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Loughborough University
Institutional Repository

The role of selected football
projects in implementing
sports programmes for
young people living in

deprived areas

This item was submitted to Loughborough University's Institutional Repository
by the/an author.

Additional Information:

• A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

Metadata Record:

Publisher: c© Caron Walpole

Rights: This work is made available according to the conditions of the Cre-
ative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Please cite the published version.

Page 178


Conclusion for the rationale of the project

Football and volunteer development were the core elements of the rationale for the

Aston football project throughout its lifetime even though the content of the national

problem and policy streams changed in the middle years. The project had responded

to high profile local problems such as gang crime, anti-social behaviour by young

people and community cohesion issues at the start and middle years of the project

by integrating this into the design and implementation of the project. However,

community safety and community cohesion disappeared from the project as the

content of the national policy stream moved away from New Labour’s policy

commitment to address social problems at a local level through national regeneration

programmes. By 2013, volunteer development had emerged as the project’s leading

rationale and football development had become a minor rationale.

There was little evidence of knowledge of or access to local policy streams after the

middle years of the project and this was exacerbated when Juned left his position as

project coordinator, with no local policy advocates remaining in place to support the

project. The project’s host agency, Birmingham City Council, had adopted a hands-

off approach to the project, not providing support or protection when the content of

the national streams moved away from social exclusion and sport as a social tool.

This had resulted in a move away from top-down implementation at the start and

middle years of the project towards a bottom-up approach in the later years of the

project as the volunteers took responsibility for the project themselves as a policy

vacuum developed due to changes in the national and local streams changed and

funding sources became more difficult to find.


Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council had acted as the host agency for the project at the start

and middle years of the project whilst the major funding sources were in place. This

partnership had provided the project with the infrastructure for the project delivery

and included the employment of the project staff and the financial management

systems. This partnership complemented Birmingham City Council’s commitment to

the devolution of its services to local areas and community empowerment particularly

Page 179


in areas of deprivation. Felce, the Area Manager for the Sports service, did not get

involved in the operational side of the project but helped to give the project access to

the support it might need on a longer term basis. Felce explained his role:

‘the intention before I left was to get Aston Sports Club to be self-sufficient

enough to transfer across once the facilities were complete and I think they

did do that to some success.’ (Interview: 24.06.2015)

Birmingham City Council also played a significant role for the project by providing

good quality all-weather sports facilities in Aston through its application to the

‘Barclays Spaces for Sport’ programme, a partnership between Barclays Bank and

the Football Foundation launched in 2004 to support projects in deprived areas. This

funding provided a floodlit MUGA on Aston Park and a revenue stream which was

used to subsidise the use of the MUGA by local projects, including the Aston football

development project. By 2013, the project was still using this facility as its base and

was seen as a priority user for the facility on Saturday mornings.

However, the direct partnership between Birmingham City Council and the project

came to an end when Felce left his post and the major sources of funding from Hat

Trick and Aston Pride came to an end in 2009. Birmingham City Council as host

agency did not support the project in applying for further funding sources to extend

or expand the project at any point through applications to agencies such as the

Football Foundation, leaving the project to rely on its young volunteers. Birmingham

City Council remained as a minor partner in its role as the provider of the sports

facilities on Aston Park but did not have any additional involvement after the middle

years of the project, reflecting the move away from working in deprived communities

in the national policy stream.

Aston Pride

Aston Pride, established solely to deliver the New Deal for Communities programme,

was a major funder at the start and middle years of the project, providing their

projects with targets which would contribute to its own NDC national targets. This

encouraged a top-down approach to implementation by the project staff and

supported close partnership working with other projects also funded by Aston Pride

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