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Wider Impact is delighted to present our report, ‘Young Women, Physical Activity & Competitive Sport’ to Staffordshire’s Young People’s Advisory Board at County Buildings Stafford.

Commissioned by Staffordshire Youth & Community Services the key aim of our research has been to respond to anecdotal evidence and articles in national media that the involvement of young women in physical activity and sport is in decline.


Methodology has include extensive desk research, and innovative field research, which has included:

  • over 220 questionnaires returned for analysis
  • County wide workshops
  • meetings with young women and other key stakeholders
  • telephone surveys
  • observational studies

Key findings include:

  • young women are becoming less active, which is resulting in an unfit and unhealthy society
  • the problem appears to be more pronounced in Staffordshire, with 32.6% of children classified as overweight or obese
  • the issue is particularly noticable in relation to young Asian girls / young women
  • potential NHS costs add up to £46billion per year by 2050

There is a need to understand that on the whole, the majority of girls / young women are less positive about ‘sport’, than physical activity, and are more concerned about having choice, having fun, being with friends, and enjoying sport, rather than competition.

The report makes a number of recommendations, which include:

  • sharing report findings with key stakeholders
  • key stakeholders working in partnership to improve the participation of girls / young women in physical activity, and tackling rising obesity levels
  • meeting the needs of girls / young women
  • signposting gifted sporting young people
  • supporting marginalised girls / young women

It is planned to launch the report at a multi-agency event in the near future.


Staffordshire County Council County Youth & Community Service Manager Mark Jones says, ‘Working with Wider Impact enabled us to clarify the issues, confirm what we thought we thought we knew, and then learn a lot about other aspects to the research question that we had not considered.  Having an objective and unbiased view is always useful to organisations and managers, but with Wider Impact that objectivity was matched equally with insight and evidence that has made the final report so much more meaningful’.


Please contact the report author, Wider Impact Director, Edwin Lewis at if you want to learn more about the report, or are looking to commission similar work in the future.


Wider Impact Consultancy, Edwin Lewis