Inner London is an increasingly diverse economic area. Social tenements and million pound houses share streets across the City, yet evidence shows that the relationships between young people from different socio-economic backgrounds can be an issue.
A recent study showed that young people from lower socio-economic groups are 23% less likely to trust in people from higher socio-economic groups. It also showed that sports clubs were an excellent way to close this “trust deficit” as they support greater trust in neighbours; a stronger sense of belonging; more close friends; an increased likelihood of volunteering; and greater life satisfaction, happiness and health.
7 out of 10 young people also believe anti-social behaviour occurs because of boredom. There is a large body of evidence to suggest the sport is not only creates a “diversion” from boredom, but that it is also the best “hook” for those young people most at risk of committing crime.
Furthermore, 29% of the British Public believe sharing hobbies and going to sports clubs together is one of the best ways of encouraging different types of people to mix more. 71 % of people say that the performance of their local sport team can affect their feeling of pride in their local area.
Platform Cricket over-achieves in engaging children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Whilst 40% of children in the boroughs we work in are entitled to a Free School Meal, 63% of children moving into our "Pop Up" Clubs are.
Similarly, the Platform Programme has proven to be successful in engaging children from ethnic minority backgrounds. Whilst 54% of our focus boroughs have a white background, only 37% of children participating in our "Pop Up" Clubs are white. Of these 37%, almost half are European or mixed European. Other ethnic groups compare as follows:
- Mixed: 6% (Borough Averages) > 6% (Platform)
- Asian: 21% (Borough Averages) > 24% (Platform)
- Black: 16% (Borough Averages) > 31% (Platform)
- Other: 2% (Borough Averages) > 2% (Platform)
Whilst we are immensely proud that our model and approach is bucking participation trends in cricket, the balance of children from a wide variety of backgrounds within the scheme is what enables us to support better social cohesion, and in particular address the "trust deficit".
Cricket, as a team sport played over a longer period of time than most, is an excellent way for children to build relationships as there are ample opportunities for social interaction in and around a game, as well as the need for cooperation and teamwork within it.
However, our coaching team also include a range of generic team-building and problem-solving activities within sessions in order to ensure interaction and cohesion is emphasised.
Almost half (48%) of our participants significantly increased the amount of time they spent with children from different backgrounds through the Platform programme.
52% of children reported an increased sense of pride in their area/neighbourhood as a result of their representing it as part of Platform's competitive programme.