£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.

Us Girls East London Is Go!

Us Girls East London Is Go!

StreetGames Us Girls receives Doorstep Sport Investment to bridge Gender Gap in Activity Levels.

StreetGames has announced a major boost for its Us Girls programme in London, with a substantial funding injection of over £50,000. The Us Girls East London Programme seeks to address the persistent gender gap in sport and physical activity participation for women and girls – especially those living in underserved or ‘left behind’ communities.

If you’re a girl living in an underserved community, you’re 3 times less likely to be able to access opportunities to be active than if you’re a boy living in a more affluent neighbourhood. For years, the StreetGames Us Girls programme has been at the forefront of efforts to elevate participation rates in sport and physical activity among those identifying as girls or young women.

#FunFitnessFriends is our tagline, and it perfectly demonstrates the ethos of what Us Girls is all about. Lots of the ‘inactive’ girls we talk to who don’t see themselves as ‘sporty’ tell us that being active, having fun and feeling fit and strong with their friends is their ideal Doorstep Sport opportunity.

The newly secured investment will give young women and girls in Hackney & Tower Hamlets somewhere to go, something to do and inspirational people to talk to. The funds will create 2,800 new Doorstep Sport opportunities that will help the girls to get up, get out and get active in their own community.

The StreetGames Us Girls programme has long been dedicated to understanding and overcoming the barriers faced by young women and girls in accessing and enjoying physical activities. This mission is further endorsed by partners such as Sport England, Sport Wales, Women in Sport, Youth Sport Trust, London Youth, and numerous academic researchers. There are several great resources on the Us Girls section of the StreetGames website that can support locally trusted organisations to design and deliver an Us Girls Sport & Physical Activity programme that would be attractive to young women and girls living in underserved communities.

Us Girls – StreetGames

Research indicates that 59% of girls aged 12-14 express dissatisfaction with their current level of physical activity. The desire and unmet demand for Doorstep Sport opportunities is evident, underscoring the necessity for accessible and inviting local opportunities. The StreetGames London Us Girls programme, will collaborate with Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs) to establish secure and enjoyable Doorstep sport provision for young women and girls, with the overarching goal of nurturing a sense of belonging, empowerment, and positive physical and mental health outcomes. Local coaches, volunteers and young ‘Us Girls Community Champions’ will also receive training and resources to enhance their capacity to engage and support young individuals to help them to become active, healthier, safer, and more successful in life.


“At StreetGames, we’re delighted to announce significant funding for our Us Girls programme. This investment reinforces our commitment to addressing the gender gap in sports and physical activity, ensuring that young women have access to inclusive and inviting local opportunities that promote positive physical and mental well-being. We look forward to partnering with local organisations and stakeholders to make a lasting impact.”

James Gregory, Area Director – London and South East


For further information and updates on the Us Girls programme and StreetGames’ initiatives, please visit StreetGames’ official website. www.streetgames.org to keep up to speed with progress, follow @streetgameslondon on Instagram, Or email Lyndsey.phillips@streetgames.org

1,000 Voices

StreetGames chief warns of health time bomb as cost-of-living crisis worsens inequality in youth sport

  • Family finances top the list of worries for under 25s in lower-income households
  • Almost two in five not taking part in sport because they can’t afford it
  • Over one third (35%) say the cost-of-living crisis has negatively impacted how much they take part in physical activity

New research revealed today by StreetGames, the UK charity that aims to transform the lives of young people in low-income, underserved communities through sport and physical activity, paints an alarming picture. Over one third (35%) of those polled state that the cost-of-living crisis has had a negative impact on how much they take part in sport and exercise, whilst not being able to afford it was named the top barrier to taking part — cited by 39% of those surveyed.

Meanwhile, 40% named their or their family’s finances and the cost-of-living as their number one worry, ahead of concerns about school or college (39%) and their mental health (35%).

There is broad awareness amongst young people of the wide range of benefits — physical, social, and mental — that exercise brings, but only 25% of young people in lower-income households spend their spare time playing sport, despite as many as 72% say they enjoy taking part.

Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames said: “We’re sitting on a physical and mental health time bomb. As a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis, not enough young people in lower-income households are getting the opportunity to take part in sport in their spare time, despite three-quarters of them telling us they would like to do more. We need urgent action.”

