Social Impact Bond to support 'Chances Programme'

Sport England has announced it is using a Social Impact Bond (SIB) for the first time to improve opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The 'Chances Programme', developed by the funding body in partnership with Substance, the Life Chances Fund and Big Issue Invest, will support more than 6,000 people aged eight to 17 across 21 locations in the UK over the next three years.

Investment in the project comes from £1.25million from the Big Issue Invest’s Outcomes Investment Fund and Sport England’s own SIB. The money will be used to create new opportunities to help young people to get active and re-engage with education and skills provision, with the focus on those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those with an offending record and/or low school attendance.


The Chances Programme is currently delivered in Doncaster, Bristol and Devon, and during March and April will be rolled out to 18 more local authority areas.

“Whilst it's been hard for our children and young people to be active over the past year, this is an exciting project using physical activity to build happier and more productive lives and we are really proud to be a part of it,” said Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth.

“The Social Impact Bond model used for this project embodies the values of collaboration and innovation that we wish to live by in our new strategy, and this new model represents an excellent opportunity to diversify and develop our investment approach."

It is the first time that Sport England has used a SIB – a commissioning tool enabling organisations to deliver outcomes contracts and make funding for services conditional on achieving results – and with more than 20 commissioners involved, it makes it the largest number of commissioners engaged in a SIB in the world.

The bond will help Substance – a research and technology company specialising in sport and physical activity and community regeneration – to work with its network of 16 local organisations based in youth and community facilities where young people meet.

The organisations use sessions focusing on sport and physical activity – including martial arts, dance and expeditions – to help encourage young people to re-engage with education and skills training.


Research from the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice shows one in five young people reporting involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour, with around 75,000 new entrants into the youth justice system every year.

Figures from StreetGames also suggest that young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are around 50% less likely to take part in regular sport, volunteer, compete, be coached or hold club memberships than those from high-income households.

Substance uses a network of 16 organisations to deliver the programme in the youth and community facilities where young people meet:


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