The Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (spear) has secured funding to evaluate high-profile projects supporting underrepresented groups to improve health and wellbeing through sport in cricket and rugby.

The spear team will evaluate grassroots participation of Premiership Rugby funded by the RFU and Gallagher Insurance. Delivered by 13 Premiership Rugby Clubs, Project Rugby, is designed to support the engagement, wellbeing and community connectedness of people with either a disability, from lower socioeconomic groups or from minority ethnic communities.

Building on the existing work with national children’s charity Chance to Shine, spear has also been awarded further funding to evaluate the impact of the Chance to Shine programme, which aims for all young people to have the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket.

Each year, Chance to Shine fund free programmes in 4,000 state schools and 200 disadvantaged communities in England, Wales and Scotland. Chance to Shine programmes are designed to remove barriers to play cricket, reflect the communities they are in and foster a welcoming environment where children can thrive and be themselves.

The focus of the evaluation for 2022/2023 is Chance to Shine’s work with a further 300 primary schools. Each school will receive a Whole School Programme and 40,000 children will take part. The aim is to give children a great experience of cricket, support their physical literacy and develop their wider wellbeing.

Spear is delighted to have the opportunity to build on our extant work with Chance to Shine and Premiership Rugby. Both programmes are targeted to support the health, wellbeing and development of people and communities that need this support most, but without clear evidence of impact would struggle to secure the investment key to their continuation.

Dr Abby Foad, Director of spear

Both projects are currently underway with the results of the work expected in early to mid-2023.

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