Frequently Asked Questions

Why is LtPF needed?

Children from ethnically diverse backgrounds are significantly under-represented in the participation of sport and physical activity and are significantly over-represented in the Youth Justice System. The Project aims to level the playing field across England and Wales by working with its partners and acting as the interface between the two.

Who are the Project’s main beneficiaries?

Over the next three years, the Project will support over 11,200 children (male and female) aged 10–18 years of age and who are identified as being on the fringes of, or already involved with, the Youth Justice System in England and Wales. Predominantly, they will be from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

What type of project is LtPF?

Levelling the Playing Field is a ‘Research and Development’ project designed to support and empower local community organisations who are best placed to engage our main beneficiaries through sport, physical activity and mentoring. The Project will invest in capacity building, advocacy, communications and building the evidence base. Working directly with government, criminal justice agencies and a range of strategic partners, the Project will drive collaboration, champion good practice and scale up across England and Wales.

Who funds Levelling the Playing Field?

London Marathon Charitable Trust has provided a grant of up to £1 million for the next three years. The Project has also sourced a significant amount of in-kind support from our strategic partners including the Youth Justice Board and other criminal justice agencies.

How has LtPF been impacted by COVID-19?

During lockdown 2020 we have been building local partnerships and the Project’s infrastructure. We have also been listening to local need to ensure that our support is needed and positioned appropriately. However, we are also deeply concerned: we know that COVID-19 is impacting disproportionately on ethnically diverse communities. The wellbeing and safety of all those involved in the Project is paramount. We will be there to support, advocate and amplify across our national strategic partners wherever needed.

Why does LtPF only work in four areas?

Our goal is to scale up across England and Wales. Initial funding has enabled the Project to test and evaluate in four areas and we had to ensure these were geographically spread and included a strong social, cultural and economic mix to provide a balance of challenges and opportunities for learning. To help select the areas we used data from the Youth Justice Board and Police and Crime Commissioners. Key deciding factors included high through-put and over-representation figures and the use of pre-court and community disposals and custodial sentences.

Why is LtPF focusing on the role of sport and physical activity?

Recent evidence across England and Wales demonstrates that people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are far less likely to be physically active. By empowering local community groups driving collaboration, LtPF will increase participation in sport and physical activity, leading to increased opportunities and support for our beneficiaries, increased connectedness and trust with local criminal justice agencies and ultimately fewer children involved with the Youth Justice System.

How can you support LtPF?

We are looking for more supporters to help fund additional research, increase capacity and provide more resources for our local community organisations and opportunities for our main beneficiaries. We are also looking for supporters to help scale up LtPF across England and Wales. Visit our Get Involved page to become a supporter.

How is LtPF using a Public Health Approach?

The Project uses the three levels of health promotion (primary, secondary and tertiary) designed to increase the overall health of the population.

Primary (preventing harm) - the Project will raise wider awareness and understanding across communities by disseminating success stories, celebrating positive role models and sharing good practice.

Secondary (reversing harm) - the Project will empower up to 40 Sport for Development organisations across the four geographical project areas. Through capacity building, it will help them increase their reach and impact on those engaging in limited amounts of physical activity and displaying signs of low motivation and wellbeing.

Tertiary (reducing harm) - the Project will train and support mentoring across the four project areas working with children identified as ‘high-risk’.

How is LtPF's data collected and recorded?

Data is recorded in different ways in each of the three 'tiers' of delivery:
Tier 1: Data is sourced by the University of Birmingham (UoB)'s research team from existing data sets held by organisations such as Sport England, with support from Upshot, Public Health and others.

Tier 2: Delivery partners will collect data on their participants' age, ethnicity, gender, location, and frequency and type of physical activity engagement.

The UoB team will record data on physical and mental wellbeing, levels of physical activity, individual development (motivation for sport, managing emotions, self-concept) and social and community development (pro-social norms, relationships and links to community).* Qualitative feedback from the young people, delivery staff, families and referrers will also explore experiences of sport and physical activity, being healthy, and the criminal justice system.

Tier 3: Using the Do-It Profiler, programme mentors will measure variables which include participants' feeling of competence, autonomy and relatedness in physical activity, engagement, wellbeing, motivation and personal development (self-worth, self-efficacy, behavioural control and social trust). The UoB team will also record qualitative feedback as in Tier 2 and ask about the perceived quality of mentor support.

*Adopting the Alliance of Sport's Theory of Change as a framework

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