Active Lives 2024 blog

Blog

Addressing the persistent disparities in opportunities and Levels of physical activity

Written by Ceris Anderson, Head of Knowledge & Insight and Joe Godwood, Research Support Officer

Sport England recently released the latest findings from the Active Lives Adult Survey, covering mid-November 2022 to mid-November 2023. While the overall results show positive trends nationwide, they also spotlight persistent inequalities.

Since the survey started in 2015-16, the number of ‘active’ adults has increased by two million (1.3%). However, when looking at the results by socio-economic group, the differences are worrying. Rates amongst the highest socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 1-2) have seen long-term growth, with those who are ‘active’ increasing by 1.6% compared to Nov 2015-16. In contrast, rates amongst adults from lower socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 6-8) have seen the proportion that are ‘active’ drop by 2.2% over the same period, contributing to an increasing gap in activity between socio-economic groups.

What is also worrying from our perspective at StreetGames is that the data is continuing to show a long-term downward trend in the proportion of young people aged 16-24 years who are ‘active’, which is now 3.3% lower than it was in 2015-16.

The results from the 2022-23 survey show a 20% gap between those that are ‘active’ by socio-economic group (73% NS-SEC 1-2 vs 53% NS-SEC 6-8). As well as being less likely to be active, those from lower socio-economic groups are also under-represented in volunteering, comprising just 10% of all weekly volunteers but 30% of the population.

There is also a growing divide in activity levels based on where someone lives, with only 55.5% of adults living in the most deprived areas (IMD 1-3) recorded as ‘active’ whilst 68.6% of those in the least deprived areas (IMD 8-10) are ‘active’.

The least deprived places (IMD 8-10) and mid deprived places (IMD 4-7) are seeing more active adults compared to Nov 2015-16, whereas the most deprived places (IMD 1-3) have seen this proportion fall by 2.5% over the same period. Furthermore, activity levels remain unchanged compared to 12 months ago for those living in the most deprived places, meaning that we have seen no further post-pandemic recovery in these areas, with levels settling below those seen pre-pandemic.

Significantly, the data also highlights that adults and young people from lower socio-economic groups and those living in the most deprived areas are significantly less likely to say ‘they feel that they have the opportunity to be physically active’ – with only 28.7% of those living in IMD 1-3 and only 26.6% of adults from NS-SEC 6-8 saying they have the opportunity to be active, compared to 39% amongst those from NS-SEC 1-2, reinforcing the notion that unequal opportunities are contributing to activity disparities.

The availability of opportunities to be active are really significant. Not only do they affect a person’s ability to be active at all, but also whether or not a person can choose the nature of the activity they participate in. Data within Active Lives reveals that people from lower socio-economic groups get more of their active minutes from active travel – which is often borne out of necessity rather than choice. Significant disparities still exist in sports participation by socio-economic group – with the rates of participation by lower socio-economic groups in many sports, gym and fitness activities being less than half the rates of those in the highest socio-economic groups.  Adults from lower socio-economic groups are also significantly less likely to walk for leisure.

At StreetGames, we know that these disparities are not down to a lack of demand. In fact, our 1,000 Young Voices research revealed that 72% of young people from lower-income households enjoy taking part in sport and physical activity and 75% want to do more – including interest across a broad range of activities, spanning individual sports, team sports, fitness activities, exercise involving nature and the outdoors, and activities involving music.

Meeting these differing needs and effecting real change requires influence and action across multiple layers of the ‘system’: at a policy level, within the physical environment and by the organisations and institutions that hold the ‘power’ within local communities.

The current policy environment creates a real opportunity to make a difference. Within both the government sport strategy Get Active and Sport England’s Uniting the Movement, there is clear strategic intent to tackle inequalities, together with resources that are being directed into the places most in need and a drive for a Whole System Approach, to join up action across multiple layers of society.  These efforts must look at creating vibrant and varied offers within local communities – so that we not only increase activity levels but also provide more people with the opportunity to build a positive relationship with sport and physical activity and enjoy the wider social, cultural and health benefits that taking part can provide.

Partners celebrate success for Opening School Facilities Programme

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Partners celebrate success for Opening School Facilities Programme

The partners involved in the Opening School Facilities (OSF) initiative have been celebrating its success after it reached more than 168,000 children and young people and more than 50,000 local residents during its second year.

