New toolkit offers fresh approach to children’s social prescribing

New toolkit offers fresh approach to children’s social prescribing

A new toolkit developed collaboratively by the charity StreetGames, the South West Integrated Personalised Care Team and other key partners across the UK, aims to support professionals to provide innovative support for children and young people in the shape of youth social prescribing.

Traditionally used to help adults find non-medical ways of supporting health and wellbeing outcomes, research has shown that social prescribing has multiple health and social benefits for children and young people too, with dozens of compelling reasons why this work should begin as early in life as possible.

Whilst the principles of delivering social prescribing to children and young people are the same as for adults, the methods of working with them are often very different. To effectively work with children and young people it is important to understand that they may face a range of complex challenges including in their family setting, or as a result of their wider health, educational, work or social context.

This new toolkit aims to help organisations to address the different challenges young people face and offer a road map to delivering effective support. It is designed for stakeholders involved in the design and delivery of children and young people social prescribing including, the NHS, local authorities, the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and representatives of people with lived experience.

With many children and young people today living in families impacted by wider determinants of health such as inadequate housing, poverty or unemployment, well-delivered social prescribing offers support not just to children and young people but also the adults around them: tackling difficulties and finding solutions that can significantly improve life chances.

The right support for a child or young person from the right person at the right time can make a significant difference to their journey and experience, with early intervention being vital to tackling issues of mental health and wellbeing before they escalate.

Liza Jarvis, StreetGames’ Social Prescribing Lead and one of the authors of the toolkit, said:

“Children’s social prescribing is an incredibly powerful tool for supporting the needs of children and young people, especially when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, but it remains underutilised and not always well understood.

This toolkit aims to give professionals working with children and young people what they need to deliver effective social prescribing in their area. It provides a framework to help assess what is needed and examples of what others have achieved. It also shows you how working together as partners we can achieve more and support young people to have truly great lives.”

 

Learn more about Social Prescribing here.

For further information please contact Liza Jarvis at liza.jarvis@streetgames.org

Coach/Volunteer of the Year Regional Awards

Coach/Volunteer of the Year Regional Awards

Distinguished for their exceptional contributions to local sports communities, the recent StreetGames Regional Awards have highlighted the remarkable achievements of coaches and volunteers dedicated to fostering inclusivity and well-being within their regions.

 

London and SE:

Temi Johnson – Coach Temi Johnson’s unwavering commitment to inclusive sports at Youth Ngage, despite his disability, serves as a powerful inspiration for participants. As a volunteer coach, Temi assisted with Club sessions, demonstrating his knowledge of adapted sports, his understanding of disabled participants and his spirit of inclusivity. From day one, Temi has been determined that no one is left out of sport. In 2019, he became a qualified Level 1 Football Coach, and in 2023, he achieved a Level 2 Coaching Multi-Skills qualification, overcoming a learning difficulty to succeed. His empathetic coaching style and dedication to every individual’s sporting journey embody the values of a Disability Sports Coach (DSC).

 

North East:

Liam Roberts – Liam Roberts’ passion for engaging individuals in sports has left a lasting impact, evident in his dynamic sessions across Newcastle. Through his enthusiastic approach and dedication, Liam epitomises the essence of doorstep sport, fostering an active lifestyle among participants.

 

North West:

Pauline Melia – Pauline Melia’s relentless dedication as a volunteer shines through her instrumental role in providing nutritious meals and promoting physical activity during HAF and Fit & Fed programmes. She accommodates a wide range of complex needs when it comes to the eating habits of young people, taking an active part in encouraging them to eat well and explore new foods. She is often responsible for the feeding of 80-100 young people per day at HAF camps. Having a young son on the SEN spectrum, she fully understands how important physical activity is to the health and well-being of young people and strives to support other parents to take advantage of the programmes on offer at the centre. Her commitment to the well-being of young individuals extends beyond the confines of her responsibilities, positively impacting families within the community.

 

South West:

Jason Quiterio – Renowned for his expertise as a swimming coach, Jason Quiterio’s versatile coaching approach caters to individuals of all proficiency levels, reflecting his deep understanding of diverse learning styles and ability to tailor guidance accordingly. As Head Coach of both Caradon Swimming Club and Cornwall County ASA, and he runs a separate entity called “Ace Swimming”, he has & does support people from learning to swim right up to international athletes in the pool, open water & sea. Jason is also an excellent communicator and has a remarkable ability to connect with his swimmers and build strong relationships with them.

