Our story

Leadership Skills Foundation team members in tent text to Leadership Skills roller banner at the Festival of Education. We have been here, supporting leadership skills development, since 1981. We have been known by many names: the British Sports Trust, Sports Leaders UK, SLQ and now, the Leadership Skills Foundation. But one thing has always remained the same: our drive to empower the leaders of tomorrow.
Image. Sport and Young People. The need for action now. 1977. The Central Council of Physical Recreation.

1977 – 1978 

The Central Council of Physical Recreation publishes a major report: ‘Sport & Young People: The need for action now’. In 1978, its Youth Sub-Committee considers a leadership award in sport. 

A photo of the Community Sports Leader Award. 1981 Log book.

1981 – 1983 

The Community Sports Leadership Award is created following a donation from the Colson Fellowship Trust. By 1983, the award has seen its first thousand participants. 

Image. The Central Council of Physical Recreation and The Sports Council. Monitoring and Evaluation Exercise of the Community Sports Leaders Award Scheme. 1993.

1988 – 1993 

Our first iteration, the British Sports Trust is formed to run the now-established Sports Leadership Awards. By 1993, the awards have an estimated annual contribution of £65.8 million to sport and recreation. 

A class of students stood and sat on an astroturf whilst wearing tag rugby belts.

2004 – 2008 

With over 90,000 new Sports Leaders each year, the British Sports Trust becomes Sports Leaders UK. We launch a Foreign Language Leader Award, gain UCAS points for our Level 3 qualifications and, by 2007, celebrate one million Sports Leaders. 

A teacher talks to two STEM pupils as they build structures from paper at a school in Romsey.

2009 – 2015 

Sports Leaders UK becomes a charity limited by guarantee. We launch the Maths Leader Award in 2013 and Literacy Leader Award in 2015. We are awarded a £1 million grant from the Social Action Fund and Coalfields Regeneration Trust to launch Energy Club in primary schools.  

A large flame appears as a beaker is set alight by a STEM student, with a teacher watching at a school in Romsey.


We issue our two-millionth certificate and launch SLQ as our awarding organisation. We publish a new Skills Framework to support new qualifications, awards and partnerships. 

STEM pupils are sat experimenting as two older teens are instructing them at a school in Romsey.


Pioneer centres begin to deliver our new STEM Leaders programme, developed and supported by SSERC. 

An older student directs a group of younger pupils on what to do in a PE sports lesson in a gymnasium.


We secure funding from the Department for Education to support the delivery of our Your Time programme, developing leadership skills in over 7,000 girls and delivering 50,000 hours of sport to their peers. 

STEM pupils in white lab coats are stood over some beakers to see what will happen at a school in Romsey.


We launch our new identity as the Leadership Skills Foundation. Our vision is for everyone to be empowered to shape their future.