The social investment arm of The Big Issue, Big Issue Invest (BII), is investing £1.25 million from its Outcomes Investment Fund, set up with investment from Big Society Capital, into a programme that will support over 6,000 young people across 21 local areas in the UK to improve their lives, through sports and activity.
The Chances Programme, co-developed by Substance in partnership with the Life Chances Fund, Sport England and BII, is committed to harnessing the power of sport to enhance the life-chances of disadvantaged young people aged 8-17 years, for the next three years.
The investment will be used to create new opportunities to empower young people to get active and re-engage with education and skills provision; targeting those who are from low socio-economic backgrounds, have an offending record and/or low school attendance.
This is the first time Sport England have commissioned outcomes through a Social Impact Bond (SIB). With more than 20 commissioners, including Local Authorities and The Life Chances Fund, this is the largest number of commissioners engaged in a SIB in the world.
Substance, a research and technology company, that specialises in sport and physical activity and community regeneration, will work with its network of 16 locally trusted organisations. These will be based at youth and community facilities where young people meet – where there will be opportunities to get active, engage with learning and volunteer.
The programme offers sessions focusing on sport and physical activities, martial arts, dance, enterprise and social action projects, photography, emergency aid, residential experiences and expeditions.
Recent research has shown that one in five young people report involvement in crime and antisocial behaviour and there are around 75,000 new entrants into the youth justice system every year.
Further research suggests that young people from low socio-economic backgrounds are about 50% less likely to take part in regular sport, volunteer, compete, be coached or hold club membership than those from high income households.
The Chances Programme is currently delivered in Doncaster, Bristol and Devon. During March and April, it will be rolled out to eighteen more local authority areas.
Susie Murphy, Senior Manager of Positive Youth Foundation in Coventry said: “We are excited to be able to deliver our services and programmes across the city again; we know that the impact of Covid have been profound and many young people have had their lives derailed over the last twelve months. The Chances Programme, which we helped pilot a couple of years ago, will ensure hundreds of young people in Coventry improve their physical and mental health and their life chances. Investment in young people, particularly those living in our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, is more critical than ever.”
Aqsa Asif, a Chances programme participant, said: “The time on Chances really helped me figure out my next steps in life. It got me into a really good headspace where I felt healthier, happier and the feeling I actually had something to contribute. It got me back on track with college.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England said: “Whilst it’s been hard for our children and young people to be active over the past year, this is an exciting project using physical activity to build happier and more productive lives and we are really proud to be a part of it. The Social Impact Bond model used for this project embodies the values of collaboration and innovation that we wish to live by in our new strategy, and this new model represents an excellent opportunity to diversify and develop our investment approach.”
Dr. Tim Crabbe, Chief Executive of Substance, said: “Substance is excited to have developed a model that delivers outcomes with tangible value rather than just opportunities to get involved. It is based on insight and learning about what works from its evaluation of hundreds of community based physical activity programmes.”
Danyal Sattar, Chief Executive of Big Issue Invest, said: “We have a number of investments supporting vulnerable children, whose lives this year have been further disrupted by Covid and we are delighted to have worked on this with Substance and partners. This is one of our largest investments and the combination of positive social impact on the lives of young people while working across multiple providers and commissioners to deliver outcomes through sports development is exciting.”