 

Midlands:

Alicia Davies – Lincoln City FC Foundation – Alicia Davies’ passionate advocacy for women’s football is exemplified through her dedicated involvement in the foundation’s holiday clubs, fostering a nurturing environment for children of all abilities. Her unwavering support for educational events highlights her commitment to inspiring the aspirations of future generations.

 

South Wales:

Ryan Davies – Ryan first got involved with RugbyWorks 6 years ago as a young person who had been excluded from mainstream education and was attending a pupil referral unit. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and struggled to control his aggression. Ryan’s transformative journey with RugbyWorks is a testament to his resilience and dedication to giving back to the community. He has since become a dedicated coach; Ryan draws from his personal experiences to inspire and guide others, embodying the transformative power of sports in building resilience and fostering personal growth.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Regional Awards

Mental Health and Wellbeing Regional Awards

The StreetGames Awards have highlighted outstanding contributions to mental health and well-being, honouring individuals and organisations that have demonstrated exceptional dedication to supporting and empowering their communities across the UK. These regional winners have made a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and resilience. Let’s delve into the inspiring initiatives of these remarkable projects:

London and Southeast:

Youth Ngage: The organisation primarily focuses on engaging African and Caribbean young people and families in North Kent through sports, holistic support, and community events. From promoting mental well-being and talent/career development projects to offering crucial employability services, skills development training, and engaging community events, their multifaceted approach has garnered widespread recognition and trust within the community. A standout feature of their initiatives is the Well-being Hub, a central platform created in response to the pressing demands of the community. Through the Hub, the organisation provides comprehensive support for families in need, addressing issues such as loneliness, low self-confidence, unemployment, mental health challenges, disengagement, and domestic abuse. Weekly interactive sessions and 1-2-1 support have been instrumental in fostering a sense of belonging and solidarity among participants, while the distribution of essential items on a monthly basis has significantly alleviated the financial strain faced by many families. Beyond their direct support, the organisation has extended its outreach to adults through regular Keep Fit sessions, mental health and healthy living workshops, and free health check-ups, fostering a culture of holistic well-being within the community.

 

North East:

Ray Taylor: Ray Taylor’s steadfast dedication to the growth and holistic well-being of more than 70 underprivileged children within his football club serves as a resounding testament to his unwavering passion and commitment. Despite the demanding responsibilities of managing his own business, supporting his family, and navigating personal health challenges, Ray’s tireless efforts have continued to create a nurturing and empowering environment for the young individuals under his guidance. His selflessness and perseverance have not only positively impacted the lives of these children but have also inspired a culture of resilience and determination within the community.

North West:

The Cherry Tree Project: The Cherry Tree Project’s involvement in a Yoga and Mindfulness pilot aimed to create a safe and inclusive space for diverse young individuals to explore personal growth and well-being. By catering to a group of participants with various identities and backgrounds, including those facing mental health challenges and physical disabilities, the project successfully fostered a supportive environment for self-expression and development through yoga practice. The positive outcomes observed, such as improved mental well-being and increased self-esteem, underscore the empowering potential of yoga and mindfulness in nurturing holistic development among youth.

 

South West:

Madeline Doyle: Madeline’s selfless commitment and encouraging nature in promoting and supporting the club’s endeavours have been instrumental in uplifting each member of the club, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to the well-being of the community.

 

North Wales:

Youth Shedz: Over the past 12-18 months, Youth Shedz has prioritised small group engagement for young people uncomfortable with larger or mainstream youth club sessions. Leveraging golf and fishing activities, funded by their Youth Justice Sport grant, Scott and the team have fostered a safe and non-judgmental environment, enabling open conversations about mental health and life challenges. Their tailored approach has successfully encouraged hesitant participants to join open-access Doorstep Sport sessions, leading to improved mental well-being and sustained support for those in need.

 

South Wales:

Anneurin Leisure: The Aneurin Leisure Sports Development team’s Community Kit Room (CKR) has significantly improved local mental health by providing free access to sports clothing, breaking down barriers to participation and fostering essential life skills such as teamwork and resilience. Working in collaboration with StreetGames Wales, the CKR initiative serves as a ‘HUB’ within the community, facilitating easy access to appropriate clothing and footwear for individuals of all ages and abilities, thus promoting inclusivity and well-being. In just three months, the CKR has supported 51 families with 96 clothing items, demonstrating its impactful contribution to the health and fitness journey in the Blaenau Gwent area.

These regional winners have set an inspiring example of the transformative impact that community-driven mental health and well-being initiatives can have, reflecting a deep-rooted commitment to fostering inclusivity, support, and resilience within their communities.

