On 27 February AFL Victoria released the findings of research undertaken by La Trobe University determining the social value of a "typical" community football club including its social, health and community impact. The research is the first study to measure the social impact of a community sports club and looked at the social, health, community and economic outcomes associated with involvement at a community football club.
The 12-month research project was based on interviews and surveys of club members throughout the State and showed that no matter how often people are involved in a football they are likely to experience greater social connectedness, well-being and physical and mental heath than those who are not involved in a football club at all.
Some of the statistics to come out of the research include:
- For every dollar spent on a community football club, at least $4.40 is returned in social value in terms of increased social connectedness, well-being, mental health status, employment outcomes, personal development and physical health.
- A football club’s reach is significant and extends beyond the players, coaches, administrators and volunteers within the club; for every one player, football clubs reach 10 people in their community.
- Football clubs provide individuals, particularly those aged 15-24, with significantly increased chances of securing employment via the social networks provided by the club.
- The self-reported mental health of people aged 18-24 associated with a football club is substantially higher than the general population.
While this research is specific to AFL community clubs it provides a great insight to the benefits of all sports at the community level.
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