Sport’s Impact on Youth Offending: ‘Getting On Track’ Report Calls for Policy Action

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Sport’s Impact on Youth Offending: ‘Getting On Track’ Report Calls for Policy Action

Political parties must prioritise the contribution of sport and physical activity if they are genuinely committed to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively, according to new research published today.

In its new report ‘Getting On Track’, the Sport for Development Coalition says the Government could and should be trusting and utilising more specialist organisations embedded within local communities to maximise the return on its investment into reducing youth offending and re-offending.

Furthermore at a national level, policy-makers must focus on helping to strengthen partnership working between the youth justice and sport sectors in order to address the inconsistencies in existing structures, and fully capitalise on the contribution that sport can make to society.

Getting On Track is based on learning and evaluation from the Youth Justice Sport Fund, a £5million fund from the Ministry of Justice which was managed and distributed to 218 local partners across England Wales throughout early 2023 by Coalition partners StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice.

Produced in collaboration by three Universities, it is the third report in a series underpinning the Coalition’s #OpenGoal framework, and includes five key recommendations aimed at maximising the contribution of sport for development to policy priorities and helping to stem spiralling public costs.

Hitesh Patel, Executive Director of the Sport for Development Coalition, said:

“We’re pleased to publish this third report in the #OpenGoal series and, on behalf of the many Coalition partners focused on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, look forward to working with DCMS, the Ministry of Justice and other arms of Government to maximise the contribution of sport and physical activity to reducing youth offending and re-offending, and the mounting public costs associated with it.”

Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames, commented:

“This report clearly demonstrates the positive impact on vulnerable young people of appropriately delivered sport and physical activity. Local interventions work. When designed with the evidence of what works by trusted adults in trusted community settings they develop pro-social behaviours and reduce anti-social and criminal behaviours. It is another piece in the jigsaw, creating the picture of how sport for development delivers individual and social impact.”

James Mapstone, CEO of the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, added:

“As a Board member of the Coalition and a partner in this initiative, I’m proud to see our collective efforts leading to greater support for the sector and reinforcing the role of physical activity and sport as effective tools for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. Together we will continue advocating for these transformative approaches to be integral, not optional, in crime reduction strategies.”

Dr Haydn Morgan, speaking on behalf of the research team drawn from the University of Bath, Loughborough University and Royal Holloway University of London, said:

“This report adds further weight to the significant evidence base that demonstrates the impactful role that sport and physical activity can have on crime and anti-social outcomes. It also demonstrates the clear benefits of connecting academics with policy-makers and practitioners to develop cost-effective solutions to addressing social challenges through sport and physical activity.”

The five recommendations in the report specifically call on policy-makers to:

  1. Invest in the professional development and wellbeing of the workforce and prioritise staff retention
  2. Utilise trusted specialist organisations to maximise the return on investment
  3. Strengthen partnership working between the youth justice and sport sectors to address the inconsistency and fragmentation in existing structures
  4. Support and empower organisations to commit to this work in the long term, to be agile and responsive to identified need, and exercise autonomy in their resource allocation
  5. Facilitate the meaningful involvement of beneficiaries and experts by experience

The report also includes a series of practical and achievable next steps based on partnership working – for example through the Government’s recently-formed National Physical Activity Taskforce; workforce development; and the meaningful involvement of beneficiaries and experts by lived experience.

Hitesh added: “We invite policy-makers, funding bodies and practitioners to consider these recommendations, and welcome the opportunity to work together with partners on how best to implement them in a meaningful and impactful way.”

Read the report: ‘Getting On Track: Reducing Youth Offending and Re-offending Through Sport and Physical Activity’

£300,000 Funding Boost for Community Sport Programmes Supporting Young People at Risk of Violence

Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit commissions community sport-based intervention projects through sport partner StreetGames

  • Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has provided £300,000 of investment for community sport through the Greater Manchester Violence Prevention Fund.
  • StreetGames are the VRU’s strategic sports partner and are responsible for commissioning organisations that can deliver against the VRU’s strategic sports plan.

The £300,000 investment will use community sport-based interventions to enhance positive outcomes for young people at risk of violence aged 10-25.

