The aim of the Urban Stars initiative is to use sport to engage young people who are identified as marginalised from society as well as those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ because of their exclusion, or categorised as being ‘at risk’ of further exclusion.
This report is the result of an 18-month research project exploring how the Urban Stars initiative seeks to achieve this aim with young people who are:
- living in areas of high social deprivation and crime;
- on the periphery of crime; or
- already in custody.
Throughout the report, the term ‘vulnerable’ is used to depict young people living in some of England's most deprived regions. Although the vast majority of these 'vulnerable' young people were not affiliated with gangs, had not been in trouble with the police, and were not identified as being at risk of falling into a life of crime and/or gang-related activity, their vulnerability and marginalisation stemmed, at least in part, from them living amidst disadvantaged circumstances. The term ‘at risk’ refers to young people who were (or believed themselves to be) excluded from and/or stigmatised by mainstream society because of their previous actions, attitudes and/or life choices. They included ‘vulnerable’ young people within the youth justice system, those on community rehabilitation programmes, as well as those on the verge of being criminalised or excluded from mainstream society because of their antisocial behaviour.