  

Holiday Activities Project of the Year Regional Awards

Holiday Activities Project of the Year Regional Awards

The StreetGames Awards have highlighted exceptional Holiday Activities Projects across the UK, celebrating organisations that have dedicated their efforts to providing engaging and beneficial activities for young people during school holidays. These regional winners have demonstrated a strong commitment to fostering community well-being and inclusivity through their innovative holiday programmes. Let’s delve into the impactful initiatives of these outstanding projects:

 

London and Southeast:

Sport at the Heart: Since 2016, Sport at the Heart has actively addressed school holiday food insecurity, providing healthy meals and a diverse range of activities through collaborating with initiatives like Fit and Fed and leveraging resources from FareShare and the Felix Project. They have built a team and a solid operational template, enabling them to develop their capacity, increasing school holiday places to 120 per day for the 5-13-year-old age group and 30 per day for the 14-18-year-old age group. Since 2016, they have consistently delivered programmes in most major school holidays. Even during the pandemic, they shifted to providing school holiday programmes for the most vulnerable in our community in line with government guidance. This summer alone, they have delivered nearly 400 hours of activities and served 3000 healthy meals to over 180 children and young people. 

 

North East:

Elswick Community Leisure Centre: The Elswick Community Leisure Centre, located in the heart of the west end of Newcastle, has been running a successful Holiday Activity Project for about three years. The centre’s engagement with over 100 young people during the holiday period sets it apart, offering activities like swimming and scuba diving that are often beyond the reach of the local community. Additionally, the project provides meals prepared by the children themselves, creating a unique and engaging experience. The centre has provided opportunities for the deprived community, with limited access to such activities. 

 

Yorkshire:

Champions Community Sport: The Healthy Holidays programme, now in its third year, has witnessed remarkable growth, accommodating increasing members each year and providing diverse activities such as bushcraft, cooking and planting sessions, and cultural food initiatives. In 2023, their attendance target was 1000 attendees, yet they had a fantastic 1198 young people attend.

 

North West:

Abraham Moss Warriors: Actively engaging the community during school holidays, with over 5,000 participants over the past 12 months in various sessions. Their young leaders’ programme, developed in partnership with StreetGames, has empowered participants to become mentors. At the same time, the summer activities, including educational initiatives and water sports, have provided memorable experiences for the children. They provide young people with the opportunities to make new friends, get out of their comfort zone and the opportunity to do things that they never would otherwise. When they go back to school, if someone asks them what they did, they have a list of fun activities that they’ve experienced.

 

Midlands:

Pitch2Progress: Making significant strides in delivering the Holiday Activities and Food programme since 2021, their inclusive approach has attracted around 180 young people per session, promoting equal opportunities and empowerment. What truly sets Pitch 2 Progress CIC apart is its dedication to empowering participants beyond the programme’s duration. Former participants have seamlessly transitioned into volunteer roles within the organisation, highlighting the programme’s lasting influence on individuals. Notably, the organisation’s investment in training and development has led to the empowerment of 22 young individuals as staff members, emphasising the importance of professional growth and community engagement. 

 

North Wales:

Active Cambria: The Active Camp has provided over 18 full-time days of physical activity sessions, healthy snacks, and nutritious meals to more than 200 young people in the Flintshire and Wrexham areas during the school holidays. The project’s emphasis on physical activity has addressed concerns regarding sedentary lifestyles, promoting teamwork, leadership, and perseverance through various team sports and outdoor adventures. Furthermore, the camp’s focus on promoting healthy eating habits has instilled valuable nutrition education among the participants. With the support of funding and donations from Iceland, the camp ensured that children not only received nourishing meals during their stay but also took home surplus food for their families, positively impacting the wider community. The camp’s impact on social skills and mental well-being has been widely recognised, with participants expressing gratitude for the opportunity to try new activities and experience personal growth.

 

South Wales:

Wye Gymnastics & Galaxy Cheerleading: The Caldicot Community Fridge project, operated by Wye Gymnastics & Galaxy Cheerleading, focuses on collecting surplus food from local supermarkets daily and distributing it to the community at no cost to combat food waste and alleviate food poverty. Recognising the heightened struggles families face, particularly during school holidays, the project aims to address the challenges faced by those who rely on free school meals, ensuring they have access to nutritious meals during these periods. Throughout their initiative, the project has conducted 13 Fit & Fed sessions across two venues, impacting 252 children and introducing them to a diverse range of sports activities, including cricket, football, netball, rugby, and tennis. The overwhelmingly positive feedback has motivated the organisers to continue the program’s expansion, demonstrating their commitment to addressing food insecurity and promoting physical activities for the local youth during school holidays.

