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Participation by group

We have undertaken a considerable amount of research exploring sports participation levels amongst particular groups of people.

We recognise that there are inequalities in sports participation and have an interest in conducting research to investigate the potential barriers to sports participation for some groups.

We have experience of the evaluation of public interventions which aim to change behaviours and reduce barriers.

Previous work

Our previous work has included the evaluation of Sport Unlimited, a programme aimed at engaging and retaining young people aged 11–19 in sport and physical activity.

This evaluation identified and shared good practice on what works to engage, retain and sustain young people's participation. The evaluation helped to shape the subsequent Sportivate programme which built on the successes and lessons learned from Sport Unlimited.

We have experience of conducting research to explore the attitudes of non-participants, or those who have dropped out of sport. For example, in our evaluation of the Get Wet! Swim 4 Free (GWS4F) programme for London Swimming and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, one element of the research was to engage with those young people who had applied for a GWS4F membership card but had not attended a session.

For England Athletics' Bridging the Gap research we applied a mixed methods approach to identifying and understanding the factors influencing the retention and development of young athletes through to senior competitive level.

We used England Athletics' Power of 10 database to identify elite-level athletes at junior level in 2005 and tracked them through to 2010 to generate retention rates for individual events and for the sport as a whole.

A sample of active and inactive athletes, successful senior athletes and coaches were interviewed by telephone and in person, in order to expand on the issues uncovered by the review of secondary data.

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