A Qualitative Investigation into the Barriers that Affect the Participation Rates for People Aged 14-16 in the Aberdare Area
University of Wales
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The value of sport is widely recognised; not only does it improve health and tackle obesity but it is suggested that it gives people confidence, diverts them away from drugs and crime as well as gives lessons of life such as fair play and respect (Welsh Assembly Government, 2005; Warburton et al. 2006; Girginov, 2008; Hylton and Brahman, 2008). Sport and physical activity is beneficial but participation rates are too low. There are three key challenges, namely increasing participation rates for the moderately active, maintaining the participation of those who meet the WAG’s (2005) 5 x 60 target as well as getting the inactive active. This can only be done by finding out the barriers that young people face, the reasons why they do not participate and how these issues can be overcome. Sport Council Wales (2006) data suggest that a majority of this age group only take part in sport or physical activity in school, so once they finish the compulsory school years they no longer have to engage in compulsory physical education or school sport and are at the risk of dropping out of participation altogether or lowering their participation rate. Therefore it is vital that opportunities are available and barriers are overcome if young people are to continue sport for the rest of their lives (Collins, 2010). The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes interviewing three males and three females aged 14-16 from Blaengwawr Comprehensive School, Aberdare. The findings from this research provide evidence that that opportunities are available but there are barriers such as price problems, travelling issues, lack of awareness, unsuitable or unwanted opportunities that prevent participation. Therefore, certain groups such as young people from socially deprived areas like Aberdare need personalised and specific opportunities in order to deal with issues such as health, crime and social exclusion (Collins and Kay, 2003; Holt, 2008; Hylton and Brahman, 2008; Bloyce and Smith, 2010; Collins, 2010). The main conclusions drawn from this study are how parents, schools, 5 x 60/E3 officers, sport centres, coaches and local clubs all need to work collaboratively to increase participation rates of all young people irrespective of age, size, gender or ability (Trimble et al., 2010). This needs to be done in order for young people to fully understand the benefits of sport and physical activity, and appreciate that it can be used as a platform for fun and enjoyment as well as dealing with issues such as health, social exclusion, crime, unemployment, education, social capital and community regeneration (Houlihan, 1997; Hylton and Brahman, 2008; Holt, 2008; Hoye et al., 2010). Therefore create a foundation for lifelong participation in sport and physical activity (Coalter, 2007; Green, 2008; Bloyce and Smith, 2010).
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