The three-year programme, which will have received up to £57million from the Department for Education by the end of March 2025, was launched in early 2023 to provide funding for schools to open up their facilities outside of the school day, giving pupils and people from the local community more opportunities to move and helping them to access a wider range of physical activities.

The programme is overseen by the Active Partnerships National Organisation (APNO) which works closely with StreetGames and two other national partners, ukactive and the Youth Sport Trust.

School Standards Minister, Damian Hinds, said: “Young people benefit so much by being active, not just in terms of their physical health but their mental health too.

“It’s great that the Opening School Facilities initiative is having such a positive impact in ensuring communities across England have the opportunity to access high quality sporting facilities and programmes.”

The participating schools have been selected based on the level of inactivity in the area. They are then supported at a local level by the network of 43 Active Partnerships that covers the whole of England, with schools and local communities from Cumbria to Cornwall and everywhere in between benefiting.

Newly released figures show that between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024 a total of 1,467 schools delivered more than 90,000 sport and physical activity sessions for pupils and members of the local community.

StreetGames and our consortium partners have ambitions to increase community use further during the third and final year of the programme, ensuring that more local people are aware of and able to use their local school’s facilities as a hub for sport, physical activity and movement.

Claire Lee, Strategic Lead for the Opening School Facilities programme for APNO, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see how many young people and local adults have been participating in this programme as it really illustrates that we have been able to support schools from across England to open up their facilities.

“We have already surpassed our initial target for the number of schools we were hoping to involve in the programme and that is all thanks to the fantastic support and collaboration we have had from our national partners and from Active Partnerships from across the network.”

Popular activities that have been delivered in schools by the teachers, community providers and local clubs have included multi-sport, dance, basketball and table tennis, with swimming and water safety also proving to be a very popular across all regions.

The Active Partnerships network plays a key role in helping tackle the barriers that some groups of people and communities face when it comes to moving more and being active, so OSF funding has been prioritised to projects that encourage women and girls to be more active, those that help disadvantaged and culturally diverse communities and those supporting people with special educational needs, disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Jane Shewring, StreetGames National Programme Lead for OSF, said: “This year has seen us working with schools across the country to deliver youth voice workshops with more than 1000 children and young people, all of whom were identified as inactive or not engaged in community sport.

“Building on the success of the programme so far, the findings from these workshops will enable us to engage even more young people in sport and physical activity by providing training and recommendations to schools to support them to deliver the ‘right style’ of activity as described by workshop participants – with the key motivating factor of having fun at the heart of the offer.”

Dr Esme Tuttiet, Research and Data Analyst at ukactive, the qualitative evaluation partner for the OSF programme said: “It’s great to see the success of the Opening Schools Facilities Programme and its continued growth to give even more children and young people the chance to be more active.

“We know the importance of going beyond the numbers and understanding the social, physical and mental benefits children can experience through physical activity and the value it can bring to their everyday lives.

“Our sector is committed to supporting and building lifelong physical activity habits for young children and the Opening School Facilities programme is proving its potential to help reach the youngest in our society, giving them the best chance to be active, happy and healthy.”

With the funding for the programme due to end on 31 March 2025, the national and local partners are also working hard to support the schools in finding ways to sustain the projects that have been established, so that the thousands of people taking part can continue to be active.

To find out more about Opening School Facilities, please go to the Active Partnerships National Organisation website.

Olympic and Paralympic Multi-skills workshop

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Olympic and Paralympic Multi-skills workshop

StreetGames are pleased to offer a new and exciting training opportunity this summer for local partners in the StreetGames network.

We are delighted to be one of the charity partners of Team GB, and this year we have been working closely with the British Olympic Foundation and their Get Set Path to Paris programme to provide a brand new Olympic and Paralympic-themed multi-skills activator workshop. The workshop will offer a chance to experience games linked to both the Olympics and Paralympics and will provide volunteers, young people, youth and community workers and community sports coaches and leaders with a multi-skills approach to coaching young people in their local community.

We are offering fully funded places on 19 courses that are taking place across the country between now and the start of the Paris Olympics. Places are limited, so we encourage you to secure your spot as soon as possible.

