Youth Justice Sport Fund’s success offers lessons in engagement

Youth Justice Sport Fund’s success offers lessons in engagement

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

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

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

The aims of the programme were twofold:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPORT 4 GOOD: Empowering communities through inclusive training and strengthening the Doorstep Sport Workforce

SPORT 4 GOOD: Empowering communities through inclusive training and strengthening the Doorstep Sport Workforce

At StreetGames, we are driven by our passion for creating an excellent, diverse local workforce that reflects the richness and diversity of the communities our LTOs serve. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every young person living in a low-income, underserved neighbourhood has access to the right sporting opportunities, free from barriers and limitations.

The StreetGames Training Academy plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. We develop and deliver bespoke training programmes that equip coaches, volunteers, and sports development staff with the necessary skills, confidence, and knowledge to bring Doorstep Sport to every underserved community.

Our training empowers the workforce to initiate positive change by focusing on areas such as building relationships, adapting mainstream sports delivery, community safety, as well as mental and physical well-being.

What sets us apart is our dedication to making learning easy, practical, and interactive. This approach allows us to reach and engage individuals who may not have had previous access to training or positive learning experiences. StreetGames training has a higher percentage of candidates from ethnically diverse communities than most NGB training offers – “we take our training to the doorstep of these communities instead of just online, or at central venues that suit us – we are the people beside the people and it’s all about ‘Frontline First’.” – Mark Roughsedge, Workforce Lead, LSE.

By expanding their knowledge, skills, and behaviours, we broaden their opportunities and boost their confidence to pursue further training, volunteering roles, and employment with Locally Trusted Organisations who are committed to utilising the power of Doorstep Sport to transform lives and local communities.

Over the last year, the StreetGames London South East team have delivered over 70 courses to nearly 1000 candidates, with 66% of participants coming from ethnically diverse communities, showing that we are training people who traditionally face barriers to mainstream coaching qualifications. 58% of those accessing our training also come from LSEG groups 1-4, showing that we are reaching those people who face numerous other barriers to CPD opportunities in the sports sector.

Through these initiatives, we have supported LTOs to adhere to the 5 rights of Doorstep Sport (Right Place, Right Time, Right Price, Right Style, Right Leaders) to make sure the community sport offer is what children and young people want it to be so they keep returning to be healthier, safer and more successful in their own communities.

Leading our workforce development work in London is, Dan Dodge and Mark Roughsedge who are our Workforce Development Managers.

For more detailed information about our comprehensive training offer, or to arrange for StreetGames to come and deliver training at your venue for your team and partners, please visit The Training Academy section on the StreetGames website or email

Nurturing Potential: The transformative power of volunteering with StreetGames for youth empowerment

Nurturing Potential: The transformative power of volunteering with StreetGames for youth empowerment

Written by Lucie Vickers, Head of Volunteering & Youth Voice

At StreetGames, we have always recognised that the benefits of sport and physical activity go far beyond the obvious boosts to mental and physical wellbeing. More than almost any other activity, sport has the ability to offer people new skills, new confidence, and an improved ability to work together as part of a team.

For many of the young people who take part in Doorstep Sport, one of the things they say made the biggest difference for them is the way that taking part in sport and physical activity has allowed them to break out of their shell and take on new roles and responsibilities, and this is especially true of our young volunteers.

StreetGames places great emphasis on social action and volunteering within its network of projects. The StreetGames Volunteer programme, which was established in 2007, offers volunteering opportunities for 16-25 year olds – helping them to make a positive difference in their local community.

A typical young volunteer will support and run local sport sessions, tournaments, assist at large-scale national sports tournaments, learn how to coach sport and design youth-led activities. By contributing in this way, they increase resources in their local community and provide more young people with the opportunity to participate in sport.  The programme also assists with developing their confidence, self-esteem and community leadership skills and they have the opportunity to gain recognised awards and qualifications.