Eight organisations from across Greater Manchester have been commissioned, each receiving between £24,000 – £45,000: Abraham Moss Warriors, Bolton Lads and Girls Club, Bury Defence Academy, City in the Community, Stride UK, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Water Adventure Centre and Your Trust Rochdale.

Each will take a bespoke approach to the local area they are working in and the group of young people they are working with to ensure sustainability. Young people will have the opportunity to engage in sport, mentoring, leadership and volunteering based activities.

The funding will support vulnerable children and young people through addressing one or more of the Greater Manchester VRU strategic sport plan visions;

  • more sport in more places
  • more workforce with more competencies
  • more vulnerable children and young people referred and engaged

Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “Providing young people with opportunities to engage is positive activity is an effective way of preventing involvement with crime and violence. Sport is widely recognised as having a role in prevention and early intervention work with young people at risk of offending behaviour as it can help them to feel good about themselves, make positive choices and decisions, feel positively about their futures, and feel part of their community.

“Through the Violence Reduction Unit’s partnership with StreetGames we have already provided sport opportunities and interventions that enhance the quality of provision, shape future thinking and drive system sector change in Greater Manchester. The additional sport-based interventions we have funded will allow more vulnerable young people to access positive activities and receive the support they need.”

Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames, said: “This investment will make a real difference in the lives of young people across Greater Manchester, supporting local community sports organisations to deliver tailored support for hundreds of young people.

“We know that sport, delivered in the right way by the right people, can make a huge difference to young lives, not just in terms of mental and physical wellbeing but by providing support and mentoring for vulnerable young people who may be at risk of violence and exploitation.

“By giving young people more opportunities to take part in positive activity, these programmes are helping to keep communities safer and improve young lives through sport.”

Danny Schofield, Head of Play, Youth and Sport at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, said: “The Greater Manchester Violence Prevention Fund makes an amazing difference and is exactly what is needed. It helps us work together with vulnerable young people who need more support to develop their confidence, communication, and other skills.

“We see that sport is a really powerful way for many young people to start engaging and leads to many other opportunities and support that comes through taking part in sport and building trusted, consistent, positive relationships with coaches and youth work teams. More people are now seeing how powerful sport can be as an engagement and intervention tool and that’s fantastic for young people.”

Delivery has now started and will continue until March 2025.

Community safety is in StreetGames’ DNA

Community safety is in StreetGames’ DNA

Written by Stuart Felce – UK Director, Sport and Community Safety

 

The launch last week of the evaluation report for the Youth Justice Sport Fund (YJSF) made for hugely encouraging reading.

The fund managed by StreetGames, with support from the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and the Sport for Development Coalition is the first of its kind delivered by the Ministry of Justice, and forms part of the government’s wider £300m investment into youth justice services over the next three years. Launched in December 2022, the programme allocated £5 million across 220 trusted community organisations nationwide.

In total, the programme successfully engaged over 7,800 young people, with 82% of them coming from 40% most deprived areas, providing them with structured sports activities and additional personal development opportunities. Many of these young people also had additional vulnerabilities including being excluded from school, poor mental health and wellbeing, involvement in gangs, and other challenging life circumstances. It’s a great result for the programme, and a real validation of the idea that sport can be a powerful tool in supporting vulnerable young people to avoid the criminal justice system.

At StreetGames, we have long recognised that for young people who are at greater risk of offending, sport can provide a twin-track approach that prevents them entering the Youth Justice System and towards activities that build strengths, capacities and potential, whilst emphasising positive behaviours and outcomes. The opportunities for engagement and for ‘relationship building’, in and through sport, provide a valuable medium through which to offer this twin-track approach to empower young people to develop social capital and pro-social identities.

By connecting young people to their communities, and providing them with inspiring opportunities, StreetGames works to tackle boredom and alienation, to connect young people with trusted mentors and with each other, and to offer young people the chance to learn new skills, make new friends and grow in confidence. The highly-qualified tutors and local volunteers who deliver these programmes are deeply rooted in their local communities, and provide not only structure and expertise but living, breathing proof of the transformational power of sport –and empowering at-risk young people with a child centered approach that puts their needs at the heart of the offer. Our community safety programmes promote a child first, pro-social, preventative approach to youth crime and violence.

