Case study: How Include Summit tackles the big issues

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Include Summit

M&IT sat down with Include Summit founder, Gurmej Singh Pawar to better understand what it takes to pull off the UK’s first and only conference dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in sport.

Gurmej, what’s the Include Summit all about?
Our mission is to get one million underprivileged and underrepresented young people into sports, with the long-term aim of transforming the diversity of the sports sector workforce, as this is a core issue with so many EDI challenges in sport.

Unfortunately, sport and access to opportunity in sport and exercise is not equitable and there hasn't been a space where people interested in changing that, can get together and discuss the issues and work on solutions. The Summit was the first time that anyone with a passion for driving EDI forward in sport was able to gather together in one place, genuinely from the pitch to the board room and beyond, and across every area of EDI in sport, from women’s sport to disability, LGBTQ+, race equality, health and wellbeing, and so many other areas. 

With so much to cover, how did you decide on the event format?

The event had a packed two-day agenda including opening and closing plenaries, panel discussions workshops, and specific workshops for young people, as well as an inclusive-sport hub and an exhibition area. You can see from the agenda the topics we covered and the calibre of over 120 speakers we were able to engage.

The event was hybrid with around 500 people attending in person each day and we had up to 400 online, some from as far as Canada. 

The event app was a fantastic platform for connecting people together, whether in person or online, and will continue to be the way in which we connect our audience together, and measure the impact of our achievements.

How did you ensure the summit was inclusive and accessible?

We gave away 200 free tickets each day for young people and community leaders to atten the conference, both from local Birmingham and wider Midlands area, but further afield too.

This the approach ensured that we had fantastic representation from the real-end of sport and the merging of these groups with the other event attendees made for the most diverse, inclusive and represented audience, we think, ever seen at a sports conference.

What’s the legacy of the Include Summit?
Every conversation at the Include Summit made a point around practical things that can be done to support work in that area. We made sure that every session attendees went to, they would leave it equipped with immediate ideas that they could go away and get straight on with. Whether it be on something as simple as starting to collect data or how to have more equitable recruitment processes there were lots of opportunities for delegates to apply learnings. 

Young people were a vital part of the event from leading panel discussions and presenting on stage, to support the event delivery and media. We had a brilliant team from BCOMS involved, and a number of local sports apprentices too.

The Include Summit was absolutely a landmark moment in sport and will continue to lead the way in gathering people together to tackle EDI, working together to make a difference. Together with the event itself and the connections it develops, the passion it enthuses and the conversations it drives forward, our mission of getting one million underprivileged and underrepresented young people in sport will undoubtedly leave a positive legacy within sports and wider society.

Holly Patrick
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Holly Patrick
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A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.

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