How Sport can Bridge the UK Trust Deficit – a Guest Blog from Sported

30th September 2019


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Groop have worked with Sported for the past 4 years, supporting the management and communications of their growing community of clubs and groups.

Sported are committed to making their community a safe place through the love of sport.

We’re honoured to share empowering words from Sported on the Groop blog.


In Sport, We Trust – How Sport can Bridge the UK Trust Deficit

At Sported, we know that if young people trust those around them, they can feel free to express themselves and explore their potential. They can become their best selves. 

If they don’t, they can’t. 

And in many communities across the UK – particularly disadvantaged communities – they don’t. 

In fact, young people from a lower socio-economic group (SEG) are 23% less likely to trust in people in their neighbourhoods than those from a higher SEG.* 

But there could be an answer to bridge this trust deficit. Sported’s groundbreaking new evidence, from leading UK data sets shows that joining a community sport group can give young people: 

  • Greater trust in their neighbours 
  • A stronger sense of belonging 
  • More close friends 
  • An increased likelihood of volunteering 
  • Greater life satisfaction, happiness and health TRUST MATTERS 

The details and methodology behind this summary are available in the full technical report

* Young people from a lower SEG are 23% less likely to trust their neighbours than those from a higher SEG. From a comprehensive analysis of all national data sets that ask young people about their involvement in sport clubs and community groups. 

Key Findings 

Young people from lower SEGs report 3x higher increase in life satisfaction scores from being a member of a sports club when compared to those from higher SEG.

Young people from lower SEGs report 10x higher increase in scores for trust in their neighbours as members of a sports club, when compared to those from higher SEGs. 

The data shows that there are two important factors to consider when analysing the outcomes for membership of sports clubs and groups on young people: 

  1. Sports group membership is more common in higher SEGs
  2. The better off you are, the more likely you are to be healthy, happy, trusting, and interacting with a more diverse group of people and experiences

How do we know? 

So, how do we know that these findings are actually the result of sport, and not just the higher income, education and SEG of the participants? 

This research takes into account the other factors that affect a young person’s wellbeing, like income, age, gender and other demographic characteristics. 

We isolate – as far as possible in the current data sets – the association between sports club membership and wellbeing for young people using a technique called ‘multivariate regression analysis. This means that we’re not just reporting simple correlations between sport and trust, wellbeing or life satisfaction. 

By controlling other factors, this work goes one step further in establishing the direct benefit for young people of being part of a sports club, and the impact this has on the ‘Community Development’ outcome sought by the DCMS Sporting Future strategy

In other words: this research shows, as far as possible, that sport club membership is associated with consistently higher scores in trust and life satisfaction for young people – especially those from lower SEGs. 

Bridging the trust deficit with Sported 

The full details and tables behind this summary report are available in the full technical report. This allows the interested reader to follow all our methodology, findings and dig deeper into the analysis and results. 

As the literature review from Leeds Beckett University accompanying this report demonstrates, these results build on decades of work looking at the benefits of collective endeavour and sport. From Robert Putnam’s seminal book ‘Bowling Alone’ in 2000 to the 2016 Casey Review of opportunity and integration, we’re understanding more and more about the role sport plays in building the bonds of trust that keep our communities healthy. 

Our new data builds on this body of literature and suggests that being part of a collective, purposeful endeavour like a community sport can help to build the friendships, trust and the impulse to volunteer that are so important to community development. 

Through our day-to-day work at Sported, we know that community sport groups bring people together around a common cause, challenging the stereotypes which keep us apart, and fostering key, trust-related life and employment skills, like teamwork and leadership. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping community groups in disadvantaged neighbourhoods survive, in order to help young people thrive. 

Trust is a valuable asset, but it takes time to grow. Only if our community groups are there for young people, today and tomorrow, can we build the happier, healthier communities. 

Want to know more about Sported?

Sported have created a powerful sporting community with real impact and results – to find out more about their impact and mission, head over to their website.