London & South East
  • Tower Hamlets – Monday 13th May, 4:30-6:30pm: The Linke Centre, 70 Fern Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E3 3PR BOOK NOW
  • Lambeth – Thursday 30th May, 1-4pm: Black Prince Hub, Off Black Prince Rd, Lambeth, London, SE11 6AA BOOK NOW
  • Thanet – Friday 31st May, 10am-1pm: The Hive at Foreland Field, Newlands Lane, Ramsgate, Thanet, London, CT12 6RH BOOK NOW
  • Witham – Tuesday 4th June, 1-4pm: Kinetix Academy, 3E Moss Rd, Witham, Essex, CM8 3UW BOOK NOW
  • Brent – Saturday 8th June, 10am-1pm: Roundwood Centre, 49 Longstone Ave, Brent, London, NW10 3UN BOOK NOW

 

Midlands
  • Leicester – Wednesday 15th May, 10:30am-1:30pm: Team HB CiC, St Oswalds Rd, Leicester, LE3 6JR BOOK NOW
  • Dudley – Saturday 25th May, 10am-1pm: Priory Community Centre, Priory Rd, Dudley, DY1 4DS BOOK NOW
  • Birmingham – Wednesday 29th May, 10am-1pm: The Lighthouse, 100 Alma Way, Aston, Birmingham, B19 2NA BOOK NOW
  • Stoke on Trent – Thursday 6th June, 10am-1pm: Stoke FC Academy Dome, Dennis Violet Ave, Stoke on Trent, ST4 4TN BOOK NOW

 

North East
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne – Tuesday 4th June 10-1pm: Eagles Community Arena/Vertu Motors Arena, Scottswood Rd, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 7AF BOOK NOW
  • Sunderland – Thursday 6th June, 2-5pm: Beacon of Light, Stadium Park, Sunderland, SR5 1SN BOOK NOW
  • Hartlepool – Friday 7th June, 1-4pm: Belle Vue Community Centre, Kendal Rd, Hartlepool, TS25 1QU BOOK NOW

 

North West
  • Warrington – Tuesday 14th May, 10:45am-1:45pm: Warrington Youth Zone, Dallam Lane, Warrington, WA2 7NG BOOK NOW
  • Blackpool – Wednesday 15th May, 12:30-3:30pm: Fylde Sports & Education Centre, Mill Farm, Coronation Way, Blackpool, PR4 3JZ BOOK NOW
  • Manchester – Thursday 13th June, 12-3pm: Moss Side Millennium Power House, 140 Raby St, Manchester, M14 4SL BOOK NOW

 

South West
  • Plymouth – Monday 10th June, 10am-1pm: William Sutton Hall, 6 Shelley Way, Plymouth, PL5 1QF BOOK NOW

 

Wales
  • Swansea – Monday 13th May, 10am-1pm: Pure Football, 926 Llangyfelach Rd, Tirdeunaw, Swansea, SA5 7HR BOOK NOW
  • Merthyr Tydfill – Wednesday 5th June, 4-7pm: The Willows Centre, Bridge St, Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Tydfill, CF48 4DX BOOK NOW

 

Yorkshire & Humber
  • Hull – Friday 14th June, 10am-1pm: University of Hull, Allam Sports Centre, Inglemire Lane, Hull, HU6 7TS BOOK NOW

 

We are keen for as many people and organisations as possible to access this unique opportunity and are expecting demand to be high. In the event that people have booked on but are unable to attend, we are asking for at least 48 hours’ notice to enable us to offer these places out to others that are interested but haven’t been successful in booking on.

StreetGames & Chance to Shine combine for Double Century stand in Workforce Development Partnership

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StreetGames & Chance to Shine combine for Double Century stand in Workforce Development Partnership

StreetGames have been working in partnership with Chance to Shine since 2018 to provide opportunities for young people from underserved communities to play cricket. There are currently 16 StreetGames local delivery partners delivering Chance to Shine Street cricket across England reaching more than 200 young people on a weekly basis. In 2023 alone, 615 sessions were delivered by organisations in the StreetGames network, many of whom have had no prior experience in delivering cricket as part of their offer.

Building on the success of the programme in communities that cricket has traditionally struggled to reach, Chance to Shine invited StreetGames to support and co deliver on their 2-day Street Coach training course that is offered to all the coaches in their network.

