I wanted to put on record my thanks for inviting me to appear at your recent evidence session of the Lords National Plan for Sport and Recreation Committee. It was a pleasure to discuss some of the relevant issues and to talk a little about StreetGames work within the wider Sport for Development sector.
I mentioned in my evidence to the Committee, the evaluation undertaken by Loughborough University into the first piece of work funded by Home Office ‘Youth Crime Impact Project’ – where eight pilot projects tested using sport. Loughborough identified ten critical success factors underpinning effective sport-based projects which can be aligned with different phases of the project development. The ten principles are:
The full report and summary report can be found here and the ten principles are described on pages 7-9 of the summary report.
The ten ingredients have subsequently been incorporated into training workshops and now are articulated really well in the Theory of Change (they are the enablers described on pages 4-5 and then expanded on within the subsequent pages). Within this document there are also links to all the previous literature reviews that have informed our development of this approach.
I also thought the Committee would find it useful to understand the ten principles of Doorstep Sport (DSC) which can be found here (see Table 3 page 15) which form the framework for the Lessons of Doorstep Sport Club Programme 2013-2017 which can be found here. The research emphasised the importance of getting the doorstep sport basics - time, place, price and style right together with the 10 operating principles to be successful:
These were established when Sport England invested £20m with StreetGames to create 1000 Doorstep Sport Clubs. These new style clubs continue to be run in areas of disadvantage and they are designed to attract young people who are not otherwise members of sports clubs or gyms. The hosts include many different types and sizes of community organisations and have multiple primary purposes. Some are sports organisations, some are youth clubs, some are housing associations and others are community centres. The clubs operate in community halls, car parks, beaches, youth clubs, MUGAs and leisure centres. DSC participants play all kinds of sports.
The Doorstep Sport Clubs programme research young people’s views of themselves, of their lives and their attitudes to being active and mapped that insight onto the neighbourhood’s assets and opportunities. They worked with their neighbourhood’s young people to create an activity offer that the young people felt was just about right: it was at the right time, in the right place, at the right price, in the right style and it involved the right people.
If I may, I did want to reflect on one of the final topics discussed during the session and which time unfortunately, did not allow us to fully explore, which was the question of overall departmental responsibility for Sport for Development within Government. I mentioned Department for Education (DfE) as playing a vital part in any future attempt to embed these principles more fully into national practice, and clearly they should play a significant role, especially in linking up children and young people from school into after school and community-based activity.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) of course, also plays a central role in this area and should be recognised, especially with the current Sporting Future strategy and the social outcomes advocated within it. Furthermore, with civil society and youth policy also within the remit of the department, there is a stronger case that DDCMS is the right department for overall responsibility for this important area. This is one of the reasons that, I’m sure I speak for many in the sector, when I say how much I welcome Sport England’s new strategy, Uniting the Movement, which represents the clearest attempt yet to establish a clear structure for investing in interventions and solutions that tackle the deep-seated inequalities that are the absolute focus of the vast majority of Sport for Development organisations.
One of the great, long-standing challenges of delivering sport focused on wider social outcomes is precisely that such work can defy easy placement within a central department. As StreetGames, we work closely with and receive funding from DDCMS, DfE, Department for Health and Social Care, The Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Ministry of Justice all who continue to recognise the role the right sporting activity can have in delivering their own priority outcomes. We would welcome a further discussion with the Committee to understand their views are about where the broad continuum of organisations and work on Sport for Development should best be located within government.
Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive, StreetGames
15 March 2021