Whilst activity costs are clearly the main barrier, they are not the only issue — the cost of travel, concerns about not having the right kit or equipment, anxieties about how ‘sporty’ they consider themselves to be and feeling self-conscious, all prevent young people from doing sport and physical activity.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rectifying the issue, and it’s important to listen directly to young people to better understand their feelings and motivations. Seven youth segments have emerged from the research that capture the motivators, barriers, and associated emotions that young people experience in relation to sport.

From those who play sport to release stress to those who would love to do more, but anxiety and self-confidence holds them back, the segments are essential to understanding how to get young people active and address inequality of access — a personalised and collaborative approach is a must.

StreetGames CEO Mark Lawrie added: “We fully support Sport England, Sport Wales and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport who have both prioritised the need to tackle inequalities. We’re calling for the government and policy makers to accelerate their ambitions and ensure that public funding directly strengthens the capacity of local communities to deliver affordable and accessible sport and physical activity on the doorstep of those who need it most. We want to see clear accountability to ensure the strategy delivers.”

Unfairly missing out goes beyond the physical and mental health benefits that sport brings. These young people are missing the chance to develop crucial life skills like teamwork and confidence, which will have huge human and economic ramifications.

Getting this right has the potential to significantly benefit many areas of society and wider public policy. Investing in community sport has been shown to deliver a four-fold benefit — every £1 spent generates nearly £4 in return across health and wellbeing, strengthening communities and the economy.

The research provides recommendations on how best to rectify this inequality, and those looking for more information or advice can head to www.streetgames.org.

1,000 reasons to put sport front and centre

1,000 reasons to put sport front and centre

Written by Mark Lawrie – CEO of StreetGames

At StreetGames, we believe that sport can be a pathway for every young person to reach their best selves. The best part of my job is meeting so many brilliant young people – confident, talented, inspirational – and hearing them talk about how it all started with that first kick or throw of the ball. It’s hugely affirming to hear so many stories about the difference sport has made to a young person’s life and the opportunities that have opened up as a result of them getting involved.

But if it’s important to listen to those successes, it’s even more important to hear those young people when they come to us with a warning. And our new survey of 1,000 young people is sending a clear SOS signal when it comes to access to sport and physical activity, revealing that almost two in five young people in underserved communities are not taking part in sport because they can’t afford it.

In order to better understand the key issues and the similarities and differences amongst young people from lower income households, StreetGames commissioned Platypus Research to undertake a segmentation study. This included undertaking a survey with 1,000 young people aged 11-24 years and a qualitative on-line forum to gather further insight and ‘sense check’ the segments created.

The end result is a concerning snapshot of the challenges young people from lower income households are facing right now, and a valuable insight into their differing motivations and feelings about participation in sport and physical activity.

Tragically yet unsurprisingly, the ongoing cost of living crisis hangs heavy over the heads of too many young people. Over a third (35%) say the cost-of-living crisis has negatively impacted how much they take part in physical activity.This figure is especially high amongst those with caring responsibilities with half saying they do less, whilst also being significantly higher than average for those who are neurodivergent and/or have a physical disability. The persistent gender gap in sport participation was also evident, with girls more likely to report feeling anxious or self-conscious around sport.

We believe that access to sport and its benefits are a right and not a privilege. But the message coming loud and clear from these young people is that access to sport and physical activity opportunities are not equal for everyone. If you grow up in a low-income, underserved community your opportunities to play sport and be active are either limited or non-existent.  And while the most recent national surveys show a return to pre-pandemic activity levels for many, this is not the case amongst the least affluent where inactivity levels remain high and inequalities have widened. Today, just 42% of children and young people from low-affluence families are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for physical activity – a statistic which has serious implications for the future health and well-being of these young people. Our failure to provide a sporting offer that suits the needs of all young people has left us sitting on a public health time bomb.

Whilst only a quarter of young people specifically said that they spend their spare time playing sport, it was also clear that there is a strong appetite for building more sport and physical activity into their lives and an appreciation of the physical, social and mental benefits that taking part can bring. 72% said that they enjoy taking part and 75% want to do more. The message is clear: build the right offer, and they will come.

From those polled, seven youth segments have emerged that capture the motivators, barriers, and associated emotions that young people experience in relation to sport. From those who lack confidence around getting involved, to those who find sport and physical activity a great outlet for letting off steam and easing stress, these segments offer us the clearest picture yet on how to develop an offer which can cater directly to the young people’s disparate needs. These needs are essential to understand when seeking ways to address this inequality of access. A nuanced, person-centred approach is a must.

