Research finds that Dublin-based men’s health social enterprise represents “incredible value for money”.

The Football Cooperative was one of the top Social Enterprise IMPACT Award winners this year (see more here), and it unveiled research undertaken with academic partners that showed their social enterprise represented incredible value for money.

After 18 months research as part of a PhD, Waterford-based Dr Steve Daly from the South East Technological University (SETU) concluded that the Football Cooperative generated a Social Return on Investment (SROI) of €17.60 for each euro invested. He said this is about double what most social interventions are valued at.

He was assisted in his research by colleagues Dr. Paula Carroll, Dr, Tom Egan, Prof. Michael Harrison and Dr. Noel Richardson from SETU’s Department of Health Sciences. All stakeholder groups reported benefits and the research showed that the Football Co-operative was suitable for scale-up.

“We conducted environmental and situational analysis at prospective sites for replication,” said Steve.

• The Football Co-operative used a Social Return on Investment (SROI) approach to calculate social value.

The expansion plan is ambitious as the Football Co-operative, which currently operates from just two sites, hopes to have a future impact in multiple communities not just across Ireland but also internationally. They also wish to expand beyond holding cooperative football just one evening a week, and to scale outwards to get them more hard-to-reach men to  tog out for games.

• Stats from the Football Co-operative on participation and impact.

Steven O’Connell, founder of the Football Cooperative, said, “We can help people feel part of a place. Last year, we had 608 participants and now we can prove that this model works. Our early intervention and health promotion programme takes a gendered approach, targeting men, and has a co-operative ethos. Volunteer co-ordinators arrange pitches, bibs, times and so on. Ultimately there is no substitute for exercise,” he said.

• Steve Daly, PhD researcher and Steven O’Connell, founder of the Football Coop with their award. They also received a share of €45,000 awarded to six overall winners – full story here.

Below is the slideshow – click the image – as presented in Tullamore when the Football Co-operative won an award for measuring its social impact. The outcomes are all backed up by rigorous research. For anyone considering measuring impact, we highly recommend this as an example of best practice. It’s also jaw-dropping what the Football Co-operative was able to demonstrate in terms of outcomes and value for money.

• Above – click to view or download the Football Co-operative’s 20-slide presentation.

If you wish to see men in your community become more active, healthier and connected, email Steven O’Connell at:

You can connect with the Football Co-operative via Facebook:

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