It’s an approach rooted in over 8 years of learning and best practice. Since 2015, StreetGames has been working to strengthen the links and relationships between the Criminal Justice and Community Sport sectors, to build evidence and understanding of how sport can play a more effective role in tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Working alongside academics at Loughborough University, several literature reviews were developed exploring the role sport can play in supporting vulnerable young people. The first literature review summary was published in 2019 and looked at why young people offend, the role of sport in promoting desistance and early interventions for young people at risk of offending, and was developed in order to facilitate shared understanding between partners who are working together to develop creative ways to harness the power of sport to bring about positive change in the lives of young people who may be at risk of offending or who have already begun to offend. A second review focused on early intervention and prevention — one of the four key themes within the Serious Violence Strategy — and summarised current evidence around the most appropriate and effective ways of utilizing sport in this context.

StreetGames’ core offer is Doorstep Sport, sport and physical activity delivered at the right time, in the right place, by the right people, in the right style and at the right price (usually free of charge). The successful application of Doorstep Sport can help people and communities to mitigate the effects of the multiple issues they face.

Our methodology for the delivery of that offer is to support and work alongside the Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs) that operate at the heart of underserved communities – the StreetGames network. These organisations are operated by the community, for the community, and have the respect and legitimacy to work with local people in a meaningful way.

In 2015, it was this approach that was used when Hardyal Dhindsa, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, created a two-year Sport and Crime Prevention programme. This Home Office-funded initiative mobilised eight other Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), as well as Network Rail – with StreetGames acting as the lead project management agent.

The programme also commissioned researchers from Loughborough University to evaluate and identify the critical success factors underpinning effective sport-based projects that contributed to community safety. Their goal was to create an evidence base that illustrated how sporting involvement can work to reduce youth offending and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

The project involved eight community organisations in the StreetGames network that piloted doorstep sport initiatives in their area.

–           Over 800 doorstep sport sessions were provided

–           Over 500 participants took part of which 69% were male. Most we aged 14-19 years

In the 5 pilot areas where relevant police data could be accessed, ASB rates saw a statistically significant fall in two of the localities, as well as a statistically insignificant drop in a further area Just as important, many of the participants reported that the projects had helped them to develop personally across a range of key factors, with 69% reporting they were more motivated to engage in activities now and 62% saying they are more confident and better able to communicate.

Since then, we’ve used this learning to develop similar community safety focused programmes right across the country, from Kent to Manchester. This growing body of best practice also fed into the Theory of Change, developed in partnership with Loughborough University which explains how sport can be used to enhance positive outcomes for young people in the context of serious youth violence.

Since the creation of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in 2019, StreetGames has worked to build mutually beneficial partnerships in a number of these locations including Greater Manchester, Cleveland, Thames Valley, West Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Essex, with more on the horizon!  The value attributed by VRUs, to StreetGames approach is the ability to understand the importance of community challenges and the value of taking a pro-social, preventative approach to intervention design and investment.  The alignment of these values has seen partnerships that blend together the vulnerabilities faced by young people, with the effective solutions offered by Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs) in those communities, to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system.

In addition, since 2020 StreetGames have acted as the Secretariat to create the PCC/VRU Sport and Serious Youth Violence Prevention Board.  Chaired by Steve Turner, PCC for Cleveland and joint national portfolio lead for all PCCs for Serious violence, the Board aims to bring together key national and regional stakeholders to build greater understanding and value when aiming to use sport to prevent youth crime and violence.  Taking a sector wide approach it acts as the key central platform, gathering key stakeholders to explore critical areas of focus including: strategic alignment and partnerships; evidence-based approaches to monitoring evaluation and learning (MEL); and investment and commissioning principles.

The YJSF is a fantastic achievement for the hundreds of community organisations – their coaches, leaders and volunteers who delivered this initiative, and another landmark step in the development of sports-based approached to community safety. We need to keep building on these successes and keep working towards the goal of ensuring a suitable sporting offer is available in every neighbourhood and community.

Youth Justice Sport Fund’s success offers lessons in engagement

Youth Justice Sport Fund’s success offers lessons in engagement

Young people today lead complex lives, and the reasons why some fall into crime or anti-social behaviour are also complex. Factors such as family relationships, poverty, lack of opportunities, and poor socialisation can all play a role. In addition, there are a range of theories which posit that the way we perceive, label and interact with young offenders or those at risk of offending can have a significant impact on their own mindsets and actions.

