The national governing bodies of sport are known as NGBs. They include organisations such as The Football Association, The Lawn Tennis Association and England Athletics. Aside from overseeing rules, clubs, coaching and competitions, the NGB of each sport decides how to spend income generated by membership fees, TV rights, Lottery Grants and investment from Government and the four UK Sports Councils. Therefore, NGBs are important social institutions – they are the custodians of tradition, influencing who gets to play sport and on what terms.

In 2005 - 2006, participation rates in sport were stagnant. Established ways of thinking and doing were clearly not meeting the demands of modern society. In response, Sport England ceased investing in strategies that were failing to attract new participants. The organisation also let it be known that future National Lottery funding would depend on the governing body of each sport convincing Sport England that their strategies and action plans could reasonably be expected to grow the numbers of people playing.

This encouraged governing bodies to think beyond their existing membership and club structure - and learn about the lives and sporting needs of all those not playing sport who, with the right offer, might.

The challenge NGBs faced was to find versions of their game which responded to the issues potential players saw as important. These included:

Less commitment – many people can’t afford the time and money to play twice a week, every week. The FA, realising that the full 11 a-side game was at conflict with modern lifestyles, responded. Their investment priorities shifted towards smaller-sided versions and recreational formats of football. Examples include programmes such as Just Play

No membership fees – the prospect of being charged by a club, regardless of whether you attended, was a negative factor. Instead, pay and play, subsidised and – if possible - free sessions were preferred. In response,Badminton England developed No Strings Badminton. The scheme aims to provide an attractive offer to those wanting to play badminton socially, but unable to commit to becoming club players.

Not too serious – many people are not interested in competitive forms of sport that demand structured training sessions. Rather, they want to play with their mates in teams that don’t select on ability. Catering to this,Volleyball England designed their Go Spike programme for recreational players.  

Feeling good and losing weight – both male and female participants placed importance on simply enjoying sport, while hoping to shed some pounds as a result. Taking this onboard,England Athletics developed their Run England programme. It encourages more people to run more often, regardless of their fitness level. 

Ease and convenience  – people want their sport to be available  in the right place, at the right time, in the right style and for the right price. Doorstep Sport was developed to specifically address each of these factors. 

The Female Factor - These preferences in how prospective participants wanted their sports applied to both genders, however, research into what women want from sport varied even more greatly from what was actually on offer. Many women lack the confidence to exercise alone.  Providing activity to existing groups of women significantly reduced barriers to participation based on low self-confidence and low self-esteem. Aside from exercising alongside people they knew, selecting a venue that was familiar to participants also helped greatly.

New Directions

While sports organisations were finding new ways to increase participation, Sport England funded several centres of expertise: WSFF, EFSD, Sporting Equals and StreetGames. The purpose of these organisations was to narrow the gaps in participation between rich and poor, women and men, BME and White British Individuals. 

Sport England funded StreetGames to work with 12 priority NGBs in order to find ways of bringing sport into disadvantaged areas. This involved finding out what young people wanted from particular sports and responding with new approaches. These were tested in Doorstep Sport projects and other settings. New training courses for coaches and leaders were also offered.

Soon, Doorstep Sport became an established type of sports delivery. NGBs started to apply the insights from Doorstep Sport to increase participation in their sport amongst disadvantaged young people.

The Golf Foundation listened to disadvantaged young people as they developed StreetGolf. 10 Young Ambassadors from SG helped to shape this new game which swaps putting greens and fairways for skips and car parks.

SmashUp! Badminton was created using insights from Doorstep Sport to cater specifically for what young people want, and how they want to play.

England Handball needed to grow their workforce to cash in on Handball’s increased popularity post London 2012. They developed a 3 hour Handball Activator workshop (LINK for this?) to introduce handball to community settings.

Table Tennis England embraced flexible playing formats by developing Instant Ping Pong. Because it can be played on any flat surface, Instant Ping Pong removes the barrier of needing formal equipment. 

The 12 priority NGBs for the 2013 - 17 Whole Sport Plan 

Badminton England

Badminton England sees young people as a priority market – and so wanted to create an offer to attract them. StreetGames provided them with insight from across the disadvantaged youth network - via practical training workshops and by sharing case studies and insight reports - around what young people wanted. By embedding this learning into SmashUp! Badminton, BADMINTON England ensured that their product was appealing and relevant. SmashUp! Badminton Activators trained by the NGB receive a classroom-based session around how to engage with young people. This is then followed by a practical session on how to use this knowledge to deliver SmashUp! Badminton in any setting. Activators now have the skills needed to engage with young people in a non-traditional setting and in a way that suits their needs.

By working with the NGB on this new product, StreetGames and Badminton England have also orientated StreetGames tutors to deliver the SmashUp! Badminton Activator workshop as part of the StreetGames Training Academy.

