Lessons of the Doorstep Sport Club Programme 2013-2107

In 2013, Sport England invested £20m with StreetGames against a contract to create 1000 Doorstep Sport Clubs. These new style clubs run in areas of disadvantage and they are designed to attract young people who are not otherwise members of sports clubs or gyms.

Over 300 community organisations host Doorstep Sport Clubs. The hosts include many different types and sizes of community organisations. These hosts have multiple primary purposes. Some are sports organisations, some are youth clubs,  some are housing associations and others are community centres. The clubs operate in community halls, car parks, beaches, youth clubs, MUGAs and leisure centres. DSC participant play all kinds of sports.

The Doorstep Sport Clubs programme researched young people’s views of themselves, of their lives and their attitudes to being active. Then DSC hosts mapped that insight onto their neighbourhood’s assets and opportunities. They worked with their neighbourhood’s young people to create an activity offer that the young people felt was just about right…it was at the right time, in the right place, at the right price, in the right style and it involved the right people.

View the learning from the Doorstep Sport Club programme here

Over the next couple of months, we will produce summary papers on the most important lessons.


We have divided the learning and insight from the DSC programme into eight sections.

  1. Knowing the Customer: the lifestyles and priorities of disadvantaged young people and their attitudes to being active
  2. Delivering the Insight: the ‘Five Rights’ of Doorstep Sport
  3. Growing the potential of Sport for Good: outcomes and connectivity with stakeholders from beyond the sports sector
  4. Growing young people’s leadership, volunteering and social action ‘know-how’
  5. Doorstep Sport, Pop-Up Clubs and legacy from Grand Events, The Vibrant and Varied Offer
  6. Providing equal opportunities for girls and young women (also see section 3 regarding girls’ empowerment)
  7. Changing StreetGames – how the network approach enhances large scale programme delivery
  8. Sustainability of sport for disadvantaged young people: the local and the national pictures. 

Programme results

Towards the end of its four year life, in April 2017,  the £20m Doorstep Sport Club programme is on budget and on track to engage over 100,000 14-25 year olds.

  • All provision takes place in, or very close to, England's most deprived communities. About 65% of participants live in the top 20% of deprived neighbourhoods in England. 86% live in the top 40% of deprived lower super output areas where most families receive an income-related benefit.
  • Our approach, ‘Doorstep Sport’, reaches disadvantaged communities and young people who do not use leisure centres or join traditional sports clubs.
  • Doorstep Sport is attractive to 12-25 year olds:
    • Over 96,000 individual participants aged 14-25 years have been engaged between March 2013 and December 2016. This is on target to reach 100,000 by the end of the programme
    • 67% are male, 33% female (in the CLUB1 sub-set of DSCs 54% are female)
    • 32% are BAME
    • 5% disclosed a disability
    • Once the youngsters come along regularly, they tend to stick. 37% of participants attended sessions for more than seven months. Allowing for participants who never settle in a DSC (those who came less than four times), that number rises to 58%.
    • 69% told us that they were taking part in sport more regularly since coming to their DSC sessions. View the participant survey results here.
    • The 2015 survey of DSC participants showed that 65% only take part in sport and activities at their DSC and at their educational establishment
    • DSCs were each funded for 3 years. A survey undertaken in Year 4 of the programme (2016/17), indicated that of those DSCs whose funding was due to come to an end at the conclusion of Year 3 (2015/16), 70% were continuing to deliver through a mix of other grants or using reserves and underspends.
    • At the start of the programme, many hosts were used to working only with people aged 14 or under. Hosts have since widened the age range they cater for. Now the programme is on track to meet the 100,000 target for 14-25 year old participants.  A further 25,000 under 14s have joined in. Hosts have figured out how to attract and retain the older teenagers.

You can make a difference

Sport brings huge benefits to young people’s lives. Even a small donation helps us to make those benefits available to our most disadvantaged communities.

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