The three Active Partnerships that cover Yorkshire & Humber (North Yorkshire Sport, Active Humber and Yorkshire Sport Foundation) applied to the Sport England Innovation Fund to design a learning offer that better met the needs of the workforce.

We were all seeing reduced numbers on courses and workshops, higher cancellation rates, have some very rural areas, couldn’t reach all the workforce in our settings and organisations, and know that lots of our workforce value learning and development but are ‘time-poor’.  

The partnerships were successful with the application and set about designing and curating content. Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community was created and we set ourselves some key principles. Learning must be: insight lead, accessible, flexible, interactive, engaging, bitesize and informal.

We spent time up to this date developing the site and the learning and were supported by a number of different organisations to do this. We also expanded our offer of a clubs and community tool to include the school workforce, which was great as we felt there was lots of opportunity with the platform. Having needed to push the launch date back a couple of times, we were able to make our Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community site live with a number of courses available.

Our first modules included: How to Engage Women & Girls in Sport and Physical Activity, Understanding Young People and Getting them Active, Raising the issue of Healthy Weight, PE in Small Spaces and more.  

This first year of delivering online content was such a learning curve for us, affected in a number of ways by COVID-19. There was a massive boom in online learning options and we saw our numbers sky rocket overnight. People were less concerned about where their learning was from but that it was available. Lots of watch or listen again options became available and peoples confidence in using technology to access webinars, meetings, information increased as we had to use online applications. On the flip side, we couldn’t get out and film as much learning content as we wanted to with the lockdowns.

Modules we did produce included: Active Communities, Strengthening your club through volunteers, The Outdoor Classroom and Physically Active Learning in schools. We trialled filming online over zoom to produce our ‘Social Media Masterclass’, tested guest speakers with filming their own content for the site including ‘Keeping the ‘E’ in PE’ and started to look at a more conversation style approach, such as the learning for ‘Engaging Girls in PESSPA’.

Over the first year we had 2,500 learners take over 4,400 modules. We piloted work in schools with teachers and supported charities with their own volunteering training. The funding was over, but the Active Partnerships wanted this platform to continue.

We have extended our Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community 'family' to include RISE North East and Active Gloucestershire, both of which want to support the development of the site and have knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm to bring. We’re excited to have them onboard! Over the 18 months since launch, we’ve had nearly 3000 learners take over 5000 modules. 88% say they will change or implement something as a result of our learning.

Although we’re called ‘Yorkshire & Humber’ Learning Community, we continue to offer learning to anyone who can benefit from it and have learners across the UK and wider! We still offer it for free and hope to be able to do this for as long as possible (or at least really low cost). We continue to listen to learners and work on insight and feedback and work with experts and in partnership. We are developing modules continuously and review and check existing modules. We’ve plans to further develop our offer and support to our learners.