Our History – 1972 to Today

Sport Milton Keynes – A Brief History

The structure of independent, but accountable, Sports Councils (Home Countries) dates back to 1972. These were set up as independent (autonomous) bodies with overall responsibility for British sport, providing grants to governing bodies of sport, assessing the need and demand for facilities and advising local authorities on the provision of facilities. They were set up in recognition of the fact that Government could not, and should not, take upon itself to run and organise sport or sporting activities. The Sports Councils were therefore acknowledged as the Government’s principal advisors on sporting matters and were used to channel the assistance (resources) to sport.

A crucial contribution to sport was also made at the local level by Local Authorities which have been the force behind the growth of indoor sports and leisure centres which now play such an important part in our communities. They have a large role in providing sporting opportunities, in particular as providers of facilities and , increasingly, as enablers working in partnership with the private and volunteer sectors. This partnership became even more significant with the advent of the funding available through the National Lottery. The Voluntary Sector has always been identified as crucial, through the activities of the independent governing bodies of sport and through individual sports clubs.

Throughout the 1970’s local Sports Councils started to spring up as voluntary organisations, creating the links between local authorities and sports clubs.

Since 1972 there have been a number of changes, which have influenced the way that sport has been administered throughout Great Britain. None of these though had a greater impact then that which created the English Sports Council. Before then, responsibility for the development of sport in England lay with the GB Sports Council, which also had a remit for the whole of the UK on the co-ordination of issues such as the operation of doping control services and international affairs. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already had their own Sports Councils.

In 1975 Milton Keynes & District Sports Council  was established

In 1995, extensive consultation and debate dating back to 1987 culminated in the Government policy paper Sport: ‘Raising the Game’;  from this emerged a revised system:

  • the GB Sports Council (now known as Sport England) assumed responsibility for the development of sport in England (County) level.
  • the UK Sports Council (now known as UK Sport) assumed responsibility for issues that needed to be dealt with at UK (Olympic & Paralympic) level.

Sport England have resolved their work load to be applied through 49 County Sport Partnerships (CSP’s), to provide a link between national strategy and local delivery. They are funded to deliver a range of core services on behalf of Sport England and the National Governing Bodies. This includes work in areas such as coachclub and volunteer development, facilities, children and young people and connecting NGBs’ to the local CSP area.

On 1st Jan 2000 Milton Keynes & District Sports Council  was renamed Sport Milton Keynes (Sport MK)

The launch took place  at the Posthouse Hotel at a ceremony where the Mayor of Milton Keynes and Mark Hesk, Leisure Partnership Officer of Milton Keynes Council, were the main speakers. There were over 100 guests who also enjoyed the annual presentations of certificates to Sports Achievers of the Month.

In October 2020 Sport Milton Keynes (Sport MK) became a Community Interest Company 12924736.

In 2001 the Sport Milton Keynes (Sport MK) started working with our County Sport Partnership (CSP)   now renamed as Active Partnerships


Leap (formerly Bucks Sport) is the brand name of the Bucks & Milton Keynes Sport and Activity Partnership, a non-profit making organisation and one of 45 ‘County Sports Partnerships’ established by Sport England and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to provide a support network for grass roots sport across England.

In 2014 the organisation changed its brand name from Bucks Sport to Leap to reflect the partnerships widening remit around physical activity as well as sport. The Leap strategic framework provides organisational direction through to 2018 and highlights how Leap will work to increase sport and physical activity participation across Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes. It is designed to create a platform to engage, support and complement partners in the design and delivery of their own plans, projects and strategies enabling increases in sport and physical activity.

With our partners we look to attract investment for sport into Bucks and MK from Sport England, Health Bodies, Local Authorities, National Governing Bodies of Sport and businesses based within Bucks and Milton Keynes to achieve our strategic aims. The sport and physical activity landscape remains ever changing; Leap’s challenge is to provide direction whilst remaining dynamic, flexible and open to new opportunities. Leap’s  2015 – 2018 strategy focuses on strengthening partnerships, creating opportunities and removing barriers to help 50,000 more people benefit from sport and physical activity in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes; simply put ‘getting more people active for life.’ For more information on Leap’s work and to download the full strategy visit:

Connect with Leap:

Leap Logo



In 2012 the Milton Keynes Council formed a committee of volunteer business people to assist them with providing funding for future sporting facilities within the borough. This they have titled MK Sports Board.

Sport Milton Keynes continues to be the independent Voice of Sport in Milton Keynes,  encouraging Clubs to submit nominees to our Achiever Schemes, both Monthly and Annually, Also Grants continue to be given to affiliated Clubs who meet the necessary criteria.

Tribute to Marie Collins MBE previous Chair, please click here

Have any questions?