Chances the world’s first social outcomes partnership which uses sport and physical activity as a pathway to tackling deep-rooted social issues.

With 41 partners involved Chances is considered the world’s largest social outcomes partnership.

The world’s first social outcomes partnership

Partership

Community

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What is Chances?

The Chances programme is a four-year project launched in November 2020 to support disengaged young people from deprived backgrounds to attend school more regularly, gain qualifications, get into training, reduce or avoid offending whilst also improving their levels of physical literacy.

Chances is the world’s first sports-based social outcomes partnership (SOP), and the largest social outcomes partnership in the world. Chances is co-commissioned by 21 local authorities and works with 16 delivery partners including professional football club community organisations and other youth, community and sport providers. Each organisation uses its extensive experience and expertise to support disadvantaged and vulnerable young people – up to 6000 in total during the lifetime of the programme.

  • Chances is an evidence-based sport and activity programme, based on 20 years of insight and learning from evaluations of hundreds of community-based sport projects.
  • It embraces influences from the sport, youth work and criminal justice sectors.
  • There is a focus on the use of sport and physical activity to improve personal, social and community development outcomes
  • It embraces a purposeful intention to change, rather than simply ‘manage’, young people’s behaviour and lives, a model that delivers tangible value rather than just opportunities to get involved
  • It uses insight, behaviour change principles and partnership working to deliver outcomes

Young people are referred to Chances by their local authority young people’s service, youth justice team, education team or they can refer themselves. Participants must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Excluded from school or have low school attendance,
  • NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or at risk of becoming NEET,
  • Have previous offending behaviour.

Through an activity plan of sport, physical activity, mentoring, therapy, personal development and life skills that is designed to meet individual interests and needs, each young person takes manageable steps towards improving their attendance at school, reducing their NEET status, reducing or preventing their offending behaviour and/ or improving their physical literacy.

Once on the programme, a highly bespoke package of support is co-created by the service provider and the young person themselves. Chances deliberately does not provide a blueprint for activity, timings or locations. The delivery model is flexible enough to encourage a collaborative approach that focuses on the needs of each participant.

If you are interested in referring a young person to Chances or just want to find out more about your local project contact Sangita Patel, sangita.patel@substance.net, or Matt Baird, matt.baird@substance.net.

Chances is specifically focused on young people who are experiencing complex social problems underpinned by deprivation, poor family circumstances, adverse childhood experiences and who are living in areas where local services are too stretched to provide adequate support. These young people vitally need the support of someone they can trust to make positive life choices and realise their potential.

Whilst Chances is unable to address the root causes of young people’s difficulties, our delivery partners have the flexibility to use a wide range of strategies to support them, building multiple layers of protection around the young person so they feel listened to, safe, supported and able to focus on achieving their goals.

The Chances model, which focuses on funding the achievement of outcomes rather than completion of outputs contrasts with many traditional grant-funded interventions. For example, Chances is not solely focused on measuring a set number of sessions spent playing football, reading or studying each week. Instead, it focuses on the bond developed between a young person and a trusted adult, and a personalised delivery approach which centres on supporting the young person to achieve change in their lives.

The latest quarterly performance data shows:

  • 5,416 young people have been actively engaged in Chances
  • Over 6,500 outcomes have been achieved triggering £2.8million in outcome payments so far. Including:
    • 1,350 recognised qualifications achieved
    • 118 work placements of 30 hours completed
    • 451 reductions in offending behaviour evidenced
    • 334 improvements in school attendance evidenced
    • 4,252 improvements in physical literacy at mid and end points.

