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Ruff Guide to Community Sport Initiatives

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The UK Government clearly recognises the important role that sport and physical activity programmes can play in community development. To this end in the last 5 - 10 years a number of strategies and action plans have been produced that harness the power of sport and physical activity in developing community engagement and cohesion, and building capacity within the community. The programmes reviewed within this report provide examples of different types of programmes that have either proved to be, or at the interim stage seem to be, successful in building social capital.

Positive Futures and StreetGames have proved successful in engaging young people from areas of social deprivation either themselves at risk of offending or their peer group. By linking opportunities to participate in sport with educational opportunities such as Open College Network or sport coaching qualifications, young people have been drawn back into participating within their communities. The Healthy Living Centres programme has utilised participation in sport or physical activity as one means of improving health and wellbeing as well as up-skilling and empowering local communities. As a result, strong community networks have been built increasing social cohesion. Step into Sport encourages young people to volunteer and then rewards young people for their efforts with vocational qualifications and experience. Both young people and their local communities have benefited. The DCMS sponsored community sports coaching scheme has been successful in both supporting the professionalisation of coaching as well as increasing the numbers of skilled coaches on the ground delivering programmes in priority areas within communities.

One of the most commonly encountered difficulties has been the sustainability of funding for the programme. In some instances, this problem has been circumnavigated through training members of the local community to deliver the schemes, thus becoming self-funding. However, this is not possible to achieve in all instances. The search for alternative funding streams and uncertainties that this engenders can impact upon the level of community engagement. In addition, many schemes have not been effectively evaluated perhaps due to the limited availability of funding, whereas in some cases either broad spectrum or even several different interventions with similar aims have taken place in the same location. However, robust evidence is required in order to build the case for sustained funding for programmes.

In all cases, the success of the programmes has been dependent upon the establishment of committed and strategically appropriate networks and partnerships incorporating statutory bodies (Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts) as well as local voluntary sector organisations and community groups. In addition, ensuring that communities are involved in the development and administration of the programmes has encouraged community engagement and ownership. The success of StreetGames and Positive Futures in engaging with hard to reach groups can largely be attributed to detached outreach work carried out by teams already on the ground with established relationships with the target groups. All schemes acknowledged that the traditional sports coach is not necessarily properly equipped to work with socially and economically disadvantaged young people. Rather community sports coaches require a blend of youth work, community development and sports coaching skills, knowledge and competencies. The work of Positive Futures and Skills Active in developing National Vocational Qualifications for delivering sport and physical activity within deprived communities will be helpful in the next phase of the CODES programme.



This Ruff guide is based on initiatives in operation in 2006, it provides an introduction and directional signs to initiatives designed to develop communities, to develop a further understanding of the theoretical mechanisms of community development please see our Social capital and social inclusion links.



Policy Context in England

In 2002 the UK Government published Game Plan (Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, 2002), the strategy for delivering its sport and physical activity objectives in England, written by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. In this document the government recognised the role that sport could play in helping to achieve a number of ambitious government goals, across health, education, economic and local community sectors. The strategy itself focuses on the importance of increasing grassroots participation for both sporting and health benefits, estimating that physical inactivity currently costs the nation at least £2bn a year (or 54,000 lives lost prematurely). It also recognised that sport could make a significant contribution in other areas, such as crime reduction, social inclusion and help with the development of young people in schools. Sport receives public funding - through both the Lottery and the Exchequer. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is the government department tasked with delivering the recommendations of Game Plan 2002, specifically three Government Public Service Agreement (PSA) Targets:

PSA Target 1 - Enhance the take up of sporting opportunities by 5 to 16 year olds so that the percentage of school children in England who spend a minimum of two hours each week on high quality PE and school sport within and beyond the curriculum increases from 25 per cent in 2002 to 75 per cent by 2006 and to 85 per cent by 2008, and to at least 75 per cent in each School Sport Partnership by 2008. (Joint target with Department for Education and Skills).

PSA Target 2 - Halt the year on year increase in obesity among children under 11 by 2010, in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole. (Joint target with Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health).

PSA Target 3 - by 2008, increasing the number of people who participate in active sports at least 12 times a year by 3 per cent, and increasing the number who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity level sport, at least three times a week by 3 per cent.

The DCMS work through three major non-departmental public bodies (NDPB's) to deliver these public service agreements and the recommendations of Game Plan. They are Sport England, which is largely responsible for delivering community sport and PSA Target 3 and 1 (making a contribution to PSA 2); Youth Sports Trust responsible for school sport and primarily PSA Target 1; and UK Sport focused on elite sport and winning medals. Sport England has developed a community sport delivery system to ensure that local needs and practice informs current and future policy and funding priorities. It is comprised of three key components: Regional Sports Board (9 Regions in England), the County Sports Partnerships (49 in England) and Local Community Networks (mainly but not exclusively based on Local Authority geography) and is designed to identify and fund local interventions that lead to an increase in participation by 1% year on year. This involves working with and through voluntary agencies, School Sport Partnerships and the National Governing Bodies of Sport. In addition to working with local government, the Sport England Regions also work with the Regional Development Agencies. These are NDPBs tasked with regeneration, supporting the local populations, with access to training and employment, encouraging businesses and marketing and promoting their regions.

Each sport has a National Governing Body responsible for the administration of the sport from grass roots participation through to elite athletes/players, supporting the club, coach and volunteer infrastructure. Sport England and UK Sport fund 32 NGBs in sports to promote participation and win Olympic medals, respectively. The School Sport Partnership programme was established by DCMS and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to facilitate achievement of PSA Target 1. The programme is based around groupings ofprimary, secondary and special schools with a specialist sports college acting as a hub. The Partnership Development Manager (PDM), usually based at the 'hub', is responsible for managing the partnership, whilst each secondary school has a schools sports co-coordinator, with a Link Teacher at each primary and special school responsible for leading the strategy locally. By 2005, there were 12134 schools within the School Sport Partnership programme arranged within 312 partnerships (Quick, Dalziel & Bremner, 2005).

In 2005 Sport England published guidance documents for policy makers and practitioners highlighting the contribution that sport can make in community development and the delivery of shared priorities of central and local government (Sport Playing its Part, 2005). An integrated approach to the implementation of government strategies, initiatives, improvement tools and performance frameworks is required to address cross cutting issues such as health, community safety and education. There is also an increasing emphasis on involvement of the community, not only in decision-making but also in measuring the performance of public sector agencies.

UK Government has recognised that sport brings benefit to all the community as an enjoyable leisure activity, providing opportunities for social interaction and as a contributor to quality of life. It is well documented that access to sports facilities or services that meet local needs can positively influence the community's perceptions of their local area, particularly for children and young people (Crabbe, 2000; Gratton & Henry, 2001). There is also strong evidence that high quality sport and physical activity delivered effectively and in the right settings, can also contribute to: healthy communities and tackling health inequalities; safe, strong and sustainable communities; economic vitality and workforce development; and meeting the needs of children and young people (Gratton & Henry, 2001; Long & Sanderson, 2001).

One of the shared priorities of local and central government is to promote healthier communities and tackle health inequalities. As a consequence, health outcomes feature strongly in community and strategic plans, local public service agreements and the local area agreements of local authorities, Primary Care Trusts (PCT), National Health Service (NHS) trusts and other partners. Recognition of the need to invest in preventative health is a growing priority in government strategies and spending plans, with the recent publication by the Department of Health of Choosing Activity: a physical activity action plan (2005) in support of the Public Health White Paper Delivering Choosing Health; Making Health Choices Easier (2005). This presents a coordinated action plan for national and local government, public sector agencies, businesses, community groups and the public, aimed at increasing physical activity levels across the whole population as a preventative health measure. Considerable research evidence is available that demonstrates the positive impact that sport has on the health of individuals and communities. The 2004 Chief Medical Officer (CMO) report At least five a week - Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health (Donaldson, 2004) unequivocally sets out the evidence of the impact of physical activity on health, and the need for a significant culture shift to ensure that everyone becomes more active.

Research studies undertaken at both local and national levels provide evidence of the impact that sport can have in helping to create safe and sustainable communities (Gratton & Henry, 2001; Long & Sanderson, 2001; Scully et al, 1999). Sporting activities and events contributeto the development of stronger social networks and more cohesive communities, strengthening community engagement and capacity building. They provide opportunities for social engagement, often with alternative peer groups, which can create awareness of difference and break down barriers for individuals and communities. Sport can be used as an engagement mechanism to build relationships with hard to reach individuals or groups and can open up alternative channels that enable local people, in particular those who are alienated from mainstream services, to obtain advice and information on a wide range of health, social, education and employment issues. Furthermore, appropriately structured sports activities can contribute to a reduction in the likelihood of a young person participating in crime or anti-social behavior by addressing some of the factors that have been identified as increasing the risk of youth offending (Sports Activities and Youth Offending, Office of the Deputy Prime Minster 2005). Sport can offer other role models and alternative social and peer groups with different views, attitudes and expectations and provide activity choices that prevent boredom, improve cognitive skills and present physical and mental challenges. In addition, the provision of local sports facilities at a neighbourhood level alongside programmes of sports activities, developed in consultation with young people, can provide alternative activities for young people to participate in and places for young people to congregate. Taking young people away from the streets helps to ease tensions between the generations and leads to perceptions of better community safety. Well designed and high quality new sport and recreational facilities and open spaces, with sustainable future programmes of sporting use, can make a significant contribution to the physical and economic regeneration of an area and create a sense of place and pride.

