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The role of selected football projects in implementing sports programmes for young people living in deprived areas

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posted on 01.12.2016, 15:23 by Caron Walpole
Social exclusion was a defining issue for the New Labour Government when it came to power in 1997. The collaboration between sport and welfare policymakers created a favourable environment for the development of new sports projects. This thesis provides an analysis of the role of selected football projects in delivering this type of sports-based programme for young people living in deprived areas. The three objectives of this research are firstly, to provide an analysis of the national policy context between 1997 to 2014, secondly, to review the literature on policy-making and policy implementation and to identify suitable frameworks and concepts to facilitate analysis and thirdly, to provide a longitudinal analysis of three selected football projects located in areas of deprivation. This study uses a mixed method approach comprising semi-structured interviews and documentary evidence. From this, three case studies were developed using a thematic approach and analysed using a combination of multiple streams and implementation theory. The study identifies the many similarities shared by all three projects at their inception, reflecting the political priorities for tackling social exclusion through sport which was reinforced by adopting a top-down approach to project implementation. However, national political priorities changed as the New Labour Government approached the end of its term in office, and two of the three projects struggled to adapt to these changes. Nevertheless, the third project, supported by its host agency, did adapt to the changes in the political stream and maintained its original commitment to using football to address social exclusion. The study concludes that the success of the third project to adapt can be attributed to the nature of the project s host agency with its own continued commitment to social exclusion, its focus on football, its ability to retain the original project staff, its strength in fostering partnerships and in securing project funding. These factors ensured that this third football project was able to deliver sports programmes to its young people living in an area of high deprivation whilst also fulfilling its social objectives.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Caron Walpole

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.