Inspired generation falls at the first hurdle

Three quarters of young people in Britain (77 per cent) were inspired to get physical following this year’s legendary summer of sport. But, two months past the finishing line of London 2012, less than a quarter have taken up new sports or activities.

According to a new research out today (2 November) by The Co-operative, young people perceive there to be a real lack of affordable sporting activities in local communities which, coupled with long waiting lists, are turning our inspired generation in to frustrated young adults.

The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers believe that by bringing sport to the doorstep of disadvantaged communities they have the answer, and are now calling on other young people to get involved. Supported by The Co-operative, over 5,000 young volunteers provide children with the opportunity to participate in sport at the right time, in the right place and in the right style.

With 170 UK projects already established across the country, The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers programme, trains young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, aged between 16 and 25, to be sports coaches and inspires them to play an active role in their local community. The programme also supports the young volunteers through sports qualifications as well as helping them to gain employment and go on to further training.

More than half of young people say that the Olympics, including its Games Makers, inspired them to consider volunteering but over a third still don’t know where to turn to access information about volunteering in their local area.

Of the quarter of young people who do volunteer, one in five chooses to do it through local sports activities. The rates of volunteering are highest in the Black and Asian communities where 27 per cent and 40 per cent of young people respectively say they do some kind of volunteering.

Sarah Klueter, Senior Community Manager at The Co-operative Group, said: “After such an epic summer of sport, this new report paints a deeply concerning picture. Clearly we have succeeded in inspiring young people to get active and get involved in their communities, yet we have failed to provide the right opportunities.

“That’s where StreetGames comes in.  We know from the 5,000 young people who have stepped forward to become sports volunteers, that when provided with supported opportunities on their doorstep, even in the most deprived areas, it gives young people the motivation to achieve and to give something back.”

John Downes, UK Strategic Programme Manager at StreetGames, said: “One of the most fantastic things to come out of this report is to hear that more than two fifths of young men and women say that The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers model appeals to them either as a participant and/or as a volunteer.

“Support for more free sports opportunities in deprived communities is almost unanimous across racial, economic and employment boundaries. It is now clearer than ever that free doorstep sports and volunteering programmes are a really fantastic way of making sure that an inspired young generation can take that next step and get involved.”

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