This widening activity gap has not gone unreported or unnoticed. Sport England’s latest Active Lives survey and Sport Wales’ latest Activity Tracker Survey shows that while activity levels in general have begun returning to pre-pandemic levels, the gap between those from lower socio-economic groups and those living in the most deprived areas and the rest is only getting worse. The UK is also lagging internationally, with National Sector Partners Group recently revealing that we rank 12th out of 15 comparable European nations for physical activity.

 It’s also a gap that the Government acknowledges in its new Sports Strategy, which includes welcome new targets for increasing sport and physical activity – with ambitions to activate 1 million more children and young people and 1.4 million more adults in low income households.

Also heartening is the new report from the Centre for Social Justice, Game Changer: A plan to transform young lives through sport – which recognizes the deeper value of sport, particularly the role it can play in both reducing crime and protecting young people from it. We look forward to supporting any opportunity to bring to life the findings in the report that continue to champion the role of Doorstep sport being delivered at the heart of communities by locally trusted organisations.

Understanding these young people is the first step in addressing their needs, but it is just that – a first step. It is incumbent on all of us in the sport sector and beyond to apply this understanding collaboratively in the way that we support the development and provision of sport and physical activity. At StreetGames, we’re committed to turning this knowledge into action – through workforce training, testing and learning and the provision of support and tailored offers to the local organisations these young people trust. This insight helps us more clearly understand the complex and changing attitudes of a range of young people and allow us to better deliver on their needs. We are committed, as a key part of our strategy, to supporting NGBs and the wider sports sector to have a better understanding of young people living in low-income communities, the variety of feeling towards sport within this group, and how they could expand their offers and enhance communication to better meet their needs as well as sharing learning on successes so that others can replicate and scale offers that really work in supporting more young people to be active.

We believe this new research provides essential knowledge of where young people are at right now when it comes to sport and physical activity, and offers a pathway towards a better, more bespoke offer that can help bring activity levels in underserved communities back up towards the national average. It’s never been more important to listen to young people’s voices. They have the answers we need to defuse this ticking time bomb – provided that policymakers and the wider sport sector are prepared to hear them.

Empowering Diverse Youth: The Cherry Tree Project

Empowering Diverse Youth: The Cherry Tree Project

Written by Chloe Schneider – Digital Communications Officer


The Cherry Tree Project is a community organisation based in Stockport and is a proud member of the StreetGames network; as a youth-led community group, they support young people by hosting weekly sessions and holiday activities. The Cherry Tree Project has become an integral part of the local community by providing a safe and inclusive space for personal growth and exploration. The vital work they did to support young people led them to participate in the original StreetGames Yoginis Yoga & Mindfulness pilot, which funded staff members to undergo training in Yoginis yoga and mindfulness. The Cherry Tree Project took what they had learned to empower diverse young individuals aged 14 to 20 by providing them with a safe and inclusive space for personal growth and exploration.

The project’s first programme catered to a group called Bio, comprising non-binary youths, several with mental health challenges, and a few who identified as neurodiverse. The positive impact of the initial programme led to its extension by a month at the request of the enthusiastic participants. The findings and research from this pilot have contributed to understanding the broader context of youth empowerment through yoga and mindfulness.

The Cherry Tree Project recognises the importance of addressing young people’s mental health and well-being. Many participants had experienced social isolation or faced mental health issues while attending mainstream education. The project aimed to create an inclusive environment where young people with various backgrounds and identities could come together, support each other, and feel safe to express themselves. This diverse group included individuals with physical disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and a young transgender man. The safe and supportive atmosphere offered by the project allowed these young individuals to explore their identities and develop self-awareness through yoga practice.

The Cherry Tree Project has actively addressed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through comprehensive training jointly delivered by Manchester’s Public Health and the StreetGames training team.
Recognising the importance of understanding and mitigating the impacts of ACEs, the Cherry Tree Project took a proactive approach to equip their staff with the knowledge and skills needed to support young individuals who may have experienced adversity.

Throughout the pilot, the Cherry Tree Project witnessed significant positive changes among the young participants. Through the empowering environment created by yoga and mindfulness practices, participants reported improved mental well-being, enhanced self-esteem, and increased self-awareness. Moreover, the programme received acclaim for its ability to address the needs of neurodiverse individuals, providing them with a space to embrace their unique identities and experiences.