LTA - British Tennis

The LTA is committed to increasing youth participation in Tennis. Through a wide range of activities the Tennis Foundation is spearheading the drive to increase access to tennis across schools, further and higher education. StreetGames, through the Pop-Up Tennis Club project makes tennis accessible to young people across the country, igniting their passion for the game with a fantastic programme of free, fun and informal tennis coaching.

Throughout the summer of 2014, capitalising on the buzz of Wimbledon, 18 projects in Birmingham, Bristol, Redbridge, Chorley, Truro, Beverly, Yardley, West Bromwich, Hastings, Rochdale, Canning Town Newham, Walsall, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newham, Solihull, Ripley and Wigan formed 42 Tennis Pop-Up Clubs which engaged with over 760 young participants with the help of 125 volunteers and coaches. There was well over 250 hours of tennis played by young people, many of whom were picking up a racket for the first time.

Table Tennis England

Table Tennis England embraced flexible playing formats by developing Instant Ping Pong - an adaptable way of delivering Table Tennis. Although not developed specifically for the youth market, the Instant Ping Pong equipment was tested and very well received within the StreetGames network. The flexibility of the equipment lends itself well to delivering table tennis in a relaxed and informal way, within any setting. This appeals to StreetGames projects, and fits well with the Doorstep Sport approach.

More recently, Table Tennis England has been re-thinking its offer for young people. In response, StreetGames presented their key insights to the development team around table tennis in the StreetGames network. Table tennis remains popular across Doorstep Sport clubs in Wales as well as England, again utilising Instant Ping Pong equipment.


Since the inception of StreetGames in 2007, England Athletics have fully committed to engaging in the Doorstep Sport approach – with London as the priority area for their Doorstep Sport offering.  Funds secured through a successful bid to the Mayor’s Legacy Fund, partnership funding from local authorities and StreetGames itself allowed the development of Run! London Athletics’ Activators Project.

Run! is a community grass roots athletics initiative aimed at creating fun and easily accessible opportunities for Londoners in deprived areas whose existing athletics provision is limited. The project was initially established via 10 new Athletics Activators based in the five Olympic host boroughs of Newham, Greenwich, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Hackney plus Lewisham, Haringey Westminster/Lambeth, Brent and Hammersmith and Fulham.

StreetGames supported the induction and training of the Run! Activators to enhance their understanding of the issues surrounding the development and delivery of sport in disadvantaged areas. A number of the Run! Activators have gone on to lead Doorstep Sport Clubs across London, building athletic activity in a multi-sport environment.

Run! has supported Run Dem Crew, over four hundred strong and growing. The RDC is a collective of creative heads with a passion for running and the exchange of ideas. They meet every Tuesday to run and explore the streets of London. Now RDC’s youth contingent, Run Dem Crew Youngers, offers a glimpse of how sporting opportunities can reflect and respond to the lifestyle of participants, whatever their age.


The Exercise, Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP) was formed in 2006 as the national governing body for exercise, movement and dance activity (EMD). Recognised and funded by Sport England, EMD is defined as ‘activity that contains elements of exercise, movement and dance collectively delivered in a sporting and/or physical activity context’.

StreetGames’ Us Girls Programme focused on supporting 16-25 year old females to become more active by providing them with fitness and sport opportunities within their local communities. The programme received £2.3 million of National Lottery investment from Sport England as part of its ‘Active Women’ campaign, designed to tackle the gender gap in sport (2011-2013). 65% of the 34,000 participants within the Us Girls programme engaged in EMD activities - and StreetGames’ recent insight and lifestyle studies indicate its popularity among young women and girls continues to grow.

EMDP recognised the popularity of their activity with community based youth, housing and regeneration organisations through the Us Girls – Active Women Programme. So far, over 26,000 women and girls in disadvantaged communities have been mobilised through EMD. EMDP have also collaborated with StreetGames to develop a Dance Activator Award.  The next stage of the journey involves joint investment in a support package for organisations that offers: online session content, a network of Doorstep Dance Mentors, insight into new EMD trends and opportunities to join flash mobs at festivals. 

The FA

Football is consistently one of the top three most popular activities for both males and females in the StreetGames network. Recently, the focus of StreetGames’ work with the FA has been sharing knowledge and insight gained through the Us Girls programme.

As part of StreetGames’ Doorstep Sport Club programme, careful attention has been paid to ensure that any football activity complements the community investment of the Premier League and Football Foundation. Consequently, 19 Football League Trust clubs are operating 40 multi-sport Doorstep Sport Clubs. The clubs have benefited from the action research workshops and activator awards offered through the StreetGames Training Academy.

The Football Pools work with StreetGames to use the power of football to change underprivileged young peoples’ lives and communities. They provide investment into 5-a-side football opportunities for disadvantaged young people (16-25) who cannot make a weekly commitment to league football. These players are not necessarily the most talented or frequently-coached, but they still want to join in the national game. Approximately 15,000 young people benefit from 300 neighbourhood sports festivals, which predominantly involve football but also include other sports. The blue ribbon event of the Football Pools Programme is an annual 5-a-side competition structure with development of 11 regional tournaments, culminating in a national final at St George’s Park, the Football Association’s new National Centre for Football.

