UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Street soccer is played on a two-way street : Changes in attitudes and perceptions of Vancouver Street Soccer League volunteers Agha, Arun; Bates, Alan T.; Tse, Lurdes; Boyda, Heidi Noel; Honer, William G; Barr, Alasdair M; Vila-Rodriguez, Fidel


Street soccer has been played in a socially deprived neighborhood, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, since 2008. Significant social and physical benefits have been self-reported by players, but the impact on its volunteers has never been assessed. Recent qualitative studies suggest that volunteering in grassroots sport-for-development initiatives contributes to the development of social capital by mediating the formation of relationships between people from different social groups, leading to mutual understanding and the development of positive feelings towards one another. Therefore, the aim of this study was to produce quantitative evaluations of volunteers’ changes in perception of street soccer players, of their perceived effects of street soccer on players, and of their perceived effects of street soccer on themselves. The results of our survey suggest several misconceptions about people affected by homelessness exist within the general community, specifically in regards to a possible underestimation of the metal health burden. Additionally, our data indicate that volunteering is helping to reduce stigma amounts volunteers, and that participation in this volunteering activity is conveying positive physical and psychological effects on volunteers. These findings support the use of sport for social inclusion, and as a means of gaining social capital for street soccer volunteers.

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