The government's strategies, including those for neighbourhood renewal (A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal, 2001), workforce skills (Skills: Getting on in Business, Getting on at Work, 2005) and sustainable communities (Together We Can, 2005), recognise that employment and enterprise are at the heart of regenerating disadvantaged areas and that there is a need to tackle a range of issues including declining industries, changing consumer demand, high unemployment, low skills and under investment by business. The Home Office led government action plan Together We Can (2005) aims to promote the active involvement of citizens, communities and public bodies in working together to improve people's quality of life. The cross-cutting nature of work in this area is demonstrated by the involvement of twelve government departments in the delivery of this action plan (Cabinet Office, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education and Skills, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty's Treasury, The Home Office, and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister since May 2006 Department for Communities and Local Government). At a local level many community strategies include economic vitality or prosperity within their priority objectives, recognising the need to continue to support and build the local economy, local businesses and address specific local challenges. In the majority of areas local people place the local economy and employment, along with education and skills, among their top priority issues. Sport is a powerful tool to enhance the physical fabric of communities, to stimulate the local economy, and to improve its image with outside investors and tourists. The sports and leisure sector and its supporting industries are significant employers and contributors to the economy.

Meeting the needs of children and young people is a high priority at the current time for both the public and the government, with the momentum for change increasing as a result of recent legislation. Children and young people outcomes are a feature of many community and strategic plans and are included in local public service agreements and the pilot local area agreements of local authorities, health, education and care providers, and other partners. Central government has been working with local government to undertake a significant national programme of change to the way government works with children, young people and their families to improve their lives, and in the quality, accessibility and coherence of services provided to them. Recent legislation The Children Act (HM Government, 2004) sets out new statutory duties and accountabilities for children's services on local government and other service providers, which is supported by the new national framework for children and young people set out in Every Child Matters: Change for Children (HM Government, 2004).

A fundamental aspect of the Every Child Matters national framework is that services are to be built around the needs of children and young people. The framework is based on five key outcomes that children and young people say are important to their well-being now and in later life: being healthy; staying safe; enjoying and achieving; making a positive contribution; and achieving economic well-being. It aims to improve these outcomes for all children and to narrow the gap in outcomes between those who do well and those who do not.

Examples of Local/Regional Initiatives

In this section the aims/objectives, activities, outcomes, and evaluation of five different types of sport/physical activity projects, designed to facilitate community development are described. Examples have been selected that reflect the breadth of appeal that sport and physical activity programmes can engender across age, ethnic, wealth, health and gender divides.


StreetGames projects provide positive sporting activities during the summer holidays for children and young people from deprived areas; currently in some 20 localities around the country. The projects are funded nationally through the Football Foundation and the Neighbourhood Renewal unit of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (since May 2006 Department for Communities and Local Government) with supplementary funds obtained locally for each scheme from a variety of sources including New Deal for Communities, Local Authorities, Sports Action Zones (SAZ), Positive Activities for Young People and Connexions. The aims of the projects are to provide an entry route for young people into regular sports; to support non-sport renewal agencies to work with and through sport; to build or strengthen links within communities to develop leadership, citizenship or coaching skills; and to create opportunities to represent neighbourhoods in leagues and competitions.

The projects are organised and delivered by local partnerships between sports, youth, community and regeneration agencies. The main organisers are usually Sport Action Zones, New Deals for Communities and local authorities with delivery of the programme by local voluntary groups and local authority sports development groups and local partners such as Youth Services, Streetwardens, Positive Futures, Youth Offending Programme teams, Police, the Connexions Services, Positive Futures, Youth Improvement Teams, Police, and a variety of community, residents and youth groups.

Until recently, there was no national StreetGames organisation so there is some variation across projects in terms of the activities provided (basketball, cricket, athletics, volleyball, streetdance, multi-sports, canoeing, football), and the number, type and duration of sessions. However, all projects target young people aged 8 - 16 y not already catered for by traditional sports providers in deprived areas. Thus the peer group of young people at risk of offending or young offenders is targeted but not specifically offenders or those at risk of offending who are targeted by the Positive Futures programmes (see later). In an attempt to overcome some of the commonly accepted barriers to participation, all session and activities are low cost or free; all, or nearly all, sessions are open access 'drop in' sessions; participants do not have to commit to attendance; there is no requirement for participants to have an existing level of proficiency or interest in the sport; all, or nearly all, sessions are organised in the estates and localities where the young people live in order to minimise transport and access barriers. All projects recognised that the coaches/deliverers needed not only sport/coaching specific skills and experience but also youth work and community development. Many of the projects also incorporate group discussions on fair play and sports skills.

StreetGames was piloted in London and in the North East in 2003. In London, StreetGames took place in Southwark and Lambeth and was funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU), Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP), the Peabody Trust, the North Lambeth and North Southwark Sports Action Zone (SAZ), Southwark Council and the Waterloo Community Regeneration Trust. The programme was organized by SAZ with close links to Southwark Council. Voluntary and statutory sector organizations including the Community Action Team, Kickstart, Millwall Community Scheme, Southwark Estates Warden Scheme and the Waterloo Sports and Football Club helped to deliver the football programme. Many of these organisations were already working in the estates or localities before and had built up a local profile. The programme consisted of regular sessions through the summer holidays culminating in a Southwark-wide tournament. There was also an extension programme continuing through autumn and an extensive programme of coaching and leadership qualification training for both young people and adults.