As we reflect on the success of the Cherry Tree Project’s Yoga & Mindfulness Pilot, it’s evident that they’ve achieved the pilot’s objectives and aligned with the broader goals of the StreetGames network. By empowering diverse young people and fostering a sense of belonging and self-discovery, this initiative exemplifies the transformative power of Yoginis yoga and mindfulness in supporting young people’s empowerment and mental health. The Cherry Tree Project’s accomplishments serve as a model for future programmes aimed at uplifting and empowering diverse youth populations, aligning with StreetGames’ ultimate mission of empowering young people through physical activity.


National Sector Partner Group Pledge Launch

National Sector Partner Group Pledge Launch

The UK lags behind European neighbours on activity as sector bodies unite in drive to make the UK the most active nation in Europe.

  • The UK currently ranks joint 12th out of 15 comparable European nations for levels of physical activity
  • Community sport, recreation and physical activity currently saves the NHS £9.5 billion every year by preventing illness
  • Today, Parliamentarians from leading bodies across the sport, recreation and physical activity sector are launching a new pledge to make the UK the most physically active nation in Europe.

The leading bodies for the sport, recreation and physical activity sector have today (13 September) made an urgent call to the main political parties and their leaders to pledge to make the UK the most active nation in Europe.

The latest evidence from the Sport and Recreation Alliance [insert link] shows that the UK ranks joint 12th out of 15 comparable European nations for levels of physical activity. The UK is also ranked as the third highest spender on healthcare costs caused by inactivity and only 9th in overall wellbeing.

Today’s call builds on the July 2022 report, Unlocking the Potential, published by the group, which is made up of Active Partnerships, the Local Government Association, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, the Sport for Development Coalition, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive, and the Youth Sport Trust.

The report highlights a number of potential policy interventions that could provide the conditions for the sector to grow. These include:

  • Deeper collaboration between Government departments, agencies and the sector
  • Development of a strong and consistent evidence base for importance of physical activity
  • More and better targeted investment
  • Bold and ambitious policy reform.

This morning, Parliamentarians from across the House joined representatives from the group to launch a new pledge to make the UK the most physically active nation in Europe.

The pledge highlights that community sport, recreation and physical activity currently saves the NHS £9.5 billion every year by preventing illness and generates £85 billion annually in economic value.

However, the value generated by the sector could be far greater if the UK can reach the activity levels of its European peers and work towards the group’s ambition of making the UK the most active nation in Europe.

The sector bodies project savings of up to £1 billion in healthcare spending linked to inactivity, alongside the generation of an additional £3.6 billion per annum in GDP uplift through increased productivity and realising up to £77.2 billion in increased wellbeing benefits.

They are calling for a new partnership with the Government – both now and in the future – that unlocks the potential of sport, recreation and physical activity, and builds a future where:

  • All children and adults are given the best chance to live well for longer
  • Communities are safer, greener, healthier, and more connected
  • Prevention leads to significantly less pressure on the NHS and other key public services
  • Our economy is boosted by a healthier and more productive workforce.

Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive of  StreetGames and co-Chair of the Coalition’s Policy Working Group said:

“Sport and physical activity are central to the ability of Coalition member organisations to change lives for the better, and have a fundamental role to play in building a healthier, happier and more prosperous nation. This is more important than ever during a cost-of-living crisis, and we therefore wholly endorse and support the ambition set out in this pledge.”

Commenting at the launch, Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive said:

“There is a collective determination across the sport, recreation, and physical activity sector to ensure that its full potential is unlocked in order to make the urgent improvements to our national health and wellbeing. As we enter the countdown to the next General Election, we want each of the main political parties to meet our ambition and commit to this pledge.

“This pledge is a first step in recognising the impact of physical activity on our health and wellbeing, and in turn on the productivity of this country. Now we need Parliamentarians from across the House to drive this agenda forward, working closely with the entire sector to create a healthier, happier, and more prosperous nation.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who sponsored the launch in Parliament, added:

“I fully support the work of this group to make it easier for people to play, move and be active in any way they choose – ensuring sport, recreation and physical activity is accessible and affordable for everyone. There is no denying the importance of physical activity, not only for all our wellbeing, but for the overall health and wealth of the nation.”