The initial investment by the Football Pools in the Football Pools Fives identified a need to recruit referees and coaches from among the StreetGames target market. This insight was used to broker a deal with the FA to adapt their refereeing course - a big major gesture from the UK’s largest governing body.

England Handball

England Handball was determined to get their offer right for different market segments, based on insight and testing. StreetGames shared their knowledge of women and girls, as well as young people living in disadvantage areas. This helped shape the development of England Handball’s Girls4Gold workshop, and Handball Activator workshop. Both workshops aim to grow the workforce to help lift participation in the sport, and the NGB sees the StreetGames network as an excellent opportunity to assist in this. Between 2012 and the present over 1035 learners have attended the Handball Activator workshop, helping handball to rise in the rankings of the top ten most popular sports delivered in Doorstep Sports Clubs. The NGB also enabled existing UKCC Level 2 coaches to develop their handball-specific knowledge through a shortened version of their level 2 qualification that factors in prior learning. This shortened version recognises the transferable skills learnt on other UKCC Level 2 programmes of ‘how to coach’, so allowing a focus on skills specific to handball.

By working closely with the NGB on developing activities that are suitable for a community setting, StreetGames also delivers the Handball Activator workshop as part of the StreetGames Training Academy.

Rugby – Premier Rugby and RFL

Welsh Rugby Union, in conjunction with StreetGames and Communities First, have taken rugby to the doorsteps of young people all over Wales. The Street Stars initiative, launched by Wales International, Ryan Jones, takes rugby out of the traditional club environment and on to the streets.

The Street Stars sessions take place in car parks, street corners and public games areas, using an obstacle course to challenge young people’s skills in passing, evasion, throwing, kicking and tackling – all against the clock.

The initiative has been hugely successful around Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen, attracting over 6000 participants in its first summer. After achieving impressive results, it will now become a national community rugby initiative with a plan in place to take the programme into every Communities First area in Wales.

Building on the success of rugby in Wales, StreetGames has been leading a dual code collaboration with the RFL, Premier Rugby and WRU to produce a community rugby activator workshop as part of the StreetGames Training Academy.

England Boxing

Boxing clubs, and youth clubs that provide boxing activity, have a long history of offering young people in disadvantaged communities routine, structure, discipline, self-control and a focus for their energy. Boxing consistently features within the top ten most popular activities within the StreetGames network for both males and females.

Research highlights that, regardless of gender, a high quality non-contact workout appeals far more than sparring and ring craft. In response to this, StreetGames are supporting the roll-out of BOX - England Boxing's new recognised boxing fitness workout. The training course, which underpins the BOX programme, is suitable for fitness instructors, teachers and community leaders. BOX Instructors are qualified to deliver fun fitness sessions incorporating Olympic-style boxing techniques.

92 Doorstep Sport Clubs have a commitment to deliver boxing activity, and this is set to grow significantly with England Boxing’s BOX training for community and youth workers.

The Golf Foundation

The Golf Foundation identified a need to make golf more accessible, particularly to young people in disadvantaged communities normally unable to try the sport. In partnership with a StreetGames project in Lincoln, a new way to play golf was created: StreetGolf. Created for young people by young people, StreetGolf is a real example of youth action in practice, and an example of an NGB creating an offer specifically for new markets.  By enabling the game to be played in any setting, StreetGolf opened up the activity to community sport providers. The youth-led ethos is evident, with young people being encouraged to be creative and come up with their own games and challenges, based on their own Doorstep Sport setting.

StreetGolf was tested in 22 StreetGames projects across England in 2012, and was very well received. As a result of this testing, the Golf Foundation ring-fenced funding to enable StreetGames projects access to the StreetGolf product and training. In this way, participants were helped to support access to golf at local clubs or driving ranges, helping to connect the sport to the mainstream.

By working closely with the NGB on StreetGolf, StreetGames also delivers the StreetGolf Activator workshop as part of the StreetGames Training Academy.

England Netball 

Netball is a popular activity delivered through Doorstep Sport Clubs, Us Girls and other StreetGames programmes. Our work with England Netball is aiming to support the NGB to understand what netball delivery looks like in disadvantaged communities as well as linking the StreetGames and Us Girls projects to My Game – England Netball’s community programmes. We know that netball is played in many different formats, often without a court or bibs, we are working to share this learning with England Netball. A number of Us Girls netball sessions are linked to their local Back to Netball initiative.

Rounders England

Insights from Doorstep Sport are helping Rounders England to shape their new youth strategy.

By working closely with the NGB on developing activities that are suitable for community settings, StreetGames also delivers the rounders activator workshop as part of the StreetGames Training Academy. 


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