Community sports projects are highly effective when it comes to tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour and can save governments money, according to a ground-breaking report published today.
The report, Sport Scores, commissioned by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, shows that in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom sport is a highly cost-effective and successful way to reduce youth crime.
Research in the report reveals that for every £1 invested in sports projects there is an average return of £5.02 to society by reducing costs to victims, police, prisons and courts.
German heavyweight boxing legend and Laureus Ambassador Axel Schulz was present at the launch of the report in Berlin. He said: “When you have been involved in sport for as long as I have, you know how much good it can do. But it’s no good just going out and shouting ‘sport is great’. You need to have research like this which proves beyond doubt that sport can really make a significant economic difference. This gives us the ammunition to take to governments and say ‘here is the proof, now give sport a chance to help’.”
Building on an earlier Laureus-funded report, Teenage Kicks, from 2011, the new report examined projects in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, which reinforced the original findings, that there is a significant economic return to be had from investing in sports-based crime prevention programmes.
Sport Scores measured the results of four community-based projects – Fight for Peace in London, KICK Im Boxring in Berlin, Midnight Basketball in Milan and Sport and Thought in London – all of which use sport to engage young people in a programme of education and support. They were all found to be highly cost-effective and successful in reducing youth crime.
Fight for Peace is a Laureus funded project in East London that uses boxing and martial arts as a means to re-engage and support young people with their personal development. The report estimated the project delivers a beneficial cost ratio of £4.42 for every £1 invested.
KICK Im Boxring is a Laureus funded project with four bases in Berlin and three partnership programmes with local boxing clubs. It is estimated the project delivers a beneficial cost ratio of €3.43 for every €1 invested.
Midnight Basketball is a project delivered by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in Italy, based in a public park in Quarto Oggiaro in Milan. The project aims to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble using basketball during late-night hours. This delivers a benefit ratio of €5.64 for every €1 invested.
Sport and Thought is a project working in Newman Catholic College in Brent, North West London, which offers weekly after-school football and psycho-therapeutic sessions to combat school exclusion. It provides a return on investment of £6.58 for every £1 spent.
Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, said: “What we see from the projects analysed in this report are the positive benefits that sport can generate in relation to health, education, and employment. But the benefits are not just for the individual. When these projects work they work for us all – whether it’s a reduction in police time spent on dealing with criminal behaviour, less health care on those who are leading more healthy lives or less support for those no longer cared for by social services or the prison system. This report helps frame that bigger picture, by contributing to the growing body of evidence showcasing the social and economic returns of sport worldwide.”
The production of Sport Scores is co-financed by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Ecorys Research Programme – Ecorys is a leading European research and consultancy company – with support from Bocconi University, Milan, the German Sport University, Cologne, the University of East London, the UK research company Substance and Professor Fred Coalter.
It draws on validated research methodologies from outside sport, including economic impact assessment, health research and literature on youth crime. This largely quantitative impact research was combined with high-quality research conducted by the universities involved.
The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness and health problems like obesity. Laureus is a global leader in research, expertise and best practice in supporting grassroots programmes around the world.
Since its inception, Laureus has raised more than €55 million to support projects which have helped to improve the lives of over one-and-a-half million young people. Currently Laureus supports more than 100 sports-based projects around the world.
- To read a full copy of the report, click here.
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