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Sport England

Getting young people active

Our client, Sport England, is a non-departmental government body in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Its aim is to ingrain sport, movement and physical activities into the lives of all people in the UK, regardless of backgrounds.

This research was originally conducted by YouthSight, now part of Savanta.

The Challenge

Sport England wanted to find out why growth in sport and physical activity had stalled among young people, and how they could change this.

To encourage young people to be more active, Sport England realised that they needed to involve this demographic in policy development, investments and decision making.

It was important that Sport England could communicate with those not already engaged in sport.

Our approach

An attitudinal segmentation of 14–25-year-olds identified six personas, including sport enthusiasts and cautious introverts.

We built on this with qualitative work to develop a set of principles for communicating with each of these segments, particularly those who were uninterested in or lukewarm about sport. This was then shared with everyone from grass-roots clubs to the Football Association and the Lawn Tennis Association.

Then came an online co-creation project where young people helped brainstorm new ways of getting active.

The last piece of research looked at transitions from school to higher education, and how this creates opportunities for young people to try out new activities.

The outcome

The work we conducted helped contribute to a cultural change at Sport England, grounding its work in a deeper, first-hand understanding of young people.

It fed into Sport England’s new ‘Towards An Active Nation’ strategy, which focuses on giving young people “a voice and choice” when it comes to sport and physical activity, and includes a specific commitment to supporting people through the transition from secondary to higher education.

This research was originally conducted by YouthSight, now part of Savanta.

YouthSight helped us start a dialogue with different types of young people, including those who are less active. They have been key in enabling us to effectively engage with this audience.

Sport England

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