The power of sport to enhance the life-chances of young people growing up in deprived areas is being harnessed by a £6.65m investment by Sport England in a new three-year alliance with national sports charity StreetGames.
Jane Ashworth, the CEO of StreetGames explains how the funding will allow the charity to build on 11 years of work. “StreetGames has helped communities throughout England to become healthier, safer and more successful by leveraging the experience of its award-winning coaches, the local know-how of its 1,000-strong network, and the latest in community sport research and insight”.
StreetGames Q & A
Q. Why did you apply for the funding?
Sport England had invested in our Doorstep Sport Club programme, resulting in the creation of 1,000 modern sports clubs for under-active and disadvantaged youth. The four year programme was delivered on time, on target and on budget by over 300 community organisations.
However, Sport England’s Active Lives Children survey, showed that only 1.2m (17.5 per cent) of children in England meet the guidelines for recommended daily activity, with those from lower income families less likely to be active than those from higher income families. It was evident that more needed to be done.
Q. How significant is the funding?
£6.65m is a major sum of money and an enormous 'difference-maker' for community sports providers.
It is an incredible vote of confidence in our track record.
We are well versed in managing grants of all sizes, from small to mid-sized funding allocations, including £500,000 from Sport England in 2018, to even more substantial, multi-million-pound contracts.
We are experts in activating strategic partnerships with national and local government departments, Sport England and Sport Wales, police authorities and a host of other partners and funders, so that those partnerships have the maximum impact where it is needed most.
Q. How will you use the funding?
We will bring together community organisations including local authorities, devolved structures, businesses and other charities, creating ‘clusters’ to activate the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. We will nurture within them a spirit of collaboration. Clusters will move from being a set of organisations that co-exist locally through to a collective workforce with the ability to create coproduced local action. A go-to group if you will, to create impact through sport and physical activity.
Our on-the-ground expertise will support them to meet the most pressing needs their communities face and to achieve their common goals. Each cluster will adopt an asset-based approach that puts local young people and community organisations at the centre of decision making.
Every cluster will be different: shaped by and for the communities they serve.
We will seek to embed a sustainable approach to planning and ongoing development.
Q. How are you going to tackle inactivity in these areas?
We will be bringing our highly successful Doorstep Sport programme to 50 of the most disadvantaged communities throughout England.
Doorstep Sport succeeds where other sporting offers fail, by eliminating many of the hidden challenges that preclude young people from taking part. Sessions occur locally, at the right time, place and price point to suit our young participants, under the guidance of experienced coaches from trusted local organisations, and with a special emphasis on inclusion, confidence and fun.
Q. Will you partner with other organisations?
StreetGames’ work is delivered in partnership with the StreetGames Alliance of around 1,000 locally trusted organisations, working in disadvantaged communities across the UK. The collective power and reach of that alliance enables unparalleled access to young people growing up in over 4,000 poverty-hit localities. The alliance is made up of all different types of organisations from local authority, housing associations, community groups and sport clubs.
Q & A with Chris Perks, director of local relationships, Sport England.
Q. How did you work with StreetGames during the application phase?
We have had a partnership with StreetGames since 2012 and have worked with them in the past with the Doorstep Clubs initiative.
To secure this funding, StreetGames have been working with us since 2017 to develop a new partnership that meets the shared outcomes of each organisation. They have provided us with their insight and learning into their audience - young people from low socio-economic backgrounds.
We were also interested in how they work with and enable a significant number of organisations within local communities to collaborate and what their successes were.
We considered the work that StreetGames do in terms of Sport England strategy relating to things like local delivery, children and young people, health and volunteering. We are keen to work with StreetGames in a different and holistic manner to meet a wide range of our outcomes and targets, hence taking this approach.
It involved a significant number of meetings and conversations. The ultimate decision to invest in StreetGames rested with the Sport England Board.
The investment doesn’t come from a particular fund. It is an investment to deliver on outcomes and targets: reducing inactivity, increasing the diversity of volunteers and improving the well-being of young people.
Q. Why did you choose to fund the organisation?
StreetGames could demonstrate clearly how they could help us meet the aims and targets of our 'Towards an Active Nation’ startegy. Their proposal was insight-led. They could articulate what they had been doing, what they had learnt and what difference it had made to a young person and the community organisations it works with.
They are working with an audience that we want to understand – that is, individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds. An audience that we also want to help access physical activity opportunities, play sport and be able to keep physically active no matter what they encounter in their lives.
StreetGames can help us towards achieving our target of 100,000 people from low socio-economic groups becoming more active as well as contributing towards other outcomes such as mental and physical well-being, individual and community development.
Through their network of locally trusted organisations within 50 areas in England, and their demonstrated reach to young people in deprived communities, we are investing in them to help provide activities delivered by local people in a way that will make them sustainable and not reliant on funding. This will include looking at training local workforces both paid and volunteer.
Q. How did you determine how much funding to award?
Funding amounts are determined against a number of factors, such as the sheer numbers of disadvantaged young people who can be reached, past successes and good prospects for sustainability.
The funding will be distributed over time during the three-year period. StreetGames provided budgets for their application and these are monitored regularly, and revisions made if required. StreetGames can start accessing the funds as soon as their Lottery Funding Agreement is signed by both parties and conditions of that agreement are met in a timely manner.
Q. How will you work with StreetGames during this partnership?
We are keen to learn and understand the impact of their work and how we may use this to improve our work and share with other partners.
We will continue to meet with StreetGames on a regular basis to discuss the progress of their work both towards targets and the social outcomes. It provides an opportunity for several Sport England areas of work to come together with StreetGames, to check, challenge and learn. In doing so we hope to widen the understanding of what StreetGames do and how we can connect them into other partnerships and work, to avoid duplication and maximise effort and learning.
Q. What advice would you give to organisations considering applying for funding?