To what extent can sport and physical activity change the attitudes of young people regarding anti-social behaviour? A case study of Catch22, Cardiff
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The aim of this study was to investigate if sport and physical activity can have an effect on changing young people’s attitudes about anti-social behaviour. “Vague and unexamined claims about sport’s ability to address issues of anti-social behaviour and crime have always underpinned public investment in sport” (Coalter, 2007, p.115). 40% of crime is committed in 10% of locations and two thirds of young offenders come from these areas. The government has invested £20 million since 2000 in to Youth Inclusion Projects (YIP’s) to try and limit youth offending and socially include more young people (MacDonald, 2007). Thus, this study wanted to investigate whether sport and physical activity actually has a positive effect on the young people attending these projects and to try and give support to its value in reducing anti-social behaviour. The research carried out on the Catch22 (YIP) in Cardiff included 8 semi-structured interviews on the young people who regularly attended. Numerous roles of sport came out of the interviews, these included; sport and physical activity acting as an antidote to boredom; sport as a form of releasing anger and changing moods; a way of diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour and an attitude that favoured sport over participating in undesired anti-social behaviours. Other issues indentified by the research included the value of other activities alongside sport and physical activity such as music and the role of the family as a possible reason for anti-social behaviour. Other challenges for Catch22 also arose, such as, not reaching out to as many young people as possible and the lack of incentives to attend, for example, transport. While some of the young people understood the meaning of anti-social behaviour, others did not and still have negative perceptions of the law. The role of the youth worker acting as a role model to the young people was very significant in changing their attitudes. Furthermore, the young person feeling a sense of empowerment through sport and physical activity was very significant in their behaviour change.
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