 

These regional winners have set an inspiring example of the transformative impact that engaging holiday activities can have on community well-being and empowerment. Their initiatives reflect a deep-rooted commitment to fostering inclusivity and support for young people and families within their communities.

  

Doorstep Sport Project of the Year Regional Awards

Doorstep Sport Project of the Year Regional Awards

The StreetGames Awards have recently acknowledged outstanding contributions in the realm of Doorstep Sport Projects, recognising organisations that have gone above and beyond to bring sports and physical activities to the doorsteps of underserved communities. These regional winners have exemplified a profound commitment to fostering inclusivity, community well-being, and personal development. Let’s take a closer look at their impactful initiatives:

 

London and Southeast:

Trapped in Zone One: Demonstrating a strong dedication to community health and well-being, Trapped in Zone One has been instrumental in fostering skill development and community achievements through engaging programs catering to people of all ages. Trapped in Zone One, it engages with people of all ages to improve their health and well-being through creative practices. Trapped in Zone One’s work to support young people and adults continues all year round. They offer a range of programmes and activities throughout the year to provide people with opportunities to learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun. 

 

North East:

Gateshead FC Foundation: Gateshead FC Foundation has been delivering weekly activities and exceptional Fit and Fed and HAF provisions, ensuring the happiness and safety of young people in underserved communities through a diverse range of sports activities. As a member of the Literacy Trust, they also allow all children and young people to access free books and participate in storytelling sessions, providing wider benefits.

 

North West:

ReflecTeen: Over the past three years, ReflecTeen has facilitated community sessions and holiday programs, offering diverse sports and multi-sports activities, social actions, and educational experiences to foster social and leadership skills among young people aged 8 to 18. Most recently, ReflecTeen delivered the summer holiday programme for four weeks, 32 sports and multi-sports activities alongside an exceptional commitment to providing a diverse range of engaging, educational, and socially impactful experiences for children and young people. ReflecTeen stands out for its comprehensive, holistic, and youth-led activities program. Session plans and delivery is dynamic and engaging, developing young people’s social and leadership skills. Activities present an opportunity for joy and excitement but also enable participants to explore their surroundings, fostering a sense of adventure and curiosity. They encourage their participants to be active in all areas of their community, including social action, environmental consciousness, cooking sessions, nutrition education, and leadership skills.

 

Midlands:

New Park Village: NPVFootball has been a pivotal force for over 25 years, empowering disadvantaged youth through sport and physical activities. Only last year, as part of the Commonwealth Games legacy, they delivered a Gen 22 project through StreetGames, which focuses on developing crucial life skills and qualifications for increased employability and ongoing community engagement. Those young people designing and delivering the project gained a wide range of experience, grew in confidence, developed their communication, teamwork, and organisational skills, and accessed a level 1 Sports Leader qualification. These skills have improved their employability, and many have continued volunteering within their local community to continue these activities. For those young children taking part in the activities again, confidence grew, and there was the opportunity to develop positive relationships and engage in fun activities that promoted the benefits of physical activity and were delivered in trusted, safe spaces. 

 

North Wales:

Youth Shedz: Led by Scott Jenkinson, Youth Shedz is one of StreetGames’ most longstanding and trusted LTOs in North Wales, and through their work in underserved communities, they consistently deliver on what Doorstep Sport is all about. These “sheds” are deliberately located in underserved communities and provide a varied and vibrant offer to young people, with multiple sports and food always on offer. Supported by their mobile youth bus, Betsi, the team can travel to car parks, community fields and leisure centres in true Doorstep Sport fashion, bringing opportunities directly to young people. They partner with local entities, including North Wales Police and Public Health Wales.

 

South Wales:

Valleys Gymnastics: VGA continuously strives to serve their community and provide a safe and inclusive environment for those who cannot access a traditional sports club setting, whether due to cost or lack of transport. They currently run 2 Us Girls programmes, which were developed from the StreetGames research projects. They deliver four fit and fed programmes in outreach locations and work with local organisations in each area to ensure the programme targets the appropriate demographics. They engage with various NGBs, including Golf Foundation and LTA Serves providers. During their sessions, they offer food, a Community Cupboard with food, toiletries, and sports kit to all participants, enabling more young people to participate.  

Regional Winners: Outstanding work in community safety

Regional Winners: Outstanding Work in Community Safety

The StreetGames Awards have recently recognised outstanding contributions to community safety, celebrating organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to create safer and more inclusive spaces within their localities. These regional winners have exemplified a profound commitment to fostering community well-being and resilience. Let’s delve into their impactful initiatives:

 

London and Southeast:

Sports Fun 4 All: Since July 2021, Sports Fun 4 All has provided free football coaching at Bellingham Leisure Centre, SE6, in collaboration with local authorities and the Lewisham Council Youth Offending Services. The sessions aim to support vulnerable young people aged 15-19 at risk of involvement in crime, anti-social behaviour, and serious violence through participation in football.

