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Community sport, wellbeing and mental health


Project description

The aim the of this research was to develop an understanding of the type of sport offer that can effect change and support young people (14-24 years) living in disadvantaged areas and in the process contribute to the evidence base and disseminate practical and insightful learning. The research focuses specifically on examining how Streetgames' Safe, Fit and Well pilot projects can enhance young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing in the communities in which they live.

A three phased mixed-method qualitative case study approach was adopted consisting of:

  • Interviews with key stakeholders;
  • site visits to Safe, Fit and Well pilot project locations and;
  • site visit to a four-day Young Health Champions residential to conduct observations and interviews.

Existing monitoring and evaluation data, provided by the pilot project was used to develop a holistic case study strategy of the Safe, Fit and Well initiative.

The research has shown the potential for community sport to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of young people living in disadvantaged communities. Four active ingredients are identified in the StreetGames Doorstep approach for success in enhancing mental health and wellbeing for young people taking part;

  • tailored provision including sport activities selected by young people and delivered with consideration of the barriers of time, costs, accessibility, and mental health stigma,
  • workforce training on Mental Health First Aid for project leaders and the RSPH Level 2 Young Health Champion Award for young participants and peer leaders,
  • partnerships between community sport, mental health, education, local authority and the voluntary sectors to maximise effective delivery and address mental health stigma and
  • strategies for high quality, credible research, monitoring and evaluation to ensure a stronger evidence base for the contribution of community sport to improving young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing.