A research report released today highlights affordable access to sport as being the vital key to delivering a genuine legacy of increased participation from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It points out that the most disadvantaged members of the 2012 generation, youths from impoverished urban areas such as Newport, Pendle and the Olympic Borough of Newham, are less likely to participate in sport where a cost is involved or there is a need to travel beyond their local neighbourhood.
The report, entitled ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ was delivered by Brunel University and the Coca-Cola Foundation after a two-year research study of over 3000 young people across the UK in five disadvantaged neighbourhoods (in Newham, Newcastle, Birmingham, Pendle and Newport).
It was commissioned to help Coca-Cola Great Britain’s national sports charity partner StreetGames, plan effective legacy grassroots programmes for young people in deprived areas of the UK.
Coca-Cola GB earlier this month announced a series of measures as part of its on-going commitment to educate consumers about the importance of energy balance.
Through a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, the report identified the top factors to be addressed when providing the most motivating opportunities for young people to engage in sport – and hence to build a participation legacy from the Games.
1) The style of sports coaching is crucial. - Young people favoured informal and ‘fun-focussed’ sports coaching styles encouraging them to take up and stay in sport.
2) Offering incentives and rewards helped to create a strong sense of belonging to a sports group and encouraged more regular participation and retention over time. These included free t-shirts, membership cards and merchandise, and ‘once in a lifetime’ trips to major sporting events.
3) Delivering sport locally – on the communities’ ‘doorsteps’ - helps to make any cost of participation, such as travel to sport sessions, more affordable.
4) Including young people in the planning of sport sessions is fundamental to them becoming properly engaged fostering a sense of both ownership and belonging that they may not experience elsewhere in their lives.
5) Sports coaches are crucial for developing young people personally and socially, and for realising their true potential outside of sport. Coaches were seen as role models for the young people and were rated as more effective in getting participants active than teachers, family or friends.
Dr Laura Hills, senior lecturer in youth sport and the research team lead at University of Brunel said:
“StreetGames is successfully providing sporting opportunities for disadvantaged young people many of whom have little engagement with physical activity in other contexts. Providing free or very cheap sessions is crucial as even raising the cost of a sport session above £1 in the areas sampled would stop an individual from participating.
“That's why partnerships like this are so important. Overall, young people who participated in the StreetGames projects showed improved fitness levels, improved social skills (making new friends - for example from different schools or estates, better team-work and improving relationships with adults) along with an increased sense of 'sporting citizenship' - the knowledge, skills and confidence to try new activities.
“Initially, some of the young people that participated in the study felt that the Olympic and Paralympic Games had little relevance to them. Their views changed after taking part in StreetGames projects, with most feeling that they were inspired to do more sport and try some of the new sports they were introduced to within the sessions."
The ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ report is available to download from www.coca-cola.co.uk/legacyreport and has been publicly released by Coca-Cola GB and StreetGames to show ‘what works’ in creating a sporting legacy of increased participation and activity for young people following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It describes the unique model of sports delivery employed by StreetGames, who provide sports coaching in disadvantaged communities ‘delivered to the right place, at the right time, in the right style and at the right price’, as a blueprint for success in getting more young people living in areas of high deprivation engaged in sports and activities.
Designed to share best practice with organisations with an interest in creating a sporting legacy, encouraging behaviour change and increasing activity levels in young people, the research demonstrates that when applied to new sports projects these specific tactics worked successfully to build a sustainable legacy of increased sport and physical activity amongst young people: with the attendant benefits of increased fitness levels and improved self-confidence and self-esteem.
Jane Ashworth, CEO StreetGames said:
“The findings of Brunel University’s ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ report highlight the importance of Doorstep Sport to young people living in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities and StreetGames is extremely grateful to the Coca-Cola Foundation for supporting this research.
“Doorstep Sport – sport on the doorstep of young people living in disadvantaged communities at the right time, for the right price, to the right place and in the right style – is the StreetGames delivery approach and each aspect of this has been shown to be crucial by the Brunel report. Cost, activity outside school and engaging young people in planning are just a few of the examples drawn out by the report and StreetGames will work to ensure that these and the other findings are built upon and embraced amongst our network of Doorstep Sport deliverers.
“StreetGames changes sport, communities and lives, but this would not be possible without the support of organisations like Coca-Cola Great Britain. With this in mind we are delighted that Coca-Cola Great Britain has extended our partnership until 2015 and we will use the findings of ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ to ensure that more youngsters living in our most deprived communities have access to sport and all the benefits this brings.”
Jon Woods, General Manager Coca-Cola GB and Ireland, said:
“We committed to using our sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games to deliver a genuine social and sporting legacy of encouraging more young people around the country to be more active, more often. Back in 2010, the Coca-Cola Foundation commissioned the ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ report to help examine the best way to do this.
“It’s clear from the report that the StreetGames model of sport delivery really does make a difference. It’s one that young people find affordable and accessible and through opportunities like making new friends from across their local community and gaining coaching qualifications makes a positive and lasting difference to their lives and to the communities in which they live.
“We’ve just renewed our partnership with StreetGames for another 3 years to 2015 because we’re committed to inspire more young people to be more active and manage their energy balance. This report is an endorsement that we are on the right track.
“By showing what works and why with StreetGames’ unique way of doing sport, we hope that we can play a part in improving the future for thousands more young people around the UK.”
To view the full ‘Building a Participation Legacy’ report and the ‘Best Practice Guide’ visit: http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/legacyreport
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Jack Mansell, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment- firstname.lastname@example.org, 07765 254 460
NOTES TO EDITORS:
• Earlier this month Coca-Cola Great Britain announced the three-year renewal of its partnership with StreetGames, until 2015, as part of its commitment to help more people to be more active, more often. Alongside a series of measures to inform, provide greater choice and educate consumers about energy balance, encouraging people to live more physically active lifestyles is part of the Company’s drive to take action to be part of the solution to the global problem of obesity
• Visit www.coca-cola.co.uk/comingtogether for further details
• Coca-Cola GB’s partnership work with StreetGames is just one of the ways the Company is delivering on the pledges it made as part of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal on Physical Activity.
• The charity is dedicated to developing sport with disadvantaged communities and to making sport accessible to young people regardless of their social circumstances.
• Launched in 2006, the charity runs projects in over 300 locations across England, Scotland and Wales with over 50,000 participants in 2012 with a significant proportion of participants comprising females, BME communities and young people aged 13+.
• During 2012, Sport England published a new five year strategy for the period 2012-17, which sets out an overall aim of wanting to have: “Transformed sport in England so that sport becomes a habit for life for more people and a regular choice for the majority” by 2017. StreetGames is playing its part in this strategy, targeting a distinct hard-to-reach population.
• StreetGames projects use neighbourhood parks, open spaces within housing estates, multi-use-games areas (MUGAs) and community sports halls to run sessions within the subjective neighbourhood of the target population.
• With Coca-Cola GB’s help, StreetGames hold a number of sports events and festivals throughout the year to bolster participant retention – in 2012 an annual total of 392 events were held.
• StreetGames provides significant opportunities for access to training workshops and qualifications via the StreetGames Training Academy. This provides an important role in terms of increasing the local sporting capacity within disadvantaged areas - with over 900 new qualifications being achieved during 2012 and over 1,100 learners attending training workshops.
• StreetGames is not just about developing sport for sport’s sake; its projects play an important role in improving local communities and the lives of those people living within them. In particular, many projects are playing an important role in helping to develop stronger and safer communities, improved health and well-being and improved community cohesion.
For more information on how the work of StreetGames projects is helping to change communities and change lives, visit http://www.streetgames.org