A volunteer survey that was undertaken during 2015 with over 300 StreetGames Young Volunteers provided extremely useful feedback in relation to the value of the programme to the young volunteers and also its impact. The results showed clearly that the volunteers enjoy the time they spend volunteering, with – 97% stating that, when thinking about their last volunteering experience, they had enjoyed it (including 59% who stated that they had very much enjoyed it) – with respondents most commonly describing volunteering as: ‘fun’, ‘rewarding’, ‘helpful’ and ‘enjoyable’. But the benefits extend far beyond having fun, with volunteers highlighting the importance of benefits such as gaining leadership skills, additional qualifications, and benefiting from mentoring.

In recent years, StreetGames has been able to offer young volunteers the chance to develop even further through our annual residentials, camps or youth conferences. Last year at our Summer Camp, the Young Advisors took the lead on planning and delivering activities for the young people in attendance. For many of the Young Advisors, this was the first-time delivering activities to large groups of young people which some said they found daunting initially. However, by consistently putting themselves out of their comfort zone, the Young Advisors came away from camp with much improved confidence. The difference these experiences make to young people over a short time frame is quite extraordinary, with the overwhelming majority reporting that the 2-3 days they spend supporting peers at Summer Camp has a huge impact – ‘life changing’ in some instances.

Once engaged with StreetGames, young people can continue to be involved for years to come. Young Advisors are invited to be part of the alumni group and continue to be offered a variety of opportunities that SG are able to provide. The Head of Volunteering and regional staff remain in contact with those that wish to, on a regular basis. As a result of these relationships, StreetGames staff regularly provide references for young people embarking on their employability journey, and even provide signposting or application support. Some of our young volunteers have gone on to address audiences in the Houses of Parliament, lead sessions in online conferences, and even represented StreetGames at the Royal Garden Party.

Volunteering offers a fantastic pathway for young people in underserved communities to discover their passions, build their confidence and unleash their potential. At StreetGames, we’re committed to making sure as many young people as possible can benefit from those opportunities.


From Volunteering to Buckingham Palace: Unleashing confidence and lifelong connections with StreetGames

From Volunteering to Buckingham Palace: Unleashing confidence and lifelong connections with StreetGames

Written by Kate Turnbull, Young Advisor.

My journey with StreetGames started around three years ago, when I was supported into volunteering by my PE teacher at school and into a local organisation, Hat-Trick in Newcastle. I was later introduced to StreetGames by completing Activators and Level 1 qualifications in sports.

As I continued to volunteer as a sports coach, my confidence and ability to overcome challenges grew significantly over the years. This experience not only helped me regain the confidence I had lost during high school but also prepared me for future work environments.

In July and August of 2022, I was a Young Advisor for StreetGames’ Summer Camp in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, during which we even attended some of the games! At Summer Camp, along with a group of Young Advisors and StreetGames staff, we ran a camp in line with encouraging young people into sports and also providing an opportunity to experience camping. It was a fun time for me and helped me build up confidence, resilience and I met so many wonderful people along the way.

On the 9 May, I was invited to Buckingham Palace as the representative of all of the young people that had been positively impacted by StreetGames throughout the years. It was such a high honour to represent the many people who had been positively influenced by such a wonderful organisation.

My journey through StreetGames is a one that I will forever remember, making lifelong friends and developing my skills through sports.

Uniting the Movement: Addressing growing inequalities in sport and physical activity among lower socio-economic groups

Uniting the Movement: Addressing growing inequalities in sport and physical activity among lower socio-economic groups

Written by Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive

Sport England’s latest Active Lives survey has provided a glimmer of hope amid the pandemic-induced stagnation. Results from the survey show that activity levels among adults have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, a positive development. However, the report also reveals that the activity gap between the most affluent and the least affluent demographics has widened, with a significant 20% differential. This finding is a clear indication that persistent barriers continue to hinder adults from lower-socio-economic groups (LSEGs) in their participation in sport and physical activity.

The most recent annual Active Lives survey, conducted between November 2021 and November 2022, tracks physical activity and sport participation in England. The survey found that 63.1% of adults aged 16 and over in England were physically active for at least 150 minutes per week, which is the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended level of activity. This percentage is comparable to pre-pandemic levels and is an improvement on the previous year.