The course is part of Chance to Shine’s Street offer to County Cricket Boards and local community organisations in the StreetGames network, to upskill the coaching workforce in their delivery of the programme. The course contains a mixture of practical sessions as well as a 3-hour workshop delivered by StreetGames, which incorporates content from a number of the courses available on our Training Menu including:

  • Working with Young People from Underserved Communities
  • Engaging Women and Girls in Sport & Physical Activity
  • Understanding Young People from Underserved Communities
  • Addressing Challenging Behaviour
  • Trauma Informed Practices

The inclusion of the StreetGames workshop on the course has helped to develop a better understanding of how to deliver cricket in underserved communities across the Street coach network, particularly amongst those from County Cricket Boards. Since the introduction of the course, more than 200 Street cricket coaches have attended and completed the course with feedback being overwhelmingly positive. The courses have also served as a great opportunity for organisations in the StreetGames network to connect in with their local County Boards and develop partnership opportunities.

Commenting on the success of the partnership, Rohan Randhawa, Inclusive Programmes Manager at Chance to Shine said:

Since January 2023, we’ve tailored seven bespoke two-day Street coach training courses in partnership with StreetGames that have covered all regions in England, empowering more than 200 coaches. With workforce development at the forefront of what we do at Chance to Shine, in partnership we crafted each course to meet the needs of the group, earning stellar five-star feedback. StreetGames’ expertise in managing challenging behaviour and working with young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences has elevated our training, ensuring our coaches deliver exceptional experiences for young people in underserved areas which has become invaluable. As our partnership evolves, I eagerly anticipate the transformative impact these modules will have as they ripple through communities, driven by the passion and dedication of our Street coaches.”

Andrew Diggle, StreetGames National Workforce Lead who delivers the StreetGames element of the course, has been delighted with the engagement from coaches during the workshop:

“Delivering to the Chance to Shine Street training has given StreetGames a platform to develop the workforce’s understanding of how to adapt activities to engage specific target groups, including Women and Girls inactive young people living in underserved communities. Our Managing Challenging Behaviour workshop has also been well received. Participants have been engaged and enthused, with the feedback from all courses being extremely positive. Our flexible approach has allowed us to tailor the content to the needs of coaches, which will help to continue to grow and develop our partnership with Chance to Shine going forward, and most importantly, best support a growing workforce.”

StreetGames are extremely grateful to Chance to Shine for recognising our vision to create healthier, safer and more successful communities through sport and for supporting strides towards one of our ‘End Game’ goals: For all mainstream sports providers to change their practice to meet the needs of young people from low-income, underserved communities. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Chance to Shine, enhancing the skills of their coaching network and bringing more cricket to the young people who stand to benefit the most.

StreetGames & Laureus Sport for Good Training & Development Series 2024

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StreetGames & Laureus Sport for Good Training & Development Series 2024

StreetGames are delighted to be working in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good to support and develop community organisations in Hounslow, Haringey and Barking.

These three areas are part of ‘Model City London’, an initiative delivered by a partnership of the Mayor of London, Laureus Sport for Good and Nike which aims to improve social integration through sport by empowering local people to drive the change they want to see in their community.

We are working with Laureus Sport for Good to build capability and capacity in community organisations in these areas, supporting them to continue to use the power of sport to transform the lives of children and young people living locally.

Our Training & Development Series 2024 will see members of the StreetGames team deliver a series of six free workshops between April and June, each focused on a different theme or development area to support staff and volunteers at community organisations to enhance their Doorstep Sport offer:

  • Building and Utilising a Collective Community Voice & Youth Voice

Thursday 18th April, 6-9pm

Hear insight, top tips and advice about the importance of community voice and co-production, and learn how to gather that information so the community being served feels respected and listened to.

Book now

  • Impact of Doorstep Sport on Youth Crime & Anti-Social Behaviour

Thursday 2nd May, 6-9pm

Explore the risk factors around young people engaging in anti-social behaviour, discuss the ten critical success factors underpinning sport-based projects designed to address youth crime and ASB, identify opportunities to get involved in the world of youth justice and create an action plan of next steps.

Book now

  • Creating Asset-Based Community Development Through Sport in Place

Thursday 9th May, 6pm – 9pm

Understand the basic principles of Asset-Based Community Development, practice key methods of identifying and connecting different types of assets, and take away some best practice and actionable ideas to use in projects and communities.

Book now

  • Race for Investment & Income Generation Training Course

4 sessions: Thursday 16th May, Tuesday 21st May, Tuesday 28th May & Tuesday 4th June, 6-9pm

Receive hands-on support, advice and guidance designed to bring more investment into your project. This four-week course is designed for sports clubs and community organisations with little or no bid writing experience and will support them to put together and submit a funding bid.

