StreetChance commissioned NPC to help the charity assess its impact.
StreetChance, a partnership between the Cricket Foundation and Barclays Spaces for Sports, engages young people in socially deprived areas affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
The programme runs weekly sessions based on a 6-a-side, fast-paced version of street cricket that can be played in any enclosed space (indoors or outdoors), as well as informal classes on topics such as gangs, knife crime and drug abuse. So far more than 38,000 young people have participated across 50 projects in seven cities—London, Birmingham, Bristol, Dewsbury, Liverpool, Hull and Manchester.
The aim is to positively engage pupils marginalised at school; provide diversionary activity for young people in communities affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour; encourage community cohesion by breaking down barriers between diverse communities that have previously struggled to integrate; and work towards positive outcomes for young people.
However, limited definitive evidence of a direct causal relationship between participating in sports and better social outcomes makes it difficult to prove the impact of StreetChance. Even where a correlation does exist—between participating in sports and improved health, for example—it is not always clear which causes which, or if something else causes both. And so the charity approached NPC to help them better understand the attitudes of young people and the potential benefits of StreetChance.
We ran a workshop with StreetChance staff and other stakeholders to develop a theory of change for the programme. We then reviewed the tools and systems that StreetChance was using to measure its own impact. Based on this, we developed recommendations about how StreetChance could improve its impact measurement.
Our next step was to help StreetChance implement some of these recommendations. We revised the existing survey, which involved adding validated questions developed by the Youth Justice Board to the existing survey and splitting the survey in two: one for the younger group (8-11), focusing on attitudes towards crime and anti-social behaviour, and another for the older group (12-18), capturing attitudes and actual behaviour. Using the revised surveys, StreetChance collected fresh data on the participants while we provided practical guidance during the process. Data was collected during cricket sessions and the National Competition between July and October 2013.
Once we received the results, we cleaned and analysed the data. We determined the baseline risk of participants committing crime and anti-social behaviour. We did this by estimating the likelihood that they would commit a crime in the near future based on their self-reported attitudes and behaviour. In addition to asking the older group if committing a crime was wrong, for example, we asked them if they themselves had committed it.
The final result was a publication of our key findings. StreetChance is now also thinking about how it incorporates some of the other recommendations to improve its measurement tools and systems.
The report is available to download here. It describes NPC’s findings from both surveys, and looks at the areas where StreetChance can have a positive impact—namely, on community cohesion, crime and anti-social behaviour, and health. It complements three largely qualitative evaluations conducted by Loughborough University.
The results of the surveys revealed that across different age groups and locations around 10-20% had anti-social attitudes and could be classed as at-risk of offending, whilst the majority held pro-social attitudes. This has helped StreetChance understand the attitudes of the young people they work with; its impact on the pro-social majority, where the focus is on prevention, providing safe havens and diversionary activity in communities where crime is prevalent, and the anti-social minority, where there is room for more positive intervention through peer socialisation.
The report also contains a set of recommendations regarding programme design, advising that programmes should be tailored to local needs, which might differ by area; that StreetChance should continue to work with young people, particularly focusing on children aged 8-11; and should consider working with other partners such as YOTs, other charities, and refugee agencies to customise its local programmes to local needs.
Richard Joyce, National StreetChanceOperations Manager, said of the work: ‘Our research project with NPC was hugely beneficial in terms of understanding our impact and helping us embed good practice into our future evaluation work. Through NPC’s expertise, we were able to develop a theory of change to fully understand how we can achieve our goals, and surveys that helped us understand better the attitudes of young people we work. The final report was hugely enlightening and helps to provide a great evidence base so we can prove and improve our impact as we continue to develop the StreetChance programme.’