Equality is everything: How AoS is playing its part in the drive for change
The world has been rocked by the recent death of George Floyd and once again the spotlight shines on the lack of progress made by society in combatting discrimination and institutional racism.
I, like many people, was at first not sure what to say, and indeed If I should say anything at all. In the end I decided it would be a good time to tell you what we have already been doing every single day to tackle these issues. And how we plan to continue doing so.
At AoS, we are actively committed to delivering programmes of systemic change. That is why we have partnered with the Youth Justice Board to deliver a new project ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ which is designed to challenge and reduce the over-representation of diverse and minority ethnic groups of children involved with the Youth Justice System.
LtPF was conceived in response to MP David Lammy’s 2017 independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the Criminal Justice System (CJS).
In his report, Lammy said: “My biggest concern is with the youth justice system. This is regarded as one of the success stories of the CJS, with published figures showing that, compared with a decade ago, far fewer young people are offending, reoffending and going into custody. YOTs were established by the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, with a view to reducing youth offending and reoffending and have been largely successful in fulfilling that remit. Yet despite this fall in the overall numbers, the BAME proportion on each of those measures has been rising significantly.”
Sadly, recent figures demonstrate that black children are still more likely to be arrested, still receive generally harsher penalties and children from diverse and minority ethnic backgrounds now make up more than half of all children in custody.
Moving forwards, Levelling the Playing Field will use the power of sport and physical activity to engage and improve health and life outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children who are in, or on the fringes of, the criminal justice system.
The Project, which we have been working on since February 2019, will strengthen partnerships between sport and criminal justice, empower a Community of Practice and deliver an evidence-informed approach to better understand and demonstrate what works.
Finally, being an amplifier and champion for our beneficiaries and partners, we will build on good practice and scale up across England and Wales.
This programme is a key priority for us, however we must, and will do more!
James Mapstone, CEO, Alliance of Sport