  • Arsenal in the Community (London Borough of Islington)
  • Aston Villa Foundation (Birmingham city with Birmingham Children’s Trust)
  • Energize Shropshire Telford and Wrekin (Shropshire County Council)
  • Exeter City Community Trust (Devon County Council)
  • Flying Futures (Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council)
  • Foundation of Light (Sunderland city with Together for Children)
  • Leyton Orient Trust (London Borough of Waltham Forest)
  • Middlesbrough FC Foundation (Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Borough Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council & Stockton Borough Council in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland)
  • Newcastle United Foundation (Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Borough Council & Northumberland County Council)
  • Oxfordshire Youth (Oxford City Council)
  • Project PT (Oxford City Council)
  • Palace for Life Foundation (London Borough of Lambeth)
  • Positive Youth Foundation (Coventry City Council)
  • Saints Foundation (Southampton City Council)
  • Watford Community and Education Sports Trust (London Borough of Harrow)
  • Wigan Athletic Community Trust (Wigan Borough Council)
  • Youth Moves (Bristol City Council)

National Commissioners

  • Sport England
  • Life Chances Fund (funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and administered by The National Lottery Community Fund)

A Social Outcomes Contract, SOC, is a type of Payment by Results (PbR) contract, where upfront finance is provided by social investors and only repaid when the commissioned outcomes are achieved. SOCs are an alternative to traditional grant funding, focusing on outcomes for complex social issues, targeting specific groups of people.

The upfront investment of £1.25M was made into Chances by social investor Big Issue Invest. Sport England commissions the ‘physical literacy’ outcomes, paying out when participants increase their participation in and understanding of physical activity and sport.

The Life Chances Fund (funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and administered by The National Lottery Community Fund) and Local Authorities pay for the education, training and reduced offending outcomes.

Substance has driven the programme from inception

We secured backing from Sport England, the DCMS’ Life Chances Fund (LCF) and investment from Big Issue Invest to launch Chances. We also manage the day-to-day implementation, contract management, outcomes tracking and evaluation of the programme.

Outcomes, patience and personalisation – learning from the Chances programme.

Achieving outcomes is central to the Social Outcome Contract (SOC) concept, but now we appreciate outcomes are more than just goals to be met. ‘Outcomes thinking’, ‘outcomes planning’, ‘outcomes forecasting’, ‘designing for outcomes’ have triggered a positive mind-shift in the providers.

Providers have learnt the critical importance of identifying and engaging the ‘right’ young person around whom they design an individualised programme of intervention. Chances deliberately does not provide a blueprint for activity type, timings or locations. The delivery model is totally flexible to encourage a collaborative approach that centres on the needs of each participant and ultimately the outcomes we hope they achieve

Achieving outcomes is central to the Social Outcome Contract (SOC) concept, but now we appreciate outcomes are more than just goals to be met. ‘Outcomes thinking’, ‘outcomes planning’, ‘outcomes forecasting’, ‘designing for outcomes’ have triggered a positive mind-shift in the providers.

Providers have learnt the critical importance of identifying and engaging the ‘right’ young person around whom they design an individualised programme of intervention. Chances deliberately does not provide a blueprint for activity type, timings or locations. The delivery model is totally flexible to encourage a collaborative approach that centres on the needs of each participant and ultimately the outcomes we hope they achieve

We have learnt that Chances is not suitable for all young people and that its best to stay close to the eligibility criteria:

  • Risk of NEET, school refuser, low school attender
  • NEET
  • Previous offending behaviour

Providers continue to tell us that Chances is effective at supporting young people who would otherwise ‘slip through the youth services net’. We’ve learnt that Chances can offer local authorities an effective solution for young people who do not fit into the formal education structure or standard youth offers.

We are proud of the amazing work, time and dedication our providers put into each young person. We know that participants need time to build trust with key staff, find their way and to see that their life can be different.

Participants in Chances, like other SOC service users, are experiencing complex social problems, which are underpinned by deprivation, family breakdown, poverty and poor local services. Whilst we’re unable to address the root causes, our providers use many different strategies to support participants including sport, physical activity, mentoring, therapy, personal development and life-skills to build multiple layers of protection around the young person.

The role of data in this process cannot be overstated.

Collecting comprehensive data has ensured that providers are clear about their participants’ needs and interests, allowing them to respond accordingly. Robust evidence (from police, schools, social services, awarding bodies) has provided us with the knowledge and confidence that outcomes have been achieved. Providers have learnt to implement systems to collect and collate data in a way many have not done before.

Chances Case Studies

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