The evaluation of the pilot scheme (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2004) found that participants rated 'Street Games' very highly at 4.1 out of a maximum of 5. Coaches rated the sports skills of the young people at the start and the end of the project with an improvement of 16 % in football skills and an 11 % increase in sportsmanship. The final tournament involved teams from 16 different estates, and 33% of participants surveyed stated that one thing they liked best was meeting new people from other estates, which is indicative of the programme's impact on community cohesion. In terms of Community Safety and Youth Offending, coaches acted as positive role models; and residents from two estates indicated that it had led to a decrease in anti-social activity.

An evaluation of the national programme of activities subsequently completed in 2004 (Craig, 2004) found that there were an estimated 4681 participants nationally with over 75 % participants from the target New Deal for Communities and Neighbourhood Renewal areas. There were over 22, 000 attendances nationally at an estimated costs of £5 per hour of attendance, thus demonstrating the cost effectiveness of the projects. The participants were overwhelmingly male (80%) most likely due to the range of sports offered with football predominating and also the competitive nature of activities. Findings indicate that participants' fair play and sports skills increased as a result of their participation, which may aid their transition into participation in the more structured environment of the sports club. The evaluation also suggested that the increase in these skills may facilitate participants' personal development and may help to reduce their level of risk of committing a crime.

StreetGames has achieved the aim of providing positive activities for people in deprived communities, but was only partially successful in facilitating entry into regular sport (~10 % participants continued to play sport after the scheme). The success of the project in engaging young people from the target areas meant that partners were positive about StreetGames. Indicating that it has helped to support non-sport renewal agencies to work with and through sport. There was some success in building or strengthening links within communities to develop local leadership and coaching skills.

Although some leagues and competitions have been developed, there is a considerable amount of work still required to fully develop this infrastructure. Sustainability has been an issue but continued funding for the programme has recently been announced, and a national organisation with charitable status has now been formed to co-ordinate the next phase of activity.

Positive Futures

Positive Futures, launched in 2000, is a national sports-based social inclusion programme, and since March 2006 is managed by the national charity Crime Concern with funding from the Home Office Drug Strategy Directorate. Representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Culture Media and Sport, the Connexions Service (DfES), Sport England, Youth Justice Board and Football Foundation form the advisory group for the programme. Sport and leisure activities are used to engage with socially disadvantaged and marginalized young people (10 -19 y). Positive Futures aims to have a positive influence on young people's lives by widening horizons and providing access to new opportunities within a culturally familiar environment. Sport is used as a catalyst to encourage project participation and build relationships between responsible adults and young people based on mutual trust and respect in order to create new opportunities for alternative lifestyles. Steering young people towards education, training and employment is at the core of the programme.

Positive Futures produced a three-year strategy, Cul-de-Sacs and gateways in March 2003 to outline the guiding principles and objectives of the programme (Home Office, 2003). To ensure the sustainability of projects four distinct areas for development were identified: workers need the skills to engage young people, workforce quality; lead agencies need credibility and flexibility, appropriate lead agencies; projects must interface with the wider social inclusion policy, strong effective local partnerships; and central monitoring and evaluation. The resultant Workforce Quality Initiative objectives were to identify the National Occupational Standards that staff should be working to; assess staff performance, knowledge and skills to identify training needs; provide appropriate training; evaluate staff development; and record and recognise staff achievements (Home Office, 2006). To ensure workforce quality, Positive Futures put together a regularly updated comprehensive workshop programme to develop identified core competencies: engaging with, working with, supporting and protecting young people; preparing leading, concluding and reviewing sports and activity sessions; raising awareness of substances and their effects, helping young people to address their substance misuse; dealing with abusive and aggressive behaviour; managing projects and delivering quality to stakeholders' requirements. In addition, a level 2 and level 3 National Vocational Qualification for delivering sport and physical activity within deprived communities have been developed in partnership with the sport and leisure sector Learning Skills Council, Skills Active. Lead agencies that promote a style of working characterised by innovation, flexibility, passion, and an intensive long term participant focused approach were highlighted as those most suited to the role. Generally these organisations are small scale, local, well-resourced and dynamic. Regional network meetings were co-ordinated to facilitate the formation of local partnerships with a range of agencies, with similar delivery objectives. The core of partners involved in more than 75% of projects includes Youth Offending Teams, Police, Youth Services, Connexions, City/Borough/Town Councils, Schools, Community Safety Partnerships; DAT, Youth Centre, Social Services and Pupil Referral Services (MORI, 2005). MORI were commissioned by the Home Office to complete 6 waves of Key Element research between 2002 and 2005. In addition, case study research, young people's views research and a survey of partner agencies was completed. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative information was collected and analysed to provide a national overview of Positive Futures.

