A key element in the roll out of Project FUTSAL was to examine the impact of the project on participants and the communities in which the hubs were based. The research was designed to specifically examine the impact and influence that football can have on social inclusion and the regeneration of communities. This is perhaps the first time that a longitudinal study of it’s kind has been undertaken.

In this regard, the Football Association of Ireland and the Welsh Football Trust engaged the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth to carry out the research on Project FUTSAL.

The research was conducted under the direction of Professor Maurice Devlin and his research team of Dr. Kathryn McGarry, Dr. Nuala Connolly and Dr. Morgan O’Brien.

Click the tab on the left of this page to download the full research report.

Some highlights of the Research report are as follows;

Strengths of Project FUTSAL 

Based on the findings of this research, it is possible to identify a number of strengths of Project FUTSAL: 

  • Positive outcomes for participants. As well as academic and sporting awards, improved levels of health and fitness in addition to improved confidence, self-esteem, motivation and subjective agency signifies improved wellbeing for participants.
  • Particularly strong in engaging participants – opening up of employment opportunities, personal development pathways including advancement to further education, contributing to improved agency and improved employability in the longer term.
  • The volunteer dimension of the programme has made a valuable contribution to community development and regeneration.
  • The commitment to pan-disability training has created a resource for local clubs wishing to engage in pan-disability football.
  • Football was particularly successful as a ‘hook’ in attracting and retaining students across Project FUTSAL hubs
  • Positive working relationships with education providers and local authorities contributed significantly to the success of Project FUTSAL in Ireland.
  • The adult education approach taken in the project has been successful, with participants reporting that Project FUTSAL compared favourably with other experiences of education. . With an average of 25 participants commencing in each of the seven hubs, there was a 38.3% full award rate in 2012/2013, and a 33.7% full award rate in 2013/2014, considerably higher than the 2012 national average of 22.7% for full major award achievements by individuals       undertaking Level 5-6 awards (ESRI, 2014).
  • Project FUTSAL represents value for money, in that its positive outcomes can be assessed as representing potential public expenditure savings.
  • Project has the potential to inform adult education and sports inclusion policy at a local and national level in both Ireland and Wales.
  • Project FUTSAL has provided participants with very positive subjective experiences. Almost all participants surveyed post-programme in Ireland (95%) would recommend the project.