For young people who are at greater risk of offending, sport can provide a twin-track approach that prevents them from entering the Youth Justice System and towards activities that build strengths, capacities and potential whilst emphasising positive behaviours and outcomes. The opportunities for engagement and for ‘relationship building’, in and through sport, provide a valuable medium through which to offer this twin-track approach to empower young people to develop social capital and pro-social identities.

It is precisely this approach that has shaped the recent hugely successful intervention from the Ministry of Justice, the Youth Justice Sport Fund. Managed by The Youth Justice Sports Fund (YJSF) Consortium, which brought together StreetGames, The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, and was chaired by the Sport for Development Coalition, the consortium enabled the. investment of £5m supported 220 projects across England and Wales to use sport to enhance positive outcomes for vulnerable young people. The funding facilitated voluntary and community sports organisations to undertake targeted work supporting children and young people with a secondary level of need who are understood to be at risk of either entering the criminal justice system or being a victim of crime.

The aims of the programme were twofold:

Aim 1: Support vulnerable young people aged 10-17 at risk of involvement in crime, anti-social behaviour and serious violence through involvement in local sporting activities.

Aim 2: Build capacity and the capability of sport sector delivery organisations to work effectively with their local criminal justice partners, including Youth Justice Services, Police and Police Crime Commissioners (PCC)/Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) structures.

7,832 young people were involved in the programme, with a total of 68,741 attendances during the twelve-week period. An average of 36 young people engaged per organisation, although this varied between organisations. Of the young people engaged, 82% came from the most deprived communities within the bottom four IMD deciles. As the initial evaluation report clearly highlights, this programme demonstrated that a sport-plus approach offers more opportunities to undertake meaningful work with young people experiencing high levels of challenge in their lives and enabled staff to build a strong rapport with young people. It also enhances young people’s skills and knowledge and provides access to additional support.

This success was based on more than just sport; it relied on the extensive expertise of the organisations involved in coordinating the programme and the high levels of trust enjoyed by the local organisations delivering on the ground.

This experience ensured that some of the most influential characteristics of the fund were baked into delivery across the board. These included:

  • Ability to flex the original project plans to respond quickly to any unforeseen challenges and adapt their delivery to continue to meet the overall aims of the programme.
  • Autonomy to decide budget priorities to reach and engage the targeted young people in their projects.
  • A high level of trust was placed in organisations to deliver what was needed in their communities whilst meeting the expectations placed on funded projects.
  • The consistent and ongoing support offered to projects throughout the programme by the Consortium, including MEL support, enabled them to collect and report data that would previously have been impossible without a blend of financial support and guidance.
  • Underpinning the programme with the shared Theory of Change and clear expectations of projects made clear from the outset.

The ability to provide this level of flexibility to respond to local leads and to support the provision of meaningful MEL data was a critical success factor for the programme. Projects that were supported through the YJSF were able to demonstrate, at the point of application, that they were able to meet clearly articulated expectations on MEL, as well as the ability to effectively implement the different aspects of the Theory of Change, to engage young people with a secondary level of need. As a result, the 220 projects who received funding were in a great position to succeed.

That flexibility to design projects that they felt would be best suited to the targeted young people and to adapt projects if needed in response to the reality of the context they faced proved hugely important and underscores exactly why LTOs are best placed to carry out this kind of work. Their natural agility, combined with the strong trust they already enjoy in local communities, means they can reach the young people that others find hard to reach and engage them on their own terms.

The tremendous success of the YJSF, and the incredible speed with which it was effectively rolled out and delivered, should be taken as demonstrable evidence of the power of sport, the effectiveness of trusted sporting organisations and the role that sport and physical activity can play in supporting vulnerable young people towards personal growth and development.

Youth Justice Sport Fund Programme Harnesses Sport to Empower At-Risk Young People

Youth Justice Sport Fund Programme Harnesses Sport to Empower At-Risk Young People

A £5 million programme funded by the Ministry of Justice has been proven to effectively support young people at risk of falling into the criminal justice system.

