StreetGames are marking the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) this April 6th by supporting the first anniversary of the #OpenGoal campaign.
#OpenGoal has been shaped by StreetGames and fellow members of the Sport for Development Coalition to showcase how sport and physical activity can contribute to building a fairer, more equitable and sustainable future. In particular, it focuses on how the 400-plus members of the Coalition specifically support a series of positive health and societal outcomes such as reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, and building stronger communities and social cohesion.
IDSDP takes place each year on April 6th and, according to the United Nations, presents “an opportunity to recognise the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe” – a theme that resonates particularly strongly in 2023 because of the cost-of-living crisis which has followed the Covid-19 pandemic, and continued conflict and displacement around the globe.
First and foremost, #OpenGoal will see the Coalition call on UK Government to ringfence funding committed for jobs, health and tackling crime towards targeted sport-based interventions that can save public money and generate multiple returns on investment, from improving the physical and mental health of individuals facing disadvantage and discrimination, to increasing educational attainment and the ability to secure employment.
A good example of this is the £5million Youth Justice Sport Fund created by the Ministry of Justice in November 2022, and co-ordinated by StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice on behalf of the Coalition. More than 200 community-based organisations have received funding through the MoJ initiative, offering a range of exciting activities from BMX to boxing.
Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames, said: “At StreetGames, we know that sport is about far more than physical fitness and that often those who would most benefit from sport do not have the opportunity to play. Our research shows that for young people at risk of becoming involved in crime, effectively delivered Doorstep Sport can have a transformational impact on their lives – developing skills, connecting them with diverse, trusted role models, and providing a safe space and sense of belonging. Ongoing engagement in sport and volunteering can support young people onto positive pathways and help to keep them and their communities safe.”
#OpenGoal will see the Coalition work across multiple sectors, for example by working with partners to secure more private sector and corporate investment into targeted programmes tackling the social issues faced by young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK.
Finally, #OpenGoal will champion sport’s role in tackling inequalities and building a fairer society through national and local media, helping to amplify the business case for scaled investment in targeted sport and physical activity-based interventions.
To find out more, follow @SFDCoalition #OpenGoal on Twitter or visit https://www.sportfordevelopmentcoalition.org/open-goal-framework