 

North East:

Young Asian Voices: Established in 1996, Young Asian Voices, a multicultural organisation in Sunderland, has empowered over 500 individuals through various programs, including free transportation and youth committees. They aim to provide social and educational activities to support people to address present inequalities in Sunderland. They offer a support mechanism to all individuals to help identify and resolve issues through diverse work programmes. They also work closely with partners such as Police, Councillors and agencies like Groundwork Northeast and Wearside Women in Need. They have tried to help change how young people think and feel about themselves and their lives by providing better opportunities for them to show what they’re capable of achieving, with the proper support and encouragement, to build their personal, social, and emotional skills so they become more effective individuals. They won a runner-up award in the multimedia category in Show Racism the Red Card Annual School Competition.

 

North West:

Livewire’s “Back on Track” Project: Livewire utilises physical activity as a tool for positive change, focusing on empowering young people between 11-18 years old who face challenges in their home life or education. Through mentoring and group sessions, the project promotes healthier lifestyle choices, improved behaviour, enhanced self-esteem, and stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers. The aim was for the project to be as holistic as possible. In addition to understanding the power of sport and physical activity, there are also additional elements that are incorporated into the project, including volunteering opportunities, personal development activities, training and qualification opportunities, and signposting to other services.

Midlands:

Martin Manley – Walsall FC Foundation: Over the past ten years, Martin Manley from Walsall FC Foundation has made significant contributions, notably through establishing the KICKS inclusion project and spearheading the Walsall Violence Prevention & Sport Programme. Martin formed a partnership with a local youth and community organisation called Youth Connect, which had been working in the heart of the local area for several years and had developed considerable trust with local young people by delivering detached, outreach and centre-based youth work. Through this partnership, youth workers worked alongside Walsall FC coaches to deliver doorstep sports sessions for young people in the local area. In 2021 and 2022, the Walsall Foundation successfully received further funding from StreetGames via the local VRU contract, which led to the development of the Walsall Violence Prevention & Sport Programme in 2022-23. The programme led to a nearly 100% increase in weekly doorstep sports sessions across the Local Authority, going from just 15 to 29, and a 250% increase in intentionally designed targeted secondary work from 4 to 14 weekly sessions. 

South Wales:

Milford Youth Matters’ Active Leaders’ Project: The project has created a non-formal learning environment, nurturing participants’ self-efficacy and community engagement. The initiative empowered them to develop crucial skills and establish strong connections within the community, encouraging active participation in community-building efforts. The young people’s increased efficacy level has boosted confidence in their roles within Milford Youth Matters and the wider community. Their transformed perspective on challenges as conquerable tasks has led to deeper engagement in activities and a more substantial commitment to community interests and safety. Through active participation in the project, they have taken ownership of elevating the positive image of youth in the community, fostering improved social interactions and a sense of responsibility. This experience has facilitated their transition from dependence to independence, strengthening their relationships with the broader community and benefitting themselves and their peers.

These regional winners have set an inspiring example of the transformative impact that collective efforts and dedication can have on community safety and well-being. Their initiatives reflect a deep-rooted commitment to fostering a safer and more inclusive society for all.

Regional Winners: Young Volunteer of the Year

Regional Winners: Young Volunteer of the Year

The impact of young volunteers within communities is immeasurable, and the recent announcement of the Young Volunteer of the Year regional winners by StreetGames underscores the profound influence of these dedicated individuals. From London and the Southeast to the tranquil landscapes of Wales and the bustling cities of the North, these exceptional young volunteers have showcased unwavering commitment, dedication, and a passion for community development. Let’s dive into their incredible stories and the impact they have made in their respective regions:

 

London and Southeast:

Zakariya Rahman, Ekota Academy: Zakariya’s journey from participant to a dedicated volunteer at Ekota Academy stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment and personal growth. Through his active involvement in coaching workshops and leadership training, Zakariya has not only enhanced his sports skills but has also become an inspiring mentor, fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment at Ekota Academy.

 

North East:

Rashvin Ramanathas, Young Asian Voices: Rashvin’s remarkable journey began with a simple desire to make friends and boost his confidence. Accumulating over 400 hours of volunteering, Rashvin has significantly contributed to various levels of cricket training sessions, fostering team spirit and encouraging inclusivity. His patient and welcoming demeanor has created a nurturing environment for others to thrive.