The Youth Justice Sport Fund was established to utilise sport as a powerful tool to engage at-risk young people, diverting them from crime and antisocial behaviour. Launched in December 2022, the programme allocated £5 million across 220 trusted community organisations nationwide. Now, the evaluation report has proved the programme a success, providing evidence that shows the programme effectively engaged at risk young people and helped to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

The fund managed by StreetGames, with support from the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and the Sport for Development Coalition is the first of its kind delivered by the Ministry of Justice, and forms part of the government’s wider £300m investment into youth justice services over the next three years.

With the publication of the Youth Justice Sport Fund evaluation report, there are fresh calls for even greater use of innovative sports-based early intervention approaches for young people in a way that can help prevent the cycle of offending, minimise the long-term impact of criminal behaviour and support young people to find positive pathways. The report highlights that sport, when provided in a safe, supportive environment, gives young people a sense of belonging, and exposes them to a diverse array of positive role models.

The programme successfully engaged over 7,800 young people, with 82% of them coming from 40% most deprived areas, providing them with structured sports activities and additional personal development opportunities.

77 of the 220 participating organisations had an annual turnover of less than £100,000 and 63% of the hours delivered by participating organisations were dedicated to mentoring and other ‘sport plus’ activities that help delivery staff build a strong rapport with young people and accelerate their personal development.

The report goes on to make a number of recommendations including –

  1. Learn from the successful delivery of the YJSF programme, particularly the Consortium approach and support provided by StreetGames, to effectively engage vulnerable youth in sport and sport-plus projects.
  2. Base future investment decisions on principles of trust, collaboration, and high expectations, considering organisations’ ability to meet expectations, provide monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) data, and engage young people with secondary-level needs.
  3. Recognise and involve young people in the programme by celebrating their participation and providing opportunities for their formal engagement in evaluation and decision-making processes for future programs.
  4. Support project flexibility in designing and adapting initiatives to suit the specific needs of targeted young people while upholding the principles of the StreetGames Theory of Change.
  5. Maintain and leverage regional and national networks established through the programme to facilitate effective sharing of best practices and ongoing relationships.

Alan Webster, Deputy Director for Youth Justice, Ministry of Justice said: “Prevention is the principal aim of the youth justice system, and we know the impact that physical activity can have in helping people make more positive choices in their lives. That’s why we created the Youth Justice Sport Fund, the first time Government has invested in sports as a diversionary route for children and young people at this scale and we are incredibly proud of the fund and its achievements. Almost 8,000 children have accessed activities that may not have been available to them, learning new skills and gaining qualifications along the way. We will continue to explore innovative ways sports can be used to support children at risk of being involved in crime and anti-social behaviour”.

Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames said: “Through the Youth Justice Sport Fund, we have witnessed the powerful impact of investing in sport to support vulnerable young people, reducing their risk of involvement in crime and victimisation and helping them to develop a pro-social identity. It is crucial to intervene early and engage at-risk youth to prevent them entering a cycle of offending behaviour and to support them to make positive life choices. . The success of the programme was rooted in the collaborative efforts between national and local sport sector organisations and national and local criminal justice partners, emphasising the immense potential for future collaborations across sectors.”

Hitesh Patel, Executive Director of the Sport for Development Coalition, added: “The Sport for Development Coalition thanks the Ministry of Justice, StreetGames, the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, and of course the 220 community-based organisations who united to deliver the Youth Justice Sport Fund so effectively across England and Wales.

This report provides powerful evidence of the value of investing in proven sports-based early intervention schemes. This can achieve a significant impact across multiple policy priorities for the Government, which in turn can help to save public costs in the long term – as demonstrated by the Coalition’s #OpenGoal framework.

Ahead of the publication of a new nationwide sports strategy, we encourage all arms of Government to collaborate with the Coalition and its partners to deliver effective early-intervention schemes that could help lighten the load on the public purse.”

James Mapstone, CEO of the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice said: “It was a pleasure to work alongside StreetGames, the Sport for Development Coalition and other partners and we are delighted that project has resulted in such positive outcomes for young people and the community sport organisations who support them.

The Alliance of Sport’s purpose is to build a better and safer society through the effective use of sport and physical activity, so we are delighted that this project has been able to strengthen the evidence base and advance the case for sport’s role in crime prevention.”

