

Other details

Geographical remit: 


The Change Foundation empowers marginalised young people to transform their lives using the power of sport. We operate by both delivering highly targeted interventions in London, and by building the skills and capacity of partners to deliver sport for development programmes across the UK and worldwide. Over the past 38 years our ‘innovate and share’ approach has delivered transformational programmes in 37 countries and across 12 UK cities - including in every London borough. In the UK we work with young people on the edge of gangs and criminal activity, child refugees, young people with a disability, young women leaving care and young offenders.  

The Change Foundation programmes are unique and offer an unrivalled combination of design and delivery by young mentors who have passed through the very programmes on which they coach; long term commitment to our young participants; availability 24/7 to support our young people when they lose their self-belief or need support in making good choices and pathways to employment.

The Change Foundation has a passionate and dedicated team who work to make a real and lasting difference in young people’s lives.


The Change Foundation was founded in 1981 following the Brixton riots in south London, using cricket as a tool to promote community cohesion and peace during the conflict in the heart of the local community. For 38 years we have been delivering sport for social change programmes designed and led by young people creating opportunities for marginalised groups to make positive change using a variety of sports and mentoring.

The Change Foundation is unique in that we deliver sport for social change programmes designed and delivered by graduates of our programmes who are experts by experience; we deliver targeted interventions recruiting the hardest to reach young people affected by current youth social issues; we deliver long term interventions (minimum one year) providing young people with regular sport, personalised mentoring and meaningful transitions; we believe in partnerships and collaboration to achieve sustainable social change working with over 100 community groups, local authorities, corporates and employers; and 
we are a multi-award-winning charity, most recently winning the Third Sector New Generation
Fundraiser award in May 2019 for our innovation in business development. Our model for change is: 

1. Identify the social need – We take social action by responding to a need in the local community. We build an understanding of the context of the social need by gaining the perceptions of young people, using the existing base and understanding the political and social environment we are working in.

2. Create and pilot test methodology – We design sport for social change programmes by testing a variety sports and adapting their rules, trialling impact measurement tools, understanding the resources required and questioning assumptions. We do this by facilitating young people’s ideas and testing them by delivering pilot programmes.

3. Recruit and retain – We invest time and resources in developing recruitment plans to ensure we work with the most marginalised young people in our communities. We work in partnership with local authorities, community groups, non-statutory services and ‘on the street’ recruitment. We spend time matching the right programme for the right young person and learn about root causes that affect retention.

4. Deliver programmes – We deliver sport for social change programmes that are flexible, adaptable and inclusive where you can ‘learn as you go’. We take this approach because social change programmes are complex and unpredictable, they require supportive environments, reliable Coach Mentors that lead by example and new and innovative coaching methods that weave in learning.

5. Provide opportunities – We recognise that change is personal and each young person drives their own change at their own pace dependent on their relationships, motivations, behaviours, values and aspirations. We provide a range of opportunities for young people once they graduate from our programmes including; paid employment, one to one career development support, alumni programme, work experience opportunities, mentoring and travel experiences.

6. Innovate and share – We systematically review impact through reflective practice, openly discussing successes and failures with all stakeholders and amending methods based on learning. We then share our learning with the international sport for social change sector helping them to innovate in
their communities. We do this by training their coaches, consulting with national governing bodies and
engaging partners to deliver programmes through a franchise model.

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