An independent study has revealed that every £1 invested in Street Elite, a unique sports themed youth training project, has generated more than £10 in social value over three years.
The programme targets troubled young people in some of the most disadvantaged estates in London and is backed by pop star Jamelia, boxing legend Frank Bruno MBE, footballing royalty Ian Wright MBE and rapper Nadia Rose.
The report, published by social impact experts Bean Research, studied the lives of 97 young Londoners since they completed Street Elite in 2018 and 2019.
It found a high proportion went on to secure work, return to education, improve their health or reduce drug taking and criminal behaviour.
This has saved the state an average of £42,800 per person over three years, thanks to benefits savings, higher income tax and national insurance contributions, reduced criminal justice costs and savings to the NHS.
The project costs £4,000 per participant, giving a return of more than ten to one.
Street Elite has been running in London for eight years and uses mentoring, sports coaching sessions, employability training and work placements over an intense programme lasting up to nine months.
It is run by ground breaking youth charity The Change Foundation, who literally walk the streets to find and engage young people who are outside the system.
The programme is supported by the Berkeley Foundation, Mayor of London and London boroughs including Newham, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth and Southwark.
Charlotte Turner, Director, Bean Research:
"For every £1 invested, Street Elite generates £10.72 in social value over 3 years through economic benefits, human capital gains, avoided Exchequer costs, as well as health and wellbeing improvements. This is very compelling and valuable data which we hope policy makers will consider.
"The report also sheds light on exactly how that value is created so it can guide other youth workers and mentors to generate even greater social impacts through their work."
Frank Bruno MBE, speaking at a Street Elite session last year, said:
"London can be a tough city and talented young people can go off the tracks. Street Elite is about giving them a focus and real self-belief. It's a life-changing project and shows the huge power of sport and mentoring."
Andy Sellins, Chief Executive of The Change Foundation, said:
"This study shows the short to medium term benefits for young people on the Street Elite programme over just three years. The benefits to each young person, their family and wider society of them becoming a motivated and confident young adult with a bright future in their chosen career to look forward to is, at this stage, incalculable but nonetheless, profound."
Sally Dickinson, Head of the Berkeley Foundation, said:
"This fascinating research focuses the microscope on the impact of Street Elite. We knew that being in employment has massive financial benefits for the individual, but we didn't know it came with such dramatically improved health outcomes and reduction in negative behaviours. It's really valuable insight which will help shape how we define the success of the programme."
Street Elite is working with 70 young people across London and Birmingham this year. It is aiming to get at least 70% of them into employment or further education.