 

North West:

Kamal Williams, Hideaway Project: Kamal’s journey with the Hideaway Project has been marked by significant personal growth and leadership development. From reserved participation to becoming a peer leader during the pandemic, Kamal has showcased unwavering commitment and reliability, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

 

Yorkshire:

Andreas Ramirez: Andreas’s consistent dedication and invaluable support in the successful delivery of multiple sessions have been instrumental in ensuring the smooth operation of various activities.

 

North and South Wales:

Ella Jenkins and Cerys Parry: Ella and Cerys have made a significant impact in their local community through their commitment to delivering weekly football and basketball sessions. Their collaborative efforts with local authorities, the police, and the youth service have demonstrated their dedication to breaking down barriers and fostering a love for sports among participants.

South Wales:

Lara Birtles, StreetGames: Lara’s journey with StreetGames began with her instrumental role in securing funding for community sessions. Her leadership skills and unwavering commitment have positioned her as an exemplary role model in her community.

These remarkable young volunteers have not only made a difference in their communities but have also set an inspiring example for others to follow. Their dedication and passion for community development serve as a beacon of hope for a brighter and more inclusive future.

Engaging Women and Girls regional winners

Regional Winners: Engaging Women and Girls Award

In a world where women and girls are continually challenging boundaries and breaking stereotypes, the StreetGames Awards have recognised those driving change and empowerment in their communities. The recent announcement of the regional winners in the category of Engaging Women and Girls has shed light on the remarkable journeys and initiatives that have had a lasting impact. From London and the Southeast to the heart of Wales and the Midlands, these trailblazers have ignited a transformative wave in sports and beyond.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate these exceptional individuals and groups whose unwavering dedication and passion have uplifted the lives of women and girls across various communities:

 

London and Southeast:

Sadie Whiteland: From Thai Boxing Champion to a leader in traditional boxing, Sadie Whiteland’s coaching endeavours with England Boxing and volunteer work with Boxing Clever have instigated a significant shift in gender dynamics within the sport. Her mentorship has not only inspired young women but has also showcased the profound transformative power of sports, both inside and outside the ring. Through her passionate endeavours, Sadie has demonstrated true grit and determination, setting an inspiring example for young women interested in the sport of boxing. Her journey and dedication have empowered young women to follow her lead and shifted the gender dynamics in Boxing Clever’s gym, evident in the growing ratio of girls to boys.

Muneerah Balesaria: As an influential figure in Salaam Peace, Muneerah’s journey from participant to volunteer has been inspiring. Her establishment of the Girls u13s football team and the Sunday morning Girls-only study support and sports programmes have shattered stereotypes and served as a powerful symbol of empowerment for girls from all walks of life.

 

North West:

G.I.R.L.S. Project: This impactful initiative has been a guiding light for vulnerable young women, addressing critical issues such as unhealthy relationships and mental health challenges. The remarkable achievements of the G.I.R.L.S. project, including conquering physical challenges and fostering collaborative efforts, stand as a testament to the determination and resilience of its participants. This pilot project has worked with a particularly vulnerable and complex group, with young women who would regularly run away, go missing, are at risk of self-harming, have poor mental health, are vulnerable to exploitation, and many have been involved in social care system. The project has stabilised behaviours of the young women, and reduced missing episodes, anti-social behaviour, and self-harm. Trusted relationships have been built with youth workers, and this has been instrumental in their progress and self-belief. They have learned to make better choices for themselves and find more positive alternative solutions to their problems.

 

Midlands:

Tasmin Turner: A true advocate for Doorstep Sport, Tasmin’s contributions to Get in to It Lichfield and the Us Girls project have made a profound impact on female participation and representation within sports. Her dedication and leadership have not only empowered women and girls but have also paved the way for a more inclusive sporting landscape.

 

North Wales:

Aura: The Aura Leisure and Libraries Us Girls project in collaboration with Youth Cymru, Flintshire inclusion services, schools, and the Youth and Disability Wellbeing programme. The project provides a secure space for girls to socialise and engage in physical activities. 20 young girls have attended the sessions over a 20 week period all have had the chance to use the Aura Gym facilities, take part in dodgeball, rounders, basketball, netball and fighting chance boxing.

 

South Wales:

Wye Gymnastics & Galaxy Cheerleading: Wye Galaxy played a crucial role in reviving the Fantastic Gymnastics club at Butetown Pavilion during the pandemic, ensuring a safe and inclusive space for girls from diverse backgrounds. The revived club saw increased participation, expanded offerings, and the establishment of programmes like Fit & Fed and the Young Leadership Academy, empowering local women and fostering community engagement. They have had over 150 girls from a variety of backgrounds attend, and they have  increased the offering to include a preschool session for 3-4-year-olds, as well as a Mother & Baby Play session. It is truly remarkable to see first-hand so many people from a range of ethnic backgrounds coming together to enjoy getting fit and active in a safe and female-only environment.