Despite this encouraging news, the survey also found that fewer people from lower socio-economic groups (LSEGs) were  likely to participate in physical activity than those from higher SEGs. In fact, while 72.6% of adults in higher socio-economic groups reported being ‘active’, for those in the lowest socio-economic groups that figure is just 52.7% and for those who are currently unemployed, the figures showed a sharp downward trend with just 45% recorded as  ‘active’. The activity disparity is also clear in relation to the least affluent places, with those in the most deprived areas seeing activity levels remaining stubbornly below the pre-pandemic baseline.

These persistent and growing inequalities are extremely concerning and highlight the need to redouble the focus on supporting and encouraging participation in sport and physical activity among disadvantaged groups.

That’s a vision shared by Sport England and clearly laid out in Uniting the Movement, their 10-year strategy to make sport and physical activity more equal and accessible. Uniting the Movement’s end goal of ‘a nation of more equal, inclusive and connected communities’ feels absolutely the right one, and a goal which only becomes more urgent as inequalities between the top and bottom of society continue to widen. At StreetGames we are and always have been committed to working alongside Sport England and the wider sector to ensure these aims can become reality.

At StreetGames we know that a promising approach to addressing this issue is to support Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs) that are already doing great work in engaging young people and their families in sport and physical activity. LTOs play a vital role in breaking down the barriers that can prevent people from LSEGs from participating in sport and physical activity. Moreover, local organisations have a unique understanding of the challenges faced by their neighbourhoods and can tailor their programs and initiatives to meet the specific needs of these communities. They can also provide support and encouragement to young people, who may be hesitant to participate in sport and physical activity due to a lack of confidence, inadequate equipment, or other obstacles.

By supporting these embedded, well-connected organisations, we can help ensure that everyone has access to a range of sport and physical activities that can improve their physical and mental health, boost their confidence and self-esteem, and enhance their social skills.

Making sport as accessible as possible, by ensuring every community has activity available close to home, at the right price, delivered in the right way is exactly what we at StreetGames work to provide through Doorstep Sport. Doorstep Sport offers accessible and affordable opportunities for young people to take part in informal sport within their local community through vibrant, varied, fun and sociable sessions. Effective Doorstep Sport delivery has a strong emphasis on youth leadership, offers personal development opportunities and encourages lifelong participation. Delivered in the right way, Doorstep Sport can also be hugely adaptable, and can be modified to achieve a wide range of positive impacts in communities, including combating holiday hunger, preventing youth offending, and supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Initiatives like Sport England’s Together Fund are a great contribution to this work. StreetGames are using this fund to support community organisations to provide attractive, varied and vibrant sporting offers for the young people in the underserved communities in which they work. Examples of this in action are how we’ve supported the East African Association based in South London to provide new activity sessions, facilitate trips, and offer wrap-around support for young people facing issues linked to housing and immigration, and our work with Salford Community Leisure who organise a range of activities, including the Salford Summer Festival, to promote sports opportunities in underprivileged areas. In this final phase of the fund, StreetGames have supported over 100 community organisations to deliver life-enhancing Doorstep Sport to young people in their local area.

But we also need to tackle the feeling that exists for too many young people that playing sport or being part of major sporting events is for other people and beyond their reach. For many young people living in underserved communities, major sporting events can feel a million miles away – geographically and culturally. That’s why StreetGames launched our Inspiration campaign last year to open up access to major sporting events for young people, create brilliant volunteering opportunities and give young people the chance to broaden their horizons and set their sights higher. With 24,000 young people from 725 communities engaged in last year’s campaign, we know the appetite is there – what is too often missing is the means.

While the overall bounce back to pre-pandemic activity levels is a positive development, it is concerning to see the activity gap between the most affluent and least affluent demographics widen. To address this disparity, we need to focus on supporting local community organisations that are already doing great work engaging young people and their families in sports and physical activities. By doing so, we can help create a more equitable and inclusive environment in which everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of sport and physical activity.

Sports Leadership Academy

Sports Leadership Academy

We are delighted to share that applications are now open for a new and exciting sports and employability programme – the Sports Leadership Academy.

The one-year programme is being managed by London Youth and supported by StreetGames and League Leaders, in partnership with the Mayor of London (MoL) and London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

The Sports Leadership Academy will increase the skills, knowledge, confidence and aspirations of 100 young people aged 14-24 who live in some of London’s most underserved communities. It will be delivered through a series of bespoke training opportunities, practical work experiences and Sports Industry Insight Sessions.