“The sector now needs further support from Govrnment and across Parliament to realise the ambition of making the UK the most active nation in Europe.”

Celebrating Wales’ World Cup Qualification: StreetGames Empowered Youth through Football and Inclusion

Celebrating Wales’ World Cup Qualification: StreetGames Empowered Youth through Football and Inclusion

Written by Gareth Winmill – Head of Doorstep Sport and Network Engagement

In 2022, after a 64-year wait Wales earned its place in the Men’s Football World Cup, igniting nationwide celebrations. To mark the significance of this achievement, the Welsh Government allocated a total of £1.8 million to support initiatives that aligned with the core objectives; encompassed the promotion of Wales, showcasing its values, and ensuring a positive and enduring legacy for generations to come.

StreetGames were successful in securing a grant of £165,100 from this fund, enabling us to collaborate with 28 locally trusted organisations (LTOs) across Wales, amplifying football-led Doorstep Sport activities for young people living in underserved communities.

One remarkable facet of this initiative was the inclusivity that lay at its heart. Six out of these 28 organisations conducted fully inclusive sessions, catering to young individuals with additional needs. This extension enhanced StreetGames’ existing Get Out Get Active project in South Wales, showcasing a commitment to diversity, empowerment, and social integration.

Since the initiation of the World Cup, these 28 organisations diligently provided weekly sessions to an impressive 4,076 young participants. These sessions, designed to be more than just sport-related activities, incorporated cultural and educational elements. The intention was not only to shed light on the rich history of Welsh football but also to offer young people a chance to explore the footballing history and cultures of other participating nations.

One of the standout projects that exemplified the impact of this initiative was the “Treharris Boys & Girls Club.” In this instance, girls-only social football sessions were established, planned entirely by the young participants themselves. The sessions seamlessly wove in themes of Welsh identity, with the national anthem and the iconic Welsh song “Yma o Hyd” being sung at the outset. This creative approach not only fostered inclusivity but also celebrated Welsh heritage.

The feedback from the programme were overwhelmingly positive, as evidenced by the 97.2% approval rating from the young attendees who found the sessions to be “very good” or “good”. Beyond the numbers, the project’s impact reverberated through the personal stories of these young individuals.

Volunteer opportunities emerged as a highlight for many participants, allowing them to take an active role in shaping the sessions and inspiring others to join. The presence of trusted adults, such as coaches and youth workers, garnered praise for their positive influence and engaging methods. The element of fun was a significant motivator, with attendees eager to participate because of the enjoyable nature of the sessions.

Moreover, the diverse range of activities offered within these sessions encouraged young participants to step out of their comfort zones and try new sports and skills. The social aspect was equally crucial, providing a safe space for both socialising and meeting new friends. Additionally, the provision of food during sessions further enriched the experience, offering insights into the culinary traditions of the participating World Cup countries.

For some, this initiative held even more profound implications. Young individuals from refugee backgrounds found an avenue for enhancing their English language skills, boosting their confidence to communicate beyond the sessions.

The success of the StreetGames World Cup initiative was attributed to various factors, as highlighted by the feedback from project leaders. The importance of adaptability in delivery, especially in accommodating individual needs, was underscored. This proved crucial during the winter season, necessitating contingency plans to ensure the engagement of young participants.

Undoubtedly, the power of major sporting events, like the Men’s Football World Cup, played a pivotal role in rekindling young people’s interest in sports and physical activities. The affiliation with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) training package lent credibility to the program and served as a catalyst for youth participation and volunteering.


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.

What do the Lionesses represent for women and girls?

What do the Lionesses represent for women and girls?

Chloe Schneider – Digital Communications Officer


At StreetGames, our mission is to transform the lives of young people living in low-income, underserved communities through sport and physical activity, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity. Although football has traditionally been male-dominated, there’s reason for hope as more women and girls engage in the sport. The rise of the triumphant Lionesses, reigning European champions, signifies a significant shift in society and a possible trigger for breaking down gender stereotypes in sports.


Team sports such as football are invaluable in boosting confidence, building resilience, fostering a community, and improving health and fitness. By being visible and vocal advocates for women’s involvement in sports, the Lionesses have ignited a spark that has spread across the nation. A few years ago, the number of girls playing football was considerably lower. Today, we have seen a remarkable shift, with over 100,000 more girls participating in the sport than five years ago. The Lionesses’ presence has proven that football is not just for boys—it is a sport for everyone to enjoy and excel in.


