Street League project transforming lives

Sport is not just about getting fit – it's a tool that can transform lives. Here we look at one scheme that's giving new opportunities to young people across England

29 September 2016 Football Dance Funding

seven girls in dancing pose from street league

“Now that I’ve got a job I feel great about the future and earn my own money so I can save and do the things I want to do.”

Chelsea is one of many who have had their lives transformed by Street League – the UK-wide sports charity that’s getting disadvataged young people into work.

On course

A year ago Chelsea lacked confidence and found it hard to talk to people. All of that changed when she discovered Street League. The charity combines football and fitness sessions with vital training such as CV writing, interview skills. Any young person aged 16-25 and out of work can take part – and the results speak for themselves.

Chelsea (24) now has a full-time job and is full of confidence.

“When I first arrived on the course, everyone bonded through sport and the course leaders were interested in what you actually wanted to do rather than telling you.

“I feel really positive now, I’ve got so much more opportunities and I feel more confident in myself as well.”

That’s just one of the many benefits of the Street League programme. Supportive course leaders and weekly hour-long sessions are helping to bring people from all backgrounds together through the power of sport.

The charity’s mission is ambitious – to end youth unemployment in England.

With further support sessions on self-confidence, money management and careers guidance, all the ingredients are there. Working in 16 locations across the UK, 1,281 young people have moved into further education, training or employment during the last twelve months, with 55% sustaining their work for six months or longer.

Now that I’ve got a job I feel great about the future and earn my own money so I can save and do the things I want to do


The programme has reached out to the most disadvantaged areas of society, with 75% of participants facing at least one socio-economic barrier to employment.

Leo is another graduate of the Manchester Street League programme. The 19 year-old moved to the UK three years ago from Iran without speaking a word of English.

“At that time everyone rejected me. The only one who accepted me, and said welcome in, they were Street League. They let me play football every day and they showed me what to do. They had a massive influence on what I achieve now.”

Straight after graduating from the programme, Leo got a full-time job at the National Football Museum.

“A full-time job is something you can rely on. These people [Street League] can help you, these people can put you in a better place, to achieve what you want to do and be a better person.”

With 1 in 7 people aged 16-24 in the UK currently unemployed, youth unemployment remains a huge challenge.

First step

We’re supporting Street League to expand its reach and help make people healthier, happier and better off through Street Step.

Launched in 2015, the programme targets young females struggling to find jobs, education and training by using dance fitness sessions.

Our support over the last twelve months has enable the project to expand from three cities to five. There are now programmes running in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Street League let me play football every day and showed me what to do. They had a massive influence on what I achieve now


Matt Stevenson-Dodd, CEO of Street League, says: “The funding and support from Sport England has been instrumental in our expansion in 2016 to get 532 more young people moving into work through dance-fitness across the next three years.”

And this is just the start of our investment in projects that have a wider-reaching social impact across the country.

We’re working with British Gymnastics to improve the health and happiness of older people in care homes, many of whom are living with dementia, while our work with a table tennis club in Brighton attracted national attention for providing a sanctuary for young refugees.

Perfect examples of using sport and activity to change lives.