Experts in Sport: What role does community sport play in tackling serious youth violence?

the latest experts in sport podcast

With youth violence continuing to be a serious issue in UK society, this week’s Experts in Sport’ podcast looks at the role sport can play in supporting those at risk.

Host Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead) is joined by Loughborough University’s Dr Carolynne Mason, Lecturer in Sport Management, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and Graham Helm, National Doorstep Sport Advisor for StreetGames, a national charity that helps bring sport to disadvantaged communities.

Graham’s work looks at the relationship between sport and the wider criminal justice sector, working alongside Police and Crime Commissioners across a number of force areas nationally. He has helped develop links with violence reduction units with the highest prevalence of serious youth violence.

Dr Mason begins the podcast with an overview of youth violence in today’s society:

“There has been a surge in serious youth violence which is obviously of great concern to those involved, their families, and the wider community. We also know that young people’s involvement is complex so we can’t predict how and when they’ll be involved.

“We know there’s a serious knife crime trend and 50% of the victims are sadly under 30. It’s disproportionally young males…and we’re seeing more young vulnerable people being drawn into distributing drugs as older siblings recruit younger siblings.”


The guests outline that young people’s involvement in youth violence is complex and they all discuss how sport - in various guises - can contribute to attempts to prevent serious youth violence.

Graham explained:

“These strategies exist within mainstream youth engagement programmes, community engagement sport programmes, and holiday programmes. Each of these have little to no barrier for young people to participate and are universal across the likes of sport, creative pursuits, and arts.

“Some of the magic these deliver - day after day, night after night - is supporting young people to stay away from a path of higher risk and exposure.”

The panel discusses the importance of providing targeted long-term support and mentoring and how remaining sensitive to prejudice against certain individuals and cohorts is equally vital.

The full episode of this podcast can be found above and listeners are encouraged to subscribe to the series by visiting Buzzsprout.  

Loughborough University and StreetGames continue to collaborate on various projects, including its ‘Safer Together Through Sport’ initiative.

The 'Experts in Sport' podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia.