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Sport and Social Inclusion: Evidence from the Performance of Public Leisure Facilities

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In the UK, sport is increasingly recognized as a means for promoting social inclusion. However, evaluation, to date, is limited with regard to the achievement of social inclusion through sport. Based on the database of Sport England’s National Benchmarking Service, this paper aims to investigate the extent to which public leisure facilities were used by socially disadvantaged groups in England over the past 10 years. The statistical evidence demonstrates the consistent pattern of numerical under-representation of the most disadvantaged socio-economic group and people aged over 60 years. Furthermore, there were significant and linear decreases in participation of young people aged 11–19 years and disabled people aged under 60 years. Finally, facility type and management type were found to be the main sources of performance gaps in certain indicators. In spite of these findings, further research is still required to investigate whether under-representation and the deterioration of performance are due to constraints or preferences.

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Correspondence to Yi-De Liu.

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Liu, Y. Sport and Social Inclusion: Evidence from the Performance of Public Leisure Facilities. Soc Indic Res 90, 325–337 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-008-9261-4

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  • Social inclusion
  • Sport
  • Leisure facilities
  • National Benchmarking Service