We launched a flexible football program for young people from low socioeconomic and culturally and linguistically diverse communities in metropolitan and regional areas.
The program is based on a ‘pop-up’ format with teams comprising just three players. Attendance is free to all participants and sessions allow social interaction in a safe, supervised environment. The program also promotes healthy lifestyle behaviours through the ‘Smarter than Smoking’ branding and messaging.
By June 2018, more than 200 young people had taken part in the Street Football program. We attribute the program’s success to comprehensive and collaborative planning with diverse stakeholders.
We initially worked with the West Australian police’s community engagement division and used our already-successful inclusive programs as a foundation for early discussions.
We then worked with a number of community groups to develop program pilots, including:
Planning is already underway to extend the program to other regions.
Our vision for 2018–22 is to make football more accessible and a great experience for all. Part of this vision is to ensure that diversity is encouraged and celebrated within the Football West community.
Although we have previously run programs for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, stakeholder feedback indicated that there was a lack of opportunities for low-income youth from these communities. Additionally, research conducted as part of the scoping process for our strategic plan identified expanding small-sided programs to be a key strategy for engaging young people.
Our program target was to attract more than 300 participants across five sites and achieve more than 90% satisfaction in surveys.
The trial program at Katanning attracted more than 200 participants.
Beyond June 2018 (and at the time of writing) more than 700 participants have taken part in the program.
Throughout the program roll out, we surveyed participants to assess their satisfaction, likely retention, and recognition of key health messages. We recorded the following results:
We plan to conduct focus group evaluations and debrief stakeholders later in the year to determine the longer-term impacts of the program on participants, their families and stakeholders.