Book now

  • Delivering Inclusive Programmes for Marginalised Groups (including women & girls and young people from diverse backgrounds)

2 sessions: Tuesday 11th June & Tuesday 18th June, 6-9pm

Discover practical ideas on how to best engage and retain young women and girls and young people from diverse backgrounds in Doorstep Sport, including an exploration of the latest insight from our award-winning Us Girls programme.

Book now

  • Impact Measurement: Storytelling and Introduction to the Monitoring & Evaluation Kitbag

Wednesday 19th June, 6-8:30pm

Learn how to tell engaging stories around the impact your sports programme has on young lives and communities to unlock increased investment and support and further enhance your reputation. You will also be introduced to the StreetGames Monitoring & Evaluation Kitbag, which includes an extensive range of resources including templates, surveys, top tips and best practice to help you showcase your impact effectively.

Book now

Attendees will receive certification for each individual workshop attended. A gold ‘Sport for Good Training Series’ graduation certificate is also available for community organisations that attend each of the workshops in the series.

James Gregory, StreetGames Deputy Director for London & South East, said: “Collaboration is one of our core values at StreetGames, and we are delighted to be putting this into practice through our partnership with Laureus Sport for Good.

“We recognise that in order to tackle the activity gap that affects those living in the most underserved communities and have a greater, more long-lasting impact through Doorstep Sport, collaboration is key.

“This Training & Development Series will allow us to share valuable learning and insight with more coaches and leaders in more communities, supporting them to transform more young lives through sport.”

Emily Neilan, Laureus Sport for Good Model City London Manager, added: “The three Model City London coalitions are now in their 6th year and working towards their long-term independence through sustainable structures and shared purpose. We see this exciting series of workshops, put together by our capacity building partners StreetGames, as an essential part of their journey towards this goal which will ensure organisations in the three areas are supporting young people through sport for years to come.”

For more information about the Training & Development Series, please contact james.gregory@streetgames.org

England Squash announces new partnership with StreetGames

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England Squash announces new partnership with StreetGames

England Squash has announced a new partnership with StreetGames on an initiative that will create more squash opportunities for young people in some of the most underserved communities in Birmingham. 

The pilot project will see 14 community organisations deliver squash activation sessions to hundreds of children aged 4-16 who are eligible for free school meals as part of the Birmingham Holiday Activity and Food programme this Easter.  

Participating organisations will be given free training and squash equipment including a squash rebound net, rackets and balls as well as tickets to the prestigious British Open 

Following the Easter programme, further support will be provided to help these organisations run regular and sustainable squash activities, and link young people into existing local squash facilities. 

Asma Ajaz-Ali, Community Engagement Manager at England Squash said: “We’re thrilled to team up with StreetGames on this fantastic new initiative to make squash more accessible for young and diverse audiences in Birmingham.  

“Sport has the power to make a real impact on communities and enrich lives, and this squash programme will provide an enjoyable way for young people to learn new skills, get active and improve wellbeing. 

“Squash offers something new and different to young people, best of all, you don’t need a squash court or sports facility but just ample space to knock a ball around.” 

Jenny Carter, Holiday Gap Director at StreetGames said: “We know from our 1,000 Young Voices research that there’s a strong appetite among children and young people for building more sport and physical activity into their lives. However, cost is a key barrier to taking part, with a third feeling that the cost of living crisis has negatively affected participation. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with England Squash to provide new opportunities to children and young people that will enable them to lead happier, healthier, and more successful lives.” 

To find out more about how England Squash is enhancing the diversity of the sport visit englandsquash.com https://www.englandsquash.com/inclusion-and-diversity 

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’

Sport England survey points to wellbeing crisis for young people

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Happiness levels amongst young people have fallen, with children in low-income families hardest hit

Written by Joe Godwood & Joe Keohane, StreetGames Research & Insights Team

Sport England recently released the latest results from the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, providing a comprehensive look into the state of physical activity among the younger generation. Published on December 7th, the report explores the overall participation in different sports and physical activity types, as well as the attitudes of children and young people towards staying active.

Whilst the survey shows that activity levels have increased in general, it also makes clear that the divide between the most and least affluent families continues to grow. More worryingly still, happiness levels amongst young people have gone down across the board, with children from the least affluent families faring worst of all.

