Breaking Barriers promotes community cohesion, integration, citizenship and youth leadership in areas blighted by territorialism, racism, low aspirations and high levels of poverty. Recognising that sport is a culturally familiar environment that cuts across race, ethnicity and territorial boundaries, and that coaches can act as role models and mentors to young people, Breaking Barriers sought to deliver and evaluate different ways of working through sport to address a key issue across London.
The Breaking Barriers programme delivers a range of community activities including:
- Community based sports and youth work projects to engage marginalised groups.
- Regular activities to build relationships with young people and provide mentors and role models in a sports / cultural setting.
- Opportunities to engage with the wider / other communities through events, competitions and training.
- Personal development and accreditation pathways and sustainable community initiatives.
Initially funded by the Football Foundation and local authorities across London, the Breaking Barriers projects in Brent, Lambeth and Southwark were the subject of a two year academic research programme carried out by the Substance research group and published in 2010.
From recommendations set out in this research, the project has since been replicated in four other London boroughs, the West Midlands and South Africa.