Central to the Sports Leadership Academy will be the formation of a Youth Academy Board, made up of 20 of the 100 young people, ensuring the programme is created by young people, for young people. Youth voice and the lived experiences of young people will be the key driver behind the curriculum.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • Identify and engage underserved young people who desire to enter the sport workforce
  • Provide exciting, fun and positive development opportunities to inspire and ensure the next generation of the sports workforce are more work ready and have greater knowledge and understanding of opportunities in the sector
  • Work with partners, youth organisations and young people to better understand underserved young people’s journeys, including barriers and the key pillars of support and training required
  • Allow youth voice to play a key role in programme design and development, ensuring the programme is created for young people, by young people

How to Apply

Let us help you develop your young people to become more work ready. From your organisation, we need one committed young person to be part of our Youth Academy Board, and four others to be part of the opportunity.

Applications are now open and the deadline to apply for this opportunity is Monday 15th May, at 5pm. We are especially keen to hear from organisations in: Bexley, Brent, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham and Redbridge.

To find out more about the programme, access the Application Guidance Document and submit an application, please visit the dedicated programme page on London Youth’s website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Marco (Employability Manager) or Radhika (Programmes Officer) at

StreetGames launches this year’s Inspiration campaign, bringing unforgettable sporting experiences to underserved communities

StreetGames launches this year’s Inspiration campaign, bringing unforgettable sporting experiences to underserved communities

This weekend, 30 young people from Girls United in South London got to witness the Women’s League Cup Final at Selhurst Park, marking the start of a series of unforgettable experiences that the Inspiration campaign promises to bring in 2023. 

Following the massive success of last year’s campaign, which connected over 24,000 young people and 725 community organisations to major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Rugby League World Cup, this year’s campaign is set to take things even further by creating even more access to major sporting events, opening doors to experiences that will stay with young people from underserved communities for a lifetime. 

The Inspiration campaign isn’t just about providing unforgettable sporting experiences for young people – it’s also about creating real change. StreetGames aims to leverage its expertise, knowledge, and connections to influence mainstream sports providers to better meet the needs of young people from low-income communities. 

By collaborating with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) that share its commitment to creating a lasting impact, StreetGames aims to identify those with the potential to make the greatest impact on young people. Together, we will work to develop a strategic approach that ensures all young people have equal opportunities to access and enjoy sports, regardless of their background. 

The campaign will also provide young people with volunteer opportunities to support their local communities. To make sure that these volunteering opportunities are maximised, StreetGames will provide training and development support to community organisations in the StreetGames network.  

Mark Lawrie, CEO of StreetGames said: “We were blown away by the success of the #Inspiration2022 campaign, which saw first-hand how connecting young people with major sporting events can have a ripple effect, inspiring them to get more involved in sport and physical activity. With the Inspiration campaign in 2023, we want to build on this success and create even more opportunities for young people to get involved.” 

“We know that volunteering can be a hugely rewarding experience for young people, and can help them to develop skills and confidence. By linking up young people with key people within NGBs and event organising committees, we can create more opportunities for them to make a real difference in their local communities.” 

Abigail Ingram, London Manager at Girls United said: “The Inspiration campaign is truly life-changing for the young people we work with. By providing opportunities to attend major sporting events like the Women’s League Cup final, we are giving them memories that will last a lifetime. But it’s more than just the thrill of the game – attending these events is an experience that shapes their development in countless ways. From navigating public transport to witnessing the inspiring players in action, it’s a journey that opens doors and broadens horizons.” 

Why are residentials important to young volunteers?

Why are residentials important to young volunteers?

For most young volunteers that attend StreetGames residentials, it is the first time they’ve had the opportunity to travel outside of their communities and play a crucial role in their development.

In October, StreetGames held its first residential for young volunteers since May 2018. This was the first opportunity since the pandemic began for young volunteers to come together at the picturesque Brathay Trust Outdoor Activities centre in the Lake District.