In brief there are currently 115 youth projects, 19 of which are funded through the Football Foundation. Projects are delivered locally by a range of agencies including local authorities, charities, sports clubs and crime reduction agencies. About 51 % of participants are referred to projects by local statutory and voluntary agencies, e.g. Youth Offending and Youth Inclusion Programme Teams, the police, social services and schools. Another 39% of new project participants are community referrals these include self-referrals, referrals as a result of outreach work and through word of mouth.

Projects involve outreach and detached work to contact young people at risk of exclusion; coaching skills across a range of sports; opportunities to play competitively in newly established or existing sports clubs; education programmes, including those by Sports Leaders UK, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Youth Achievement Awards and Open College Network; leadership skills and mentoring programmes and opportunities for volunteering, casual and part-time work and pathways to full-time employment. Football is by far the most widespread activity, however projects now often include outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, climbing, BMXing and abseiling, as well as the creative arts and drama. Currently 24 sports are being delivered with over 600 young people regularly participating in each sport (MORI, 2005).

According to MORI, by October 2005 over 110,000 young people had regularly taken regular part in Positive Futures activities since monitoring began in 2002, with over 46,000 young people engaged in regular activities since the February 2005 (26, 000 new participants) (MORI, 2005). On average each project is engaging with ~ 450 participants, who are predominantly male (66 %), and with just under a third belonging to an ethnic minority. Between March and September 2005, 600 participants began to seek employment with similar numbers having already obtained a job. Over 4000 participants signed up for or completed awards or training through the projects, with over 700 participants returning to school and over 1700 participants performing better at school. According to a survey of project partners, 76 per cent believe anti-social behaviour has fallen as a result of Positive Futures; 90 per cent believe Positive Futures has made a positive difference to the availability of sports activities; and 68 per cent believe that local crime has fallen as a result of Positive Futures.

Southwark Positive Futures programme is run by Kickstart (part of the national charity Crime Concern) and is focused on three large estates in the Elephant and Castle area which have a total population of around 24,000 and have high levels of deprivation and crime. Six years ago when Kickstart formed there was just one detached outreach worker running out of school activities for young people from estates around the New Kent Road. Now Kickstart employs 10 full-time and 10 part-time youth workers, plus between 30 and 40 volunteers and junior sports leaders. Many of whom are young people who have been "engaged" through the programme and have subsequently been trained and coached to deliver the programme. It encompasses a Youth Inclusion Project targeted at the core 50 most at risk young people in the area which is ranked among the 20 per cent most deprived in the country. They suffer from high levels of youth crime and unemployment, low income families and poor education.

Essentially an estates-based football and basketball project, the Southwark Positive Futures programme is based around drop-in coaching sessions run five nights a week. Out of these has emerged a Saturday football league held at the local University, a five-a-side league for teams from all local estates, and a basketball league. Rockingham United was formed three years ago from a seven-a-side league put together to tackle some of the racial tensions between groups on the two estates. The club now has two teams (under 13s and under 16s) who play in the London Electricity Saturday Youth League, has its own committee, and does its own fund raising. Southwark Positive Futures also provides other sports, such as short tennis, rugby and cricket, runs multi-sport Splash programmes in the summer, and takes young people on residential weekends. Using sports, arts, music and IT sessions, the project's workers introduce young people to personal and social development programmes, and provide opportunities for formal education leading to City and Guilds, Youth Achievement and Millennium Volunteer qualifications.

In two and half years Kickstart's Positive Futures project has managed to engage regularly with some 300 young people a year, not including dozens more who attend the Splash programmes (Sport England, 2002). More impressive still, it has helped some 40 or 50 young people to access a whole host of training courses and "personal development opportunities". Three or four young people have recently become full-time employees of the project; others are in part-time posts or work as volunteers. Some are doing youth work or sports development courses, and many have taken initial FA junior team management awards, basketball preliminary coaching badges, and junior sports leader awards.

Healthy Living Centres

The New Opportunities Fund (now Big Lottery Fund) has funded more than 350 Healthy Living Centres (HLC) in the United Kingdom since the launch of the programme in 1999. The HLC concept is designed to tackle health inequalities. The programmes are targeted at disadvantaged sections or groups within society with the aim of addressing some of the wider factors impacting upon health such as social exclusion, socioeconomic deprivation and lack of access to services. New, holistic and varied approaches are used to attract and sustain community involvement, including exercise clubs for older people, community cafes promoting healthy eating, stress counselling, and developing community allotments. Their range of approaches enables HLCs to connect with different groups of people, including those of different age, sex, ethnic background and sexual orientation as well as homeless people, refugees, people on low incomes, people with alcohol and drug dependencies, and people with poor mental or physical health. Not all HLC's are physical centres but many operate as networks of activities, offering different activities focused on a particular local need whereas other schemes provide health information, education and physical activity in order to generally promote better health for the local community. All schemes are designed to utilise the local community to both deliver as well as taking part in activities. HLCs have actively involved, developed and employed people from their community, and in some cases use funds apportioned for salaries to train users instead, and then involve them as volunteers. Employment at an HLC provides local people with the opportunity to attend training courses, learn new skills and work with experienced staff, which may help to sustain the HLCs beyond Lottery funding.

