Tackling serious youth violence in partnership with StreetGames

Academics from Loughborough University are collaborating with StreetGames, a national charity that helps bring sport to disadvantaged communities, to help tackle serious youth violence.

Spearheaded by Dr Carolynne MasonProfessor Stephen Case, and Research Associate Dr Caron Walpole, the project will provide a comprehensive ‘Theory of Change’ document for use by Locally Trusted Organisations (LTOs), such as community groups, sports clubs, and local authorities, working with those most at risk.

Funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the project will ultimately outline how and why community sport has a significant role to play as part of a multi-agency approach.

The ‘Theory of Change’ will be developed by the Loughborough team using the most-up-to-date academic insight from the youth justice and community sport sectors and will include guidance for LTOs on how to use this to support their on-going work in the area.

Dr Carolynne Mason, Lecturer in Sport Management, said: “Sport can engage young people in ways that are meaningful for them and provide a vehicle for positive change at the individual and relational levels which empowers young people. The Theory of Change is an important step towards ensuring effective multi-agency working which can result in more positive outcomes for young people.”

The Theory of Change will be tested by a small sample of the organisations already working to address serious youth violence in their neighbourhoods and will measure its success using existing and/or previous sports project/programmes to gauge its effectiveness in supporting and improving all areas of development. Other stakeholders within youth justice will also engage in the consultation process to ensure the Theory of Change is robust and has broader application.  

The work will build on the collective experiences of Loughborough and StreetGames’ teams, making a significant contribution to the youth justice sector.

Loughborough University and StreetGames have been collaborating on research and evaluation projects since 2013 with a specific focus on sport and community safety programmes since 2016.