The part angling plays in fighting social exclusion and improving community relations is the focus of new research being funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Social research cooperative Substance has received good cause funding of £284,151 to look into how angling helps socially excluded young people in England and Scotland and contributes to sustainable rural communities. It will examine how these benefits can be tapped into on a larger scale.

The three-year study is one of 24 initiatives across the UK that have just been awarded a share in  £7,742,550 of new research funding from BIG to support high quality medical and social research.

Dr Adam Brown, Director of Substance, who will lead the project, said: “We are one of the few organisations to look at angling’s benefit to communities and this grant means we can take that to another level. We at Substance are absolutely thrilled with the Big Lottery Fund award and we are really looking forward to getting the project underway.

“Angling is an often misunderstood activity. This research will focus in particular on the different benefits that people get from participation in angling in all its forms. That could be from physical activity, education, training, volunteering, improving the environment, increasing well-being and health, or other aspects. We will be working closely with statutory organisations, angling bodies, charities and community groups to ensure that we can achieve relevant, meaningful and effecting change.”

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “It is estimated that 3