Last year more than 365 million people watched the UEFA Women’s Euro Football Championships. Since then, the world of women’s football has been steadily growing, and this year, the Lionesses are back, inspiring girls and women across the UK. However, their journey to success has been challenging. Women were banned from playing on association members’ pitches from 1921 until 1970 because the Football Association considered it unsuitable. It was an era of entrenched gender inequality, where women’s abilities in sports were undermined and their aspirations limited. Yet 50 years later, the Lionesses have shattered these stereotypes and paved the way for the future of women in sports.


Watching successful athletes, such as the Lionesses, can greatly empower young people from underserved communities and inspire them to get involved in sports. Our Inspiration campaign provides opportunities for the next generation to watch major sporting events live, which motivates young people to participate in sports, whether engaging actively in PE lessons or attending a Doorstep Sport session in their community.


At StreetGames, we recognise the importance of having positive role models, such as the Lionesses, and their impact on boosting young people’s confidence and encouraging them to access sports activities in their local area. Yet it is also important to note the factors that play a crucial role in making sport accessible to women and girls: the cost of the kit, lack of period products, low self-esteem, and transport expenses to safe local areas. We must address all factors in encouraging girls to access team sports whilst recognising the importance of inspirational role models and media representation. Our Us Girls programme has been developed with these factors in mind and has successfully identified practical and cultural barriers that dissuade girls from getting involved in sport. We must think creatively and resourcefully to truly understand and tackle the obstacles girls face and listen to them to get the activity offers right.


The Lionesses have shown women that football is not just for boys and that girls can participate, whether on a professional team or a kickabout in their local park. For many, the Lionesses represent societal change, empowerment, and hope. As we celebrate their achievements, let us also recognise that work is still required; StreetGames’ research has unveiled a notable contrast in engagement levels, with 56% of surveyed males aged 11-24 years participating in football at least once a month, compared to 23% of females. These figures highlight the gendered differences in engagement with sports such as football. We must continue to support and promote women’s football, celebrating the diversity and unity it represents. Doing so can ensure that future generations of women and girls have even more opportunities to excel, breaking down barriers and forging new paths in sports and beyond. The Lionesses have shown us what is possible—let’s carry their legacy forward together.

Opening Schools Facilities: How StreetGames and consortium partners are transforming schools into thriving community hubs

Opening Schools Facilities: How StreetGames and consortium partners are transforming schools into thriving community hubs

At StreetGames’ our primary mission is to increase the opportunities for young people from underserved communities to take part in local sport and physical activities, therefore when the chance arose to be part of a consortium of partners bidding for the Department for Education (DfE) Opening Schools Facilities programme, we were delighted to get involved.  Alongside the Active Partnerships Network, Youth Sport Trust and UK Active, we are supporting schools to open their doors out of school time to deliver sport and physical activities for both the school community and the local community in underserved areas.

In our role as a consortium partner, we deliver on three distinct aspects.  First, we help schools to embed youth voice at the heart of the opening schools facilities programming. Second, we enable schools to think more broadly about the people needed to implement the types of activities, making sure they align with the preferences of the young people. Lastly, we connect schools to our extensive network of locally trusted organisations (LTOs) that provide Doorstep Sport for young people in local community settings, assisting with delivery and engagement with young people.

Over the last few months, we have been working with Active Partnerships to ensure that we provide the right offer of support to enable schools to provide a varied and interesting offer for young people. In Hull, through a school engagement day, we encouraged schools to look at the Five Rights to Doorstep Sport; right place, right style, right cost, right people and right time. We also delivered a youth voice training session for the schools, providing ideas for the school staff on how to engage with students in such a way that the young people have the opportunity to voice their thoughts on how the Five Rights are delivered in the Opening School Facilities programme.

In the upcoming Autumn, we will be conducting extensive youth voice consultation sessions in schools across England. These sessions will empower young people, identified by the schools, to discuss the barriers, motivations, and enablers affecting their participation in sport and physical activities. This feedback will help schools create physical activity offers beyond regular school hours, catering to those who currently cannot access traditional community sports.

Schools are increasingly seen as community hubs and often have extensive facilities; through this fund, we have the opportunity to open up these assets to provide new and exciting sport and physical activity offers which meet the needs of both the school and local community.

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