Our You.Gov Survey Reveals Striking Attitudes To Sport

published on 2 Jul 2014

Today The Salvation Army is 149 not out…..and is using sport to help vulnerable people suffering from addiction problems and homelessness

There is a wealth of sport on the TV this weekend with the Wimbledon Finals, World Cup quarter-finals and the British Grand Prix, but for many of us it’s as close as we come to taking any form of exercise.

In a YouGov survey commissioned by The Salvation Army, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of respondents said they watch sport on the TV, but more than half (61%) thought that laziness and a lack of time is a barrier that stops people from playing a sport or doing exercise. Twenty-seven per cent never take any exercise or sport at all. Nevertheless, a whopping 83 per cent of people who took part in the anonymous poll thought that taking part in sport/exercise is important.

The Salvation Army, which today celebrates 149 years since it was founded by General William Booth, believes sport is a powerful tool in helping people recover from addiction problems and homelessness. That’s a sentiment agreed by our respondents with 81 per cent seeing the benefit of regular sport and exercise for vulnerable people.

The Church and charity has a number of programmes to get people involved in sport, including our Partnership Trophy, a football tournament for homeless men and women, summer camps, weekly football matches, hill walking, badminton, tennis and many more.

Captain Nick Coke, a Salvation Army minister, is working with people of all ages and backgrounds in east London, teaching them key life skills though sport. Nick, who runs weekly football training sessions in Stepney, explained: “Sport gives confidence, tackles stress, helps in treatment of people with addiction problems, and brings people into their community as well as keeping people healthy. We support them to get back on their feet and help them stay there; sport is a perfect tool for doing this.   

“The government recommends that we take regular exercise, because of the benefits to our physical and mental health. Sadly, most of us don’t do enough.”

While 27 percent admitted that they never take any form of exercise, happily some seem have got the message. Fifty-five per cent of those aged 55 and over are taking part in regular exercise at last once a week. Forty-two per cent of GB adults thought the main reason people play sport/take exercise is to boost their health and wellbeing.

Rob Stevens, 27, started to play football at a weekly session run by The Salvation Army in Stepney aged 18. He lost his mum and dad at a young age and was brought up by his sister who, along with a local youth worker, encouraged him to join the football sessions and The Salvation Army.  He believes this experience transformed his life and he now coaches a team of homeless men on Wednesdays.

"I know I've made a difference with people's lives by coaching the team, and I feel like I am a sort of support worker for them. It's made a massive difference to me too, because I was going down a tricky path before I joined the football club and The Salvation Army.

"Playing sport, it teaches you so much to help you in the real world - you learn about how to deal with emotion, plus the skills of determination, endurance and honesty".

Daniel England, 38, was homeless and addicted to drugs for several years before he was taken in as a resident at Logos House Lifehouse, Bristol. He’s now been clean for six years, and after leaving Logos House volunteered at the centre, setting up the weekly football matches. He later became the centre’s receptionist and now works for the Lifehouse as an early intervention worker and organised weekly football matches for current and former residents.  He took a football team made up of these residents to Birmingham, to take part in our Partnership Trophy, a yearly national tournament for homeless men and women.  He said: “Some of the guys said to me it was an amazing day which was great. It was a brilliant day. I just want to help the lads to get back on their feet and realise they can live fulfilling lives.”