Survey results show that 47% of young people are ‘active’- meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) guidelines by participating in moderately vigorous physical activity for an average of 60 minutes a day. A further 22.8% are rated as ‘fairly active’ while 30.2% are categorised as ‘less active’ with less than 30 minutes a day on average. Encouragingly, the data from the 2022/23 academic year shows stability compared to the previous 12 months, signalling a sustained recovery in participation post-pandemic. Within this generally positive trend however, there are also causes for concern.

Activity Levels & Affluence: 

One standout aspect is the disparity in activity levels among children and young people from different socio-economic backgrounds. The report indicates that those from the least affluent families are the least likely to meet the CMO guidelines, with only 44% reaching the recommended activity levels compared to 55% from more affluent families.

While the proportion of children and young people from low affluence families who are active has increased from 42% to 44% over the past 12 months, a larger increase was observed in high affluence families (52% to 55%). This results in a widening gap from 10% to 11% between high and low affluence.

Decrease in Inactivity: The proportion of inactive children and young people from low affluence families has decreased from 36% to 34% over the past year, mirroring a similar drop in high affluence families (25% to 23%). Despite the positive trend, the gap between inactive high and low affluence children and young people remains unchanged at 11%.

Beyond participation in sport and physical activity, the survey also delves into the mental well-being of young people, considering factors like happiness, life satisfaction and feeling worthwhile:

Involvement in sport can extend beyond taking part as a participant; it also provides opportunities to volunteer and to attend live sporting events, which both bring their own benefits. Noticeable disparities persist in the rates of volunteering and spectating between children and young people from lower and higher affluence backgrounds.

While the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey presents positive trends in overall activity levels, it also uncovers areas of concern, particularly regarding socio-economic disparities and their impact on the well-being of young people. Acknowledging these nuances is crucial for designing targeted interventions that ensure every child, regardless of background, has equal access to an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

The Sport England Together Fund (TF) serves as a really great example of how targeted interventions can play a role in addressing the disparities highlighted above. During the 2022-23 period, 104 Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs) within the StreetGames network benefited from TF investment.  This financial support played a crucial role in empowering LTOs to extend a diverse range of sport, physical activity, and engagement opportunities to young people living in low affluence, underserved communities.

The funding enabled LTOs across all regions of England to lead impactful community initiatives, designed to offer young people chances to engage in various sports, explore new activities, connect with diverse peer groups and foster excitement during major sporting events held throughout 2022-23.

A total of 8,746 young people actively participated in these initiatives – comprising 40% females, 46% from ethnically diverse communities, 5% disabled and 6% living with a long-term health condition.

Feedback, from a sample of these participants, highlighted the benefits they experienced, many of which align with the challenges identified in the Active Lives data:

From the participants who provided feedback, 61% stated that the fund helped them try new activities, 58% reported an increase in confidence to be active, 56% felt it had improved management of their physical health, and 49% acknowledged engaging in more activity than they would have without the project.

39% of participants noted that the project assisted them in managing their mental health. The social dimension of the projects played a pivotal role, with time spent with friends and the formation of new connections emerging as primary sources of enjoyment. The enjoyable and fun nature of the sessions was highlighted as a key motivator, encouraging regular attendance.

 “This activity has drastically improved my mental health and kept me out of other unbeneficial activities, making great use of my time. I think more activities like this should be pushed into action.”

The sport sessions were also viewed as opportunities for personal development, allowing participants to improve communication skills, health, leadership skills, and confidence. Many LTOs offered participants the opportunity to volunteer and undertake placements, which they saw as rare opportunities:

“I have never had any support like this before and never got placements elsewhere because they always say they are full.”

All TF funded LTOs received support and guidance to provide young people with opportunities to celebrate, get involved, and feel the ‘ripple effect’ of major sporting events through a broader StreetGames campaign called #Inspiration. Many projects took young people to watch live sports events and aligned sessions and festivals with major sport events to generate excitement among participants.

Feedback from LTOs underscored the impact of this funding on their ability to support the engagement of young people from low-income underserved communities in regular sport and physical activity. LTOs felt the intervention had most notably helped increase opportunities for people to be active (95%), provided the wider community with more opportunities to be active (89%), instilled more confidence in the local community to be active (82%), and assisted the local community in managing their physical health (81%). For 81% of the funded LTOs the TF investment was rated extremely important in helping their organisation to continue to exist and in supporting more young people to be active.