Reflecting on the Youth Justice Sport Fund

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Reflecting on the Youth Justice Sport Fund

Written by Stuart Felce, UK Director, Sport and Community Safety

This month saw the conclusion of the first ever Youth Justice Sport Fund programme, designed to use sport as a way to engage at-risk young people in a way that can help to steer them away from crime and antisocial behaviour.

Launched in December of 2022, the programme delivered £5 million spread across 220 trusted community organisations around the country, along with training and support, to deliver projects that combined accessible sport and physical activity with wraparound support for young people to help them build confidence, connect with trusted mentors and develop pro-social attitudes that can set them on the right path for the long term. The fund is the first of its kind delivered by the Ministry of Justice, and has been co-ordinated by StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport for Criminal Justice, with the support of the Sport for Development Coalition.

The primary target of this intervention was what is known as the “secondary cohort” of at-risk young people aged 10-17 across England and Wales. Secondary prevention supports children and young people who could be considered to be at risk of entering the justice system due to particularly challenging circumstances or additional vulnerabilities. This includes those at risk of school exclusion, those experiencing complex safeguarding issues, and those identified by the police as being at-risk, or already being involved in anti-social behaviour, as well as a more targeted approach to young people who are at-risk as a result of the area where they live, i.e. those living in areas with high rates of youth crime or in the bottom 20% for deprivation, where children are at greater risk of being perpetrators or victims. Targeted interventions provide more intense support for young people at the most risk and, as such are necessary. They require trained, skilled staff and suitably equipped organisations to be effective.

With the first programme now drawing to a close, we’re excited to find out more over the coming months about how projects have approached the challenge and the impact it has made in local communities. But what is already clear is that some of the most at-risk young people across the country have received support that is tailored to their needs and has begun to give them the skills and mentoring they need to build a pro-social identity, recognise the control they have over their own choices and behaviours, and begin to really think about what they can achieve in the long term.

It’s a sad but undeniable fact that young people living in low income, underserved communities face real challenges and are more at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of youth crime. Sports-based interventions can help break this cycle and provide the support and mentoring that young people need. Sport, provided in a safe, supportive environment, gives young people a sense of belonging, and exposes them to diverse, positive role models. It builds confidence, teaches new skills, and perhaps most importantly it offers these young people a safe space to go, with trusted mentors who can give them the support they need and which too many of them aren’t getting elsewhere.

As we celebrate the UN Day of Sport for Development and Peace, it is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the real difference we can make when access to sport is opened to all, and the role sport itself can play in helping young people to develop their full potential, build lasting relationships, and learn to see themselves as a part of something bigger in a way that can help them find their place in their community and their society.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2023 & #OpenGoal

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2023 & #OpenGoal

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

Building partnerships in Plymouth to tackle youth crime and poverty

Building partnerships in Plymouth to tackle youth crime and poverty

A citywide programme of sport and physical activity in Plymouth is helping to support vulnerable children from low-income families at risk of being drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour to stay out of trouble and develop skills for the future.

The programme is being delivered locally by local sport groups, supported by with StreetGames in partnership with the Plymouth Drake Foundation’s Plymouth Children in Poverty initiative (PCIP), a charity whose mission is to eradicate the social injustice, ill-health and misery caused by child poverty in Plymouth.

This new funding will support community organisations across Plymouth to run programmes designed to steer young people away from law-breaking and into positive activities aimed at teaching teamwork, resilience and discipline. The programme builds on the success of last year’s pilot that saw StreetGames work with community partners in Plymouth to tackle the twin issues of boredom and alienation – leading causes of petty criminality and anti-social behaviour. The programme saw highly-qualified tutors and hand-picked local sports volunteers provide not only structure and expertise, but living, breathing proof of the transformational power of Doorstep Sport.

Sessions were designed to provide participants with the chance to develop themselves, and feedback from the project confirmed that many of the young people involved grew in confidence over the course of the programme, trying new activities and even leading activities themselves.

Kerry Bidewell, PCIP Development Manager, said “Generational poverty is an incredibly hard cycle to break and by working together we are so much stronger and we will disrupt the poor outcomes that poverty inevitability creates; PCiP and StreetGames are enabling children and young people in Plymouth to create a better future for themselves.”