StreetGames residentials have been taking place since 2007 and bring together young volunteers from some of the most deprived areas of the UK. For most, it is the first time they have been away from home, and offers them a chance to experience the world beyond their own neighbourhood. They return home with different outlooks on life, ready to work hard to achieve a better future for themselves.

A recent report by the Children’s Commissioner Rachel De Souza offered a fresh perspective on what young people are thinking and feeling as we begin to recover from the pandemic. What young people make very clear throughout the report is that they want more and better opportunities to get active, socialise and enjoy sport.

Making friends and developing skills

StreetGames residentials are designed and delivered to support all participants taking part to develop their teamwork, leadership and communication skills. But it is often the experiences they have that are the most valuable – participants face their fears, they support and empathise with others, and they make connections and friends that can last a lifetime.

Young people tell us how special it is to meet others who are like them from across the country, these shared experiences create a bond and a sense of belonging that come with meeting new people and being out of your comfort zone. The skills, knowledge and behaviour that the young volunteers develop at a residential are all transferable, lifelong skills that will prepare them for future challenges that life throws up.

Our three-day leadership course has been designed over a number of years by our volunteering expert staff, with significant input from young people. Our most experienced and talented volunteers are called ‘Young Advisors’, and we select six of these to play a crucial role in the delivery of the course.

This in turn helps develop their skills even further and provides them with these experiences that they can share during job interviews or on applications to make them stand out. It’s an incredibly special experience getting to watch the journey of a Young Advisor, from the first planning meeting to seeing them open the residential and bring all their ideas and hard work to life.

Mountain top moments

Youth development is one of the key ingredients in StreetGames’ central programme Doorstep Sport. The opportunities and experiences created through residentials really help to motivate and further empower young volunteers to make a difference in their communities. At StreetGames our ethos is getting young people to be the best that they can be and that means supporting them to take control of their lives.

We have clear evidence that our bespoke leadership course has a profound impact on the lives of the young people who attend; research undertaken by StreetGames shows that these ‘Mountain top moments’ are potential turning points, and if StreetGames can provide more of these moments then we are meeting our mission of addressing the issues faced by those living in the poorest communities.

StreetGames wins Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award

StreetGames wins Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award

StreetGames has been announced as one of the 20 national charities receiving the award, which recognises outstanding work empowering and supporting 16-25 year olds across the UK.

Since StreetGames was established in 2007, our Doorstep Sport approach has enabled over 30,000 young people aged 14-25 to volunteer, give back to their local communities and develop transferable skills for the future. Having been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award in 2012, we have continued to grow our volunteer impact year on year, creating more opportunities for young people to try new sports and activities, develop skills, go to new places and meet new people.

Doorstep Sport sessions delivered by the fantastic community organisations in our network are at the core of creating these opportunities, with young people encouraged to help shape sessions, make their voices heard, and take on volunteering and leadership roles. These roles vary from delivering activities or mentoring other young people, to assisting with admin or social media, ensuring that everyone has the chance to take part.

In addition to the opportunities provided locally by our network, young people are also encouraged to take up youth empowerment and development opportunities with StreetGames ourselves. These include:

  • Becoming a Young Advisor for a StreetGames event or project, taking a leading role in planning and delivery

  • Taking on key roles at our national and regional conferences and network events, including as speakers, comperes, and workshop facilitators

  • Undertaking Peer Research to understand and amplify the voices of other young people in their local areas

  • Playing active roles on our recruitment panels for jobs within the charity

  • Attending events such as our 2022 Youth Summit, providing opportunities for young people to share their opinions and views as well as developing key skills for employment

Our #Inspiration2022 Awards were an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work of young volunteers up and down the country, with the stories of our nominees, regional winners and national champions all highlighting both the invaluable contribution of the young people themselves, and the brilliant work of our network to support them to thrive within their volunteering roles.

Lucie Vickers, StreetGames Head of Volunteering and Youth Voice, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award. Creating opportunities for young people from low-income, underserved communities to become volunteers and future community leaders is at the heart of our Doorstep Sport approach, and we are delighted that the impact of this work has been recognised through this prestigious award.”

Read more about our youth voice and volunteering work here, or contact us to find out more about current opportunities.

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