Sport Wales discovery

30 July 2021


In February 2021, Sport Wales approached the Centre to see how we could support them in developing their community grants system and also on their digital transformation journey. If you didn’t know already, Sport Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical activity in Wales. Their strategy is focused on enabling sport in Wales to thrive. The organisation has recognised a need to involve people and understand their motivations when developing opportunities to be active.


After some great initial discussions between us, we decided that the challenge worth exploring during discovery is “how can Sport Wales increase the reach and impact of their community investments (grants)”, and a partnership approach would mean that we worked together with the Centre providing a squad to work alongside people from Sport Wales.

This new way of working for Sport Wales means that we don’t jump to solutions at the start, but instead start by discovering and understanding the needs of the users and the organisation through user research. It’s only once their needs are fully understood that we then try out ideas to fulfil their needs through iterative and incremental delivery. The involvement of the user is constant and paramount to the success of any solution, whether there is a digital element or not.

By the end of discovery, we aim to have a clear understanding of which sports clubs, organisations or community groups should receive community grants, their needs and how Sport Wales and its grants can make a true difference to them. In practice, this means the user research will involve reaching out to successful applicants, unsuccessful applicants and those who never applied before (which are the trickiest to find).

The team

A squad is a multidisciplinary team, meaning there are a range of specialisms within the team to understand the organisational goals and blockers as well as understand the needs of users.

The core team, which is responsible for delivery, came together from both Sport Wales and the Centre, and consists of:

Even though we’re in the early stages, we’re working really well together, learning by doing, taking ownership and collaborating to reach a consensus and deliver work. One of the objectives of working together in a close-knit team is to share knowledge and help the team upskill. Pairing is one of the ways this can be achieved, and it involves two people going through a piece of work, sharing knowledge on how to do it and allowing the other person to try it out.

This is my first experience of working in a squad and I was a little apprehensive to start, as I didn’t know what to expect. But since working with the team for the last couple of weeks I feel really comfortable contributing my thoughts and opinions and have really appreciated the opportunity to learn some new skills and work in a completely different way and will be looking to implement some of these new ways of working with my own team.” Rebecca

‘’It has been really refreshing and eye opening to speak directly to people who use, and who don’t use Sport Wales grants and to hear their stories and experiences first-hand. This feedback will be vital to help us really understand user needs.’’ Owen

What are we doing next?

Discovery started on 12 July and will last for 8 weeks. We’re already engaging and conducting research with both current users and non-users of the community grants through surveys and one-to-one interviews.

This is also the first post in a series and we’ll continue to blog throughout the discovery phase with what we’re learning.

Can you get involved?

Are you a community group in Wales which promotes physical activity and/or sport?

Then you could help us, whether you have accessed the community grants from Sport Wales in the past or not. Get in touch with us

Blog post by: Sport Wales discovery team

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