2016 – 2019

Specific groups of young people in our society are increasingly being faced with social exclusion on multiple (life) domains, such as education, employment, health, social participation and community integration. Policy-led interventions aimed at promoting social inclusion are faced with multiple challenges (e.g., short term project funding, no monitoring and evaluation strategy, top-down goal setting, reaching the most vulnerable groups, proving effectiveness, limited understanding of the target group).

Sport in general, and community sport (buurtsport) in particular, have been perceived as a potential rich context to reach hard-to-reach young people at-risk of social exclusion. Often sport and sport-based contexts are viewed as vehicles for improving personal development, healthy life-styles and social cohesion.

Notwithstanding the fact that many targeted community sport practices can be found in Flanders, an evidence-based framework and guiding principles of successful initiatives are largely missing. There is a lack of insight in the necessary and sufficient conditions of community sport programs that aim at improving personal development, health and social cohesion. Such insights are however quintessential if community sport is used as a tool in combatting social exclusion for at-risk youth. At present, an overall policy vision at Flemish level regarding community sports is non-existent. Metaphorically speaking, there is a lack of a common community sport vocabulary and grammar.

  • CATCH will provide crucial new insights that can improve programs and policies aiming to combat social exclusion, with specific attention to personal development, health and social cohesion.
  • CATCH aspires to contribute to setting a common target framework and strategic vision in relation to community sport and social inclusion in Flanders, and co-create evidence-based practices.
  • CATCH aims to develop knowledge and integrate newly developed knowledge in a variety of community sport contexts by using existing dissemination platforms of relevant umbrella organizations in Flanders, the Community Sport Labs and the Community Sport Expertise Centre.
Research Unit Sport & Society (VUB)
Research Unit Social Inequality in Health Care (UGent)
Department Social Work and Social Pedagogy (UGent)
Flemish Institute of Sport Management and Recreation Policy (ISB) (Vlaams Instituut voor Sportbeheer en Recreatiebeleid vzw)