StreetGames research 

Participant retention is a complicated business. This briefing paper provides an overview of some potential solutions and ideas for retaining participants in sport in areas of high deprivation, based on research conducted with a range of projects across the StreetGames network.

View the research here »


Key findings
  • To overcome participation barriers in disadvantaged areas, sports sessions need to be delivered at the right time, in the right place, for the right price and in the right style. Without getting these factors right all else is likely to fail.

  • Participants at doorstep sports sessions generally fall into one of four categories: ‘newbies’; ‘settling in’; ‘the core’; and the ‘dedicated’. Different strategies are needed to ensure that the needs of different groups of participants are met and progression up the ‘hierarchy of attenders’ is achieved.

  • The coach plays an extremely important role in participant retention.

  • Project staff need to consider ways to help young people ‘find their own way’ in sport beyond sessional attendance, whether this is in terms of joining a gym, booking a badminton court or joining a local sports club. This often requires support in terms of knowledge, skills and confidence – we call this sports citizenship.


Research background

StreetGames has a dedicated research and knowledge team which: 

  • Analyses rates of participation and engagement in sport to explore the differentials across socio-economic groups.

  • Explores and analyses participation trends amongst young people from lower socio-economic groups within specific sports 

  • Commissions and reviews specific research studies aimed at exploring attitudes and motivations towards sport and physical activity amongst young people from lower socio-economic groups

  • Identifies and prepares briefing papers and good practice case studies in doorstep sport to share the learning of ‘what works’.

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