 

The stories of these incredible individuals and groups serve as an inspiration to us all, highlighting the transformative power of sports and community engagement. As we continue to push boundaries and challenge norms, let us remember the profound impact that a supportive and inclusive environment can have on the lives of women and girls everywhere.

Creating memories from a summer of sport

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Creating memories from a summer of sport

Written by Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive

The Summer Holidays are in full swing across the country, and what a summer it is for sports fans. As I write, our Lionesses may yet be the team to make those dreams a reality and finally bring football home. And in Birmingham, the Commonwealth Games are bringing communities together in celebration of some of the world’s greatest athletes.

Sport is a great unifier, with the power to bring people and communities together. It is fun, inspiring, and hugely beneficial for those who can access it. But sadly, as we know all too well, that is not everyone.

As the Summer Holiday wears on, I’d ask you to cast your mind forward and imagine that first day back in school in September. As children pile back into school classrooms and share stories about what they did during the holidays, the places they travelled to and the activities they took part in, imagine the kid on the edge of the group, keeping quiet because they have no stories to tell.

For too many young people, the summer holidays are not some idyllic adventure full of fun and travel. For families without the means to afford holiday clubs or trips, those six weeks can feel like an eternity – hungry, socially isolated, and deprived of the support on offer during term time. The Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, in their analysis of the Family Resources Surveys from the years 2003/4-2013/14 found that an average of 26% of couples with children and 55% of lone parent families in the UK were deprived of a holiday due to low income, while figures from the Family Holiday Charity show that 2.2 million families, more than 7 million people in the UK, miss out on an annual holiday and 2.5 million children live in families that are too poor to even afford a day-trip. Today, in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, and with underserved communities still struggling to recover from the pandemic, more and more families face a summer of hardship bereft of the experiences that make school holidays special.

The Family Holiday Charity defines social tourism as “the inclusion of people living on a low income in holiday and leisure activities”. Social tourism is not simply providing free or subsidised holidays but about recognising that holidays can have great benefits and a positive impact on young people, their families and the communities in which they live.

StreetGames recognises the value of taking young people out of their day-to-day environment and giving them the opportunity to gain new experiences. That’s why, as part of our #Inspiration2022 campaign, we’re working hard to bring this summer of sport directly into the lives of young people in underserved communities.

Between now and 8th August, over 440 young people will attend the StreetGames Summer Camp in Bromsgrove. For many, this will be the first time they have spent an extended amount of time away from home. Our previous experience tells us that those who get involved in Camp will develop new leadership skills, enjoy meeting and mixing with young people from across the UK and perhaps most importantly, be inspired to do more to grow Doorstep Sport in their local communities when they return. The opportunity offered by StreetGames Summer Camp for young people to be included in leadership and leisure activities is blended with the chance to visit a live, elite sporting event. This is part of addressing the disparity in spectation between the least affluent and most affluent families.

Over 2000 young people will have the chance to go to the Commonwealth Games for free, as a result of our work. The chance to see live, top-level international sport is usually far out of the reach of the young people we support. Through #Inspiration2022 we are opening that door and looking to inspire young people to play, volunteer and maybe even coach other young people to get involved in these sports when they are back in their neighbourhoods.

And in Birmingham, more than 30,000 will be involved in Games-inspired activities as part of our Bring It On Brum HAF delivery. We are working with partners including the Golf Foundation, England Athletics, England Hockey and the ECB/Warwickshire County Cricket Club to bring sport to the doorstep of thousands of young people living in underserved Birmingham neighbourhoods. All of that is before you even begin to think about the thousands of young people we will support to have a better holiday through Fit & Fed and HAF in areas like Derbyshire, Lancashire, Tower Hamlets, Sheffield, Hull, Newcastle, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff and Gwynedd – the list goes on.

StreetGames believes that trips like these are important formative experiences for young people, affording them the opportunity to mix with people from different backgrounds and broaden their horizons. Participants return home with increased ambitions, enhanced social skills and improved overall wellbeing. This summer, we’re looking forward to giving as many young people as possible the chance to go back in September with their own stories to tell.

How sport can inspire future generations

Blog

How sport can inspire future generations

Our CEO Mark Lawrie blogs about how #Inspiration2022 helps StreetGames to achieve our mission of a year-round multisport offer in low-income, underserved communities.