Graham Helm, StreetGames National Partnerships Manager, said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Plymouth Children in Poverty to deliver this ambitious new programme for young people to engage in Doorstep Sport. The funding is a vote of confidence in the power of sport to provide young people in Plymouth with a positive pathway and to help prevent them from falling into the criminal justice system.”

Deputy Prime Minister: Sport has vital role to play in ‘turning young lives around’

Building partnerships in Plymouth to tackle youth crime and poverty

A citywide programme of sport and physical activity in Plymouth is helping to support vulnerable children from low-income families at risk of being drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour to stay out of trouble and develop skills for the future.

The programme is being delivered locally by local sport groups, supported by with StreetGames in partnership with the Plymouth Drake Foundation’s Plymouth Children in Poverty initiative (PCIP), a charity whose mission is to eradicate the social injustice, ill-health and misery caused by child poverty in Plymouth.

This new funding will support community organisations across Plymouth to run programmes designed to steer young people away from law-breaking and into positive activities aimed at teaching teamwork, resilience and discipline. The programme builds on the success of last year’s pilot that saw StreetGames work with community partners in Plymouth to tackle the twin issues of boredom and alienation – leading causes of petty criminality and anti-social behaviour. The programme saw highly-qualified tutors and hand-picked local sports volunteers provide not only structure and expertise, but living, breathing proof of the transformational power of Doorstep Sport.

Sessions were designed to provide participants with the chance to develop themselves, and feedback from the project confirmed that many of the young people involved grew in confidence over the course of the programme, trying new activities and even leading activities themselves.

Kerry Bidewell, PCIP Development Manager, said “Generational poverty is an incredibly hard cycle to break and by working together we are so much stronger and we will disrupt the poor outcomes that poverty inevitability creates; PCiP and StreetGames are enabling children and young people in Plymouth to create a better future for themselves.”

Graham Helm, StreetGames National Partnerships Manager, said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Plymouth Children in Poverty to deliver this ambitious new programme for young people to engage in Doorstep Sport. The funding is a vote of confidence in the power of sport to provide young people in Plymouth with a positive pathway and to help prevent them from falling into the criminal justice system.”

New sports fund to tackle youth crime

New sports fund to tackle youth crime

Thousands of young people at risk of becoming involved in crime will be put back on the right track thanks to a new £5 million fund for crime-cutting sports schemes.

Charities across England and Wales will be able to bid for new money to run programmes designed to steer young people away from law-breaking and into positive activities aimed at teaching teamwork, resilience and discipline.

While the number of young people in custody remains at a record low, statistics show around 80 per cent of prolific adult offenders begin committing crimes as children – with the economic and social costs of reoffending costing the taxpayer an estimated £18 billion per year.

This new funding builds on the Government’s work to catch and prevent youth offending earlier than ever – helping to prevent these young people becoming involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.

Earlier this year, the Deputy Prime Minister announced the biggest funding package in a generation to tackle youth offending and cut crime, including £60 million for early intervention.

The new funding also delivers on the commitment made in the Prisons Strategy White Paper – published in December last year – to introduce further measures for early intervention to cut youth crime, keep streets safe and create fewer victims.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: 

“I have seen first-hand how local sports projects can transform the lives of young people from tough backgrounds, getting them off the streets and teaching them life skills including teamwork, discipline, and resilience.

“That’s why we’re investing £5 million in innovative sporting schemes up and down the country. It is part of our £300 million investment to support every council across England and Wales in catching and preventing youth offending earlier than ever, making our streets safer.”

Charities and organisations wanting to deliver the sports programmes will be able to bid for the money – with hundreds of organisations expected to benefit from the funding.

StreetGames will work with the Ministry of Justice, along with consortium partners the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and the Sport for Development Coalition, to oversee the application process and delivery of the funding.

Stuart Felce, StreetGames Director of Sport and Community Safety, said:

“We’re really excited to be partnering with the Sport for Development Coalition and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice to deliver this ambitious new programme from the Ministry of Justice.

“These funds are a vote of confidence in the power of sport to provide young people with a positive pathway and to help prevent them from falling into the criminal justice system.”

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