Youth sports programme boosts aspirations of disadvantaged young people

Tristan Donovan
Friday, December 8, 2017

The aspirations and skills of more than 2,000 disadvantaged young Londoners have been improved by a three-and-a-half year programme of sports and out-of-school education, an evaluation has found.

The Sporteducate programme saw 33 community sports clubs across the capital run a mix of sport and educational activities for 10- to 18-year-olds from May 2013 to July 2017. The programme was run by the sports charity Sported and supported with funding and volunteers from Deutsche Bank.

The evaluation of Sporteducate, which involved surveys carried out with the young people at the start and end of the programme, found the proportion who were found to be doing good or excellent at school rose from 70 per cent to 87 per cent.

The percentage of young people who said they enjoyed learning rose from 61 per cent to 81 per cent and 57 per cent of participants said taking part in the programme had improved their behaviour at school.

Young people who joined the programme participated in sports activities including athletics, boxing and football. They also took part in educational activities that included supplementary maths classes, homework clubs, job skills sessions and personal mentoring from Deutsche Bank employees.

Almost all of the young people surveyed (96 per cent) said they felt more confident, had better communication skills and were more comfortable being part of a team after taking part in the programme.

One participant, 11-year-old Dominic, said: "I came to improve my maths and English, and prepare for my SATS. Lessons at school have lots of people, so it's hard to get help, but here it's a small group."

Chris Grant, chief executive of Sported, said: "Sporteducate's results prove how powerful sport and community groups can be in transforming young lives when given the right support and resources.

"Tackling educational inequality shouldn't stop at the school gates, it requires a holistic and creative approach in order to reach and engage those who could benefit the most."

Nicole Lovett, head of UK corporate social responsibility at Deutsche Bank, added: "We are delighted with the results of Sporteducate. The work that community sports clubs do every day with vulnerable young people, to ensure no one gets left behind, is testament to the success of the programme."

Deutsche Bank provided more than £891,000 of funding towards the project over the three years and 325 of the bank's employees volunteered to help with the programme.

The community sports clubs involved in the programme were able to access up to £9,000 a year in funding from Deutsche Bank to help them run the programme's activities. Using the insights gained from the programme, Sporteducate has created a toolkit to help other community groups run their own Sport for Development programmes.

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