Street League has welcomed a new report launched by The Football Association [The FA] that explores the social and economic value of adult grassroots football in England.

Street League is the UK’s leading sport for employment charity, using football and other sports to help young people aged 14 to 30 gain the skills and experience needed to get a job. Working in 36 of the most deprived communities across England and Scotland, last year alone, Street League helped 1,676 young people move into work, education or training.

With the game’s governing body investing £1 million each week into the grassroots game to support the 12 million people who regularly play football, it commissioned the report, which is the first of its kind, to set out the contribution of adult grassroots football to the nation’s economy and wellbeing.

The report found that regular grassroots football in England has a social wellbeing value of £8.7bn, with players reporting significantly higher levels of general health, confidence, motivation and trust compared with those who play other sports. Lower income groups in particular were found to experience greater quality-of-life benefits from football compared with higher income groups, specifically in their health and confidence levels.

In addition to social benefits, the direct economic value of grassroots football was found to be £2.1bn each year, while the report also found that the health benefits of playing regular grassroots football produces a cost saving of £43.5m per year to the NHS through reduced GP visits alone.

Street League has led the way in demonstrating the value and social impact of football and sport, launching the charity sector’s first online impact dashboard in 2017 (www.streetleague.co.uk/impact). Here, the charity transparently shares who they engage, progress into jobs and who disengages from their programmes. The charity is backed by companies and charitable foundations to deliver support in the local communities that most need its services. A significant part of their funding each year is provided by players of People’s Postcode Lottery that invests funding into good causes in communities across the UK and globally.

Allan Garratt, Managing Director (England) of Street League said:

“Street League has long understood the power of football to transform the lives of young people. We use it as a hook to engage and support hundreds of young people in 36 communities across the UK. It’s great to see this research highlight the value of sport and we are proud that Street League has a strong track record of achieving social impact through football and sport.”

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Commercial and Football Development Officer, said:

“This research demonstrates the significant impact that grassroots football has across society so it’s great to see Street League has endorsed this report.

We have always known that football improves people’s health; this report quantifies exactly by how much, and also demonstrates football’s social contribution to players and society as a whole.

This significant programme of work will not only benefit the grassroots football community but help The FA and our partners further promote the game and its undeniable benefits to even wider audiences.”

To read the full report, click here.