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SportWorks were commissioned by Sport England to address physical inactivity levels within economically disadvantaged regions of England. Following an extensive mapping exercise, the SportWorks team developed strategic partnerships with a number of community organisations who were already actively involved in these geographical areas. One such partnership involved Newcastle East End Football Club (NEEFC), who provide Football based activities to over 400 individuals per week, including targeted sessions for unemployed individuals, single mothers and refugees.
Working in partnership is key to the SportWorks approach, enabling staff to work directly with beneficiaries to understand their challenges and overcome barriers to participation. Working with NEEFC volunteers and community members, SportWorks tutors course designed a weekly multi-sport and fitness programme attracting over 70 new individuals per session. Activities were structured to not only improve physical health and overweight, but critically, to support individuals who experienced mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and social isolation. A number of individuals reported that these issues were brought upon as a result of their economic difficulties.
- To combat inactivity in adults living in areas of economic deprivation
- To create a safe, positive environment which enabled individuals to address mental health challenges within a supportive community
- To facilitate soft skill development to assist individuals to progress towards the labour market
- To assist with community cohesion and integration, particularly for refugees, under/unemployed persons and disabled individuals
- High retention rates: 86% of participants attended weekly sessions over six months
- 79% of participants reported enhanced levels of self-esteem and reduced anxiety as a result of the programme
- 94% of participants reported increased resilience and 90% stated they had a renewed commitment to progressing towards the labour market
- 22 participants competed in regional Football competitions (all for the first time)
“It’s been absolutely brilliant to have SportWorks’ support and assistance with this group who love their football now.
Working with SportWorks to develop this programme has been a great experience. Historically we have done good work with limited resources, mainly due to us being a voluntary organisation. But by working with professionals who are not only really good at what they do, but who really care about making a difference in the local community, we have we seen a huge increase in participation levels and individual outcomes. What’s more, we have witnessed diverse members of the community coming together and interacting like never before”.