Central to community engagement has been the work that HLCs have undertaken to establish effective partnerships and interact with other organisations in their local 'health economy'. This has often enabled an increase in the resources and services offered to local people and engagement with hard to reach sections of the community. Some HLCs are based in the statutory sector (Local Authorities or Primary Care Trusts) whilst others are run by charities or voluntary organisations. Most partnerships (83% of HLCs) had at least one health partner, with local authorities being the second most popular partners (80%) (Big Lottery Fund, 2005). A large number of representatives from the partnership came from the voluntary and community sector, which were usually a reflection of the strong commitment to local involvement and local empowerment. However, proving the impact of the HLC programme is far from easy, both because of the diversity of effort across HLCs, and there are usually a number of other interventions taking place with similar aims. The Bridge Consortium was appointed by the Big Lottery Fund to evaluate the programme using case studies, a health monitoring system (baseline and follow-up data), policy reviews, workshops with HLCs staff and stakeholders, as well as the annual monitoring reports submitted to the Big Lottery Fund. However, the final evaluation is not yet available. At this stage there is considerable anecdotal

evidence that individuals benefit from taking part in the activities of HLCs, as well as some 'harder evidence' of impact on health and wellbeing from a small number of local evaluations. Many centres, particularly those in areas in which there has been little previous community development work, are also providing an important resource in their areas for developing a community infrastructure. For example, a centre that provides real social- as well as health-related benefits in their area. Others are providing a coordination role with local agencies at a neighbourhood level, which had previously been lacking.

Some of the most popular types of activity provided by HLCs were those designed to encourage users to become more physically active (Bridge Consortium, 2005). Many different tactics were employed: providing a venue for cardiac rehabilitation staff to facilitate access to rehabilitation programmes; seated exercise classes in venues such as older people's accommodation; finding local tutors to provide a range of classes for older people that are more suitable and geared to their needs such as Tai chi, yoga or walking; training local people and supporting them in running classes. A Healthy Living Network has been established on the Aylesbury estate in Southwark (AHLN). The estate contains approximately 2700 dwellings and is home to just over 7500 residents with very high levels of social deprivation. The programme is targeted at older people (> 50y) and those from ethnic minority groups, with the aims of ending social isolation and promoting physical activity and mental wellbeing amongst residents. In particular, for those who for many reasons (such as cultural and ethnic background, old age, disabilities) are unable to easily participate in community life or access services such as social support and health. A range of healthy living activities is provided including benefits advice, health education, cultural activities, mental health support, physical activity, volunteering opportunities and gardening.

The network consists of a number of projects: Aylesbury Timebank (incentive scheme for volunteers), Groundwork Southwark (voluntary sector organisation providing physical activity through gardening), the Lorrimore (social support), Multi-lingual Community Rights Shop (drop-in advice surgery), Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers, Southwark Muslim Women's Association (courses and activities for Muslim families including yoga and swimming for women), Southwark Pensioners Centre (advice sessions, health talks and range of physical activity sessions such as line dancing and healthy walks), Southwark Turkish Education Group (Saturday school and activities for women), and the Lambeth and Southwark Sport Action Zone (healthy walks, keep fit sessions and a running club provided by the SAZ physical activity co-coordinator provides; as well as dance, yoga, tai chi and aqua aerobics). AHLN will receive more than £1.6 million over 5 years from a variety of funders including Big Lottery Fund, Aylesbury New Deal for Communities and Sport England (Flynn, Lewis & Rawson, 2005). The network is hosted and managed by Southwark Primary Care Trust with a full-time co-ordinator post and a part-time administrator. The project is overseen by a Steering Group comprised of members from each partner as well as Southwark Primary Care Trust, Ayelsbury New Deal for Communities and local residents.

An interim evaluation was completed after 2 years of the programme, but only limited data are available regarding efficacy (Flynn, Lewis & Rawson, 2005). Overall people were satisfied with the quality of the services and activities, with staffing quality particularly for education courses and physical activity sessions highly commended. Participants were pleased with their own progress and achievements. The staffs' ability to maintain relaxed and sociable atmospheres ensured that users continued to participate, and users were also positive regarding the venues used since these were for the most part on the estate increasing convenience levels. The majority of users were able to identify health gains including improved physical and mental health, and participants experienced a sense of belonging, wellbeing and enjoyment. A higher proportion of AHLN participants had longstanding illnesses, disabilities or infirmity than the estate residents as a whole, however AHLN participants experienced greater improvements in health in the previous year than Aylesbury residents in general. The evaluation concluded that as a whole AHLN users were less socially isolated than Aylesbury's population in general.

