The Positive Youth Foundation in Coventry has become one of the first organisations in the UK to receive a national ‘sport for development’ accreditation, in recognition of its success in helping vulnerable young people to change their lives for the better.
The social enterprise supports more than 2,000 young people a year through a range of sporting activities, from football and boxing to rock-climbing and surfing, as well as through music, education, training and other initiatives.
It is one of just three organisations that took part in a pilot of Quest Sport for Development: a new assessment aimed at agencies involved in sport for development (S4D) work.
The growing S4D sector is made up of organisations that use sport to achieve personal and social objectives, from improving physical and mental wellbeing and educational attainment to increasing community cohesion and civic engagement.
To achieve Quest Sport for Development accreditation, the Positive Youth Foundation – which was rated ‘Very Good’ by assessors – went through a rigorous evaluation process covering everything from the specifics of delivering S4D projects to partnerships and collaboration, people and skills development, community outcomes and continuous improvement.
Quest Sport for Development has been jointly developed by Substance, a leading research and technology company supporting government, charities and social businesses; and Quest, Sport England’s quality scheme for sport and leisure, which accredits more than 600 leisure centres across the UK.
Following the success of the pilot scheme, Quest Sport for Development is now being rolled out across the country.
Rashid Bhayat, founder and executive director of the Positive Youth Foundation, said: “We use many mediums to engage with young people, but sport is one of the most popular as it helps them to develop personal skills and raises aspirations.
“Sports programmes are also vital when working with young people who are either not in the education system or are disengaged. By using the power of sport to build trust and mutual respect, staff are able to guide young people towards sustainable learning programmes and employment opportunities.
“We signed up for Quest Sport for Development because it had become clear to us that having an accredited quality mark was essential if we were going to grow and develop our organisation.
“We are definitely stronger since we took part in the process, as all our staff are now well aware of the core ingredients that make us who we are – not least our cohesiveness as a team – as well as where we can improve.”
Neil Watson, director and head of programmes at Substance, said: “The Positive Youth Foundation demonstrated an impressive ability to engage and support young people living in the most deprived parts of Coventry through its excellent sport and activity programmes.
“It is an incredibly well-led organisation with well-qualified and motivated staff, many of whom are themselves former participants.
“This foundation is already at the forefront of the drive to use sport to improve lives and make communities safer and healthier places to live and work. Its early commitment to gaining Quest Sport for Development accreditation shows that it is focused on getting even better.”