Each school holiday period, children and young people across the country enjoy of some of the brilliant holiday programmes on offer in their local neighbourhoods. For all too many of those living in underserved communities, these programmes will be a welcome respite from an otherwise bleak experience.

The sad reality is that for too many children and young people in the UK, the school holidays are far from the idyllic adventures depicted by books and media. For many households, half terms and summer holidays are a period of increased stress and hardship. Families already struggling to make ends meet suddenly find themselves forced to find extra cash to provide meals and snacks for their children, cash they simply don’t have. For working parents on low income, fixed-term contracts, the cost and difficulty of securing childcare in order to keep them in work is a tremendous hurdle.

These challenges have been well publicised in recent years, with fantastic campaigners like Marcus Rashford helping to show the country how tough school holidays can be for so many. It’s for this reason that programmes like the holiday activities and food programme (HAF) and StreetGames’ pioneering Fit and Fed campaign have evolved to fill that gap and to try to provide every young person with the chance to enjoy fun physical activity and healthy food during the school break.

At StreetGames we welcome the increased awareness of this issue and we’re proud to be part of the solution. But we also know that the problems with provision don’t begin with that last class bell. And while these holiday programmes are serving communities well in providing provision throughout the challenging holiday period, in many communities the start of term will herald the end of any suitable provision. Very few sports have a strong club base in low-income, underserved communities. With a few notable exceptions like boxing, football and rugby league, there are simply not enough opportunities to join clubs in these neighbourhoods. We know that most young people will only travel up to a mile from home to get involved in activity – it has to be on their doorstep and it has to be available when they want it. This includes finding suitable indoor spaces to ensure provision during the winter months.

Furthermore, even where some sort of sporting provision is available, it is not always appropriate to the needs of those young people who would benefit the most. Many young people want a multisport rather than a single sport offer – the varied and vibrant nature of a multisport offer attracts those young people who are less traditionally ‘sporty’ and are turned off by the more competitive and regimented nature of traditional sport clubs. Giving young people the chance to make choices about what is provided in their neighbourhoods encourages further involvement helps them to try a range of different sports and activities to find their niche. We know that for many young Doorstep Sports participants – 70% of whom don’t take part in any other organised community sporting activity – the chance to socialise with friends and engage in sport informally on their own terms is a key selling point.

Why does this matter? Because young people from low-income, underserved communities are likely to have less exposure to a broad range of different sporting experiences that develop their confidence and competence to participate. They are less likely to participate in extra-curricular activities and as a result of their household income (low income families spend on average £3.65 per week on sport and active leisure) will have limited if any access to leisure provision or sports club membership. A free or low-cost neighbourhood-based offer is therefore vital to increase their levels of sporting capital and a year-round offer contributes to building this sustainably.

At StreetGames, we recognise the transformational impact sport can make, helping young people to live healthier, safer, more successful lives. That’s why we work with LTOs and multiple funders and partners to help to piece together a year-round offer at a neighbourhood level, working within the confines of the system as it exists. This Doorstep Sport approach, when delivered in the right way (following the five rights) achieves a range of social outcomes for young people and communities but this does not take place overnight. For change to take place for young people, they need to be engaged on a regular and sustained basis. Whilst the nature of their lives may mean that they do not all attend every week, the provision of a year-round offer is essential, so that it is available when they are motivated to access it. The role of trusted adults in being available to support and engage young people when they need it is also a crucial feature of year-round provision.

2022 is a set to be a hugely exciting year for sport in the UK, with the Commonwealth Games, UEFA Women’s EURO and Rugby League World Cup joining annual events including Wimbledon and The Open in taking place on home soil. Further afield, the Winter Olympics, Women’s Cricket World Cup, FIFA World Cup and more round out a sporting calendar that is destined to inspire thousands more people to get active.

 But all too often, we’ve seen grand sporting events come and go with little or no plans in place to build on that enthusiasm and get more people active. And in many-low income, under-served communities the only ‘legacy’ left behind by the year’s most exciting sporting events is the national flags flying listlessly on balconies, with no vision or investment to transform that enthusiasm into a sustainable sporting offer for the next generation. Creating a meaningful community legacy of activity from major sporting events for young people who stand to benefit most demands our energy.

This year, we want to do more. We want to make sure that the ripple effect of hosting major events is felt by everybody, including those in underserved communities who still face barriers to accessing sport and physical activity.

 #Inspiration2022 is designed to do just that. With a programme of exciting events and opportunities, all tied in with these key sporting highlights, we’ll be working with our partners and our national network of Locally Trusted Organisations to bring a year-round, multisport offer of activities and experiences right to the doorstep of those young people who need it most.

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