Step Into Sport

Sport relies on volunteer officials, coaches, administrators and managers, with more than 5.8 million sports volunteers engaged nationally. National Governing Bodies of Sport, for instance, are underpinned by the significant contributions of volunteers in all areas of work including administration, coaching and club development. Following the publication of A Sporting Future for All (DCMS, 2000), DCMS and the Home Office Active Communities Unit announced a new drive to support the development of a leadership and volunteering project for young people. The resultant Step into Sport programme focuses on young people aged 14 to 19, giving them opportunities to become involved in sports leadership and volunteering and encouraging them to continue this into later life. The programme is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is part of the national Physical Education School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) strategy. The main objectives of the programme are to train and support young people to develop their leadership skills and encourage volunteering; train adult volunteers to mentor lead, officiate and coach sport locally; and to help NGB's to produce volunteer support strategies and to support volunteer co-ordinators.

Step into Sport has been designed to establish a simple framework of coordinated opportunities at a local level, to enable young people to begin and sustain an involvement in leadership and volunteering through sport. Working with school sport co-ordinator partnerships and the 45 county sport partnerships, Sports Leaders UK, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust aim to support developments in physical education (PE) and school sport and to create opportunities for volunteers in sports clubs across the country. Sports Leaders UK provides tutor training, a referral system for trained leaders to gain sports specific qualifications, and quality assurance support for training/assessment centres. The Youth Sports Trust provide support for the school sport partnerships; local training and resources for all schools to support sport education during school PE, as well as the implementation of the TOP link programme; support for the volunteering awards; and access to a programme of camps, training days and conferences for young leaders and their teachers. Sport England provide financial support and advice to the County Sport Partnerships and NGBs to support the development of volunteer strategies; as well as training, advice and resources to support the network of volunteer co-coordinators focusing on recruitment, retention, recognition and reward.

The programme involves 5 phases or steps for young people: 1) engage in a programme of Sport Education at school; 2) undertake a nationally recognised Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership (Sports Leaders UK accredited); 3) gain practical experience in volunteering through planning and running a TOP Link sports festival for primary age children; 4) undertake Level 1 Award in Community Sports Leadership and sport specific leadership training (Sports Leaders UK accredited); 5) engage in a programme of volunteering in their local community, supported by a teacher mentor. Sports clubs with a volunteer co-ordinator in place are supported to receive, develop and deploy young people and adults as volunteers. NGBs and county sport partnerships are supported to develop and implement a volunteer strategy to help clubs recruit, retain, recognise and reward volunteers. Local volunteer co-coordinators within clubs supported with resources and information on volunteer recruitment, retention, recognition and reward.

In the first two years (2002 - 2004) Step into Sport trained 60,000 young people in level 1 Sports Leadership and Community Sports Leadership and other leadership awards; hosted 35 TOP Link Young People Leading the Way conferences at higher education institutions across the UK for 6,000 14 to 16 year olds; enabled 1,500 TOP Link sports festivals involving 21,000 14 to 16 year olds and 150,000 primary school children to be staged across the country; held 44 one-day conferences for young volunteers; hosted two residential camps for 700 young volunteers; trained and recruited 4,000 mentor and volunteer co-coordinators; engaged 4,000 16 to 19 year olds in community volunteering; supported 17 national governing bodies of sport (NGB) to develop volunteer strategies (DCMS, 2004).

Community Sports Coaches

Following the publication of the Game Plan 2002 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) set up a Coaching Task Force to take forward Game Plan recommendations on coaching. The Coaching Task Force Final Report in July 2002 identified a number of issues relating to the employment of coaches in England (DCMS, 2002). The major issues highlighted included the limited opportunities for coaches to develop coaching as a career and a real lack of professional development of coaches in general. The report recommended the introduction of a DCMS funded and Sport England delivered Community Sports Coach Scheme. In 2004, DCMS allocated funds to employ 3000 full time and part time community sports coaches. The main objectives of the scheme were to: create a step change in developing a career structure for coaching; increase the number of qualified coaches employed at a local level; provide quality standards for the recruitment, employment, management and development of coaches; and to provide quality continuous professional development support for employed coaches

The development of this high quality pool of community coaches was intended to enhance the quality of existing activity and in time generate new activity. Community sports coaches' work is focused in specific geographical areas, working as a team across a range of schools, clubs and local authorities programmes. DCMS funding provided up to 50% costs, up to a maximum of £12,000 for each coach per year for three years, with employing bodies providing match funding. Salary scales and specific roles and responsibilities were locally determined with a salary range guide set at £18,000 - £26,000. Eligible match funding included existing investment into coaching, other public money, lottery funding, sponsorship and income generated by the community sports coach.