The data above highlights the crucial role such funding plays in reducing the disparity between young people from low-affluence families and high-affluence families highlighted in the Active Lives data – particularly in the current economic climate where rises in the cost of living mean that many young people and their families have very little disposable income and many community sports organisations are facing increased running costs. While Sport England’s multi-year commitment to £250 million additional investment in Place, targeted at areas of greatest need, is hugely welcome, there remains a clear and pressing need for immediate funding to support LTOs delivering on the ground today to enable more young people to be active right now.

At StreetGames one of our key roles involves sign-posting and supporting LTOs to access funding to support their doorstep sport activities, and whilst there have been many notable successes in the past year (e.g. via the NCLF- Million Hours fund, VRUs and HAF) – the majority of the funding sourced, has come from non-sports sources, which often come with very specific non-sport eligibility criteria.

With a General Election on the horizon, there are genuine risks that funding to support vital sporting infrastructure in low-income communities will not be available swiftly enough at a crucial time.

StreetGames Celebrates Impact of Opening Schools Facilities Funding in Hull

StreetGames Celebrates Impact of Opening Schools Facilities Funding in Hull

StreetGames recently conducted a visit in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and Active Humber, to two schools in Hull – Sirius Academy North and Kelvin Hall School – as part of its ongoing commitment to promoting youth voice and breaking down barriers to sports participation. 

The visit focused on celebrating the success of the DfE funded Opening Schools Facilities (OSF) programme and the positive impact that the projects had on young people in Hull. The OSF funding has played a crucial role in providing a diverse range of sporting opportunities through Doorstep Sport, emphasising the importance of making the right sporting offers available to all. 

Beverley Southward, Policy Officer, PE, School Sport and Physical Activity for the DfE, shared insights from the visit: “It was eye-opening to hear of the significant barriers for children at Sirius to overcome just to get them to a level where they could take part in OSF activities, and how the staff took it in their stride and came up with innovative ideas to overcome these barriers.” 

The visit also underscored the positive impact of OSF funding on extracurricular activities. Southward noted, “It was great to hear that students at both schools were engaged in PE and Sport, and that OSF funding has made a huge difference to them being able to attend extracurricular activities, and that all OSF clubs are oversubscribed.” 

Southward emphasised the value placed on youth voice in both schools, with programmes tailored to reflect students’ preferences. The inclusivity of sports was highlighted, with both boys and girls participating in a Futsal session. Notably, a student named Jacob chose to referee, showcasing the inclusive nature of OSF projects and how they contribute to personal development. “It was great to hear the coach say that his confidence level and leadership skills had increased massively through the club. What an inspirational young man,” Southward added. 

Lucy Gray, Active Humber’s Development Manager for Children and Young People, shared her observations from the visit: “It was great for me to visit Sirius Academy North and understand some of the challenges the young people and their families face who attend the school.” 

Gray emphasised the positive impact of OSF funding on physical activity opportunities for young people who need it the most. She also highlighted the vibrant after-school clubs at Kelvin Hall School, illustrating how OSF funding brings together diverse age groups for fun, socialising, and physical activity: “To see one of the after-school clubs in action at Kelvin Hall School shows the impact OSF funding is having for young people in our area, it brings a mixture of age groups together having fun, socialising, and being physically active.”

StreetGames’ Craig McFadyen emphasised the broader impact of the organisation’s efforts, stating, “Over the past 4 months, StreetGames have delivered Youth Voice consultation sessions, directly to students in 45 schools all across England. Carefully listening to the voices of over 500 students, who were identified by the schools as either inactive, un-engaged or simply not accessing the schools mainstream extra-curricular sporting offer.” 

McFadyen highlighted the goal of the Youth Voice initiative, aiming to support schools in understanding the needs of young people, and ensuring that sports offerings are inclusive and appropriate for all members of the community. He noted that this initiative provides an opportunity to share valuable insights across all OSF schools, Active Partnerships, and other partners dedicated to enhancing community sports for young people in underserved areas. 

Regarding the visit to Hull with the Department for Education (DfE) and Active Humber, McFadyen remarked, “This visit provided a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with two OSF schools that are working hard to improve their community sports offer for their young people.” He highlighted the importance of not only understanding the positive impact of OSF funding but also acknowledging the broader challenges schools face in designing and delivering effective community sports programmes.  

The visit to Sirius Academy North and Kelvin Hall School reaffirms StreetGames’ commitment to providing inclusive and accessible sports opportunities for young people, promoting physical activity, and breaking down barriers in underserved communities.  

£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.

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