The scheme is administered by Sport England and delivered via the network of County Sports Partnerships (CSPs). CSPs act as strategic coordinating agencies ensuring there is a coordinated multi agency approach to identifying strategic and local need thus ensuring the impact of the scheme is maximized. CSPs were required to undertake a needs analysis and planning process identifying both regional and local priorities. As a consequence, over the last two years, community sports coaches have been deployed locally to: coach young people, predominantly outside of curriculum time; to develop core movement and sports skills across a number of sports; and to coach at a level with a focus on the FUNdamentals/Learn to train (Long Term Athlete Development model) or equivalent national governing body player pathways.

Sport England London Region was tasked with delivering 360 of the 3000 community sports coaches across London during the period 2004 - 2006 via the London Active Partnership (London's County Sports Partnership). The findings of a needs analysis commissioned from MORI were used to drive the focus for deployment of community coaches. A number of key co-ordination partners were recruited to help support local voluntary and community-based partners across the region to become involved (Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme/London Community Sports Network, Brentford Community Sports Trust, Lambeth & Southwark Sport Action Zone, Bromley Mytime Trust, The Women's Sports Foundation and The London Sports Forum for Disabled People). A greater emphasis was placed on partnership working, thus resulting in a number of new strategic partnerships working together to submit applications (Barnet School Sports Partnership's and local authority networks, Kingston Community Sports Coach Partnership, Enfield & North East London Sports Network and a number of school sports partnership, club and local authority lead partnerships).

Many programmes have established partnerships with local community groups and housing estates - these include Positive Futures programmes and inclusion projects part funded via Youth Offending Teams, New Deal for Communities, Kickstart and housing associations or trust funds. Hackney & Tower Hamlets Active Communities Programme employs a disability specialist coach working within the local area, whilst 6The London Sports Forum for Disabled People are employing 2 coaches to establish new clubs for Boccia and Zone Hockey within special schools and their local communities. In total there are 17 coaches (4.3%) that have a specific remit for coaching young people with disabilities. There are a number of schemes that also specifically target females as an under-represented group. The Women's Sport Foundation have acted as a coordination partner to two partnerships that have a specific remit for developing programmes that facilitate opportunities to access quality community coaching in sport & physical activity for young females. The last key performance indicator report submitted to Sport England in October 2005 indicated that in 2005: 77 % of total participants were from areas identified as local priorities, 35 % were female, and 57 % of total participants were from black and ethnic minority groups (Curtin & Smith, 2006).

A number of good practice development models are also in place. The Rugby Football League have established an excellent tiered mentoring scheme model, whereby senior coaches lead and mentor a number of community coaches across London. In addition to accessing the regional CSCS education network the Rugby League coaches have access to NGB coach education programmes and the tiered mentoring system. As a result, 12 full time and 14 part time RFL coaches are accessing a structured mentoring and development programme that allows them to coach in 10 schools and 5 community clubs each per annum. A range of employers are now adopting other coach/employee development models within the scheme which include; Induction, needs analysis, annual performance appraisal and regular ongoing access to Continuing Professional Development through the organisational models that education institutions, schools, clubs, NGB's and local authorities have in place. This is of particular benefit to the community/volunteer organisations that traditionally do not have the infrastructure to resource these systems as their coaches are accessing structured management and development through partnership working with larger organisations.

For example, in Lambeth and Southwark, the Sport Action Zone worked with a series of partners to develop a proposal to appoint and deploy a large number of full-time community sports coaches: Southwark Community Games (10 FT multi-skilled coaches), Lambeth Community Games (5 FT multi-skilled coaches, 1 FT tennis coach), Bethwin/Greenhouse project (2 FT football coaches, 6 PT football coaches), Salmon Youth Club (3 FT multi-skilled coaches, Young Peoples Project (2 FT multi-skilled coaches) KickStart (2 FT Boxing coaches) Southwark Sports Development (1 FT tennis coach), and Southwark Play Service (2 FT multi skilled coaches, 1 FT Outdoor education, BMX, climbing coach). A partnership steering group comprised of SAZ, Partnership Development Managers, Sports Development (Southwark), Youth service, Lambeth leisure services, Southwark leisure services, London South Bank University, representatives from local Voluntary Sector organisations, and London Active Partnership has been established. This steering group has overall control of both the utilisation and training of the coaches, with responsibility for development of a network of delivery to encompass all areas such as Southwark Community Games (based on StreetGames), school curriculum delivery, extended schools programme, sports development sessions, community sports and youth inclusion programmes and local club development andsupport. The group will also develop mentoring schemes to capacity build local volunteers, and where possible appoint coaches from the local community. A holistic coaches training package will be developed that will consider the broader picture of the coaches' development and their ability to deliver to the local population.


EditorEditor's comments - [  This Ruff guide is entirely based on; Bowtell, J. (2006). Community development through sport. London: London South Bank University - to reference it and to get her references and explanatory footnotes - this link  ]  

We are grateful to Dr Joanna Bowtell, London South Bank University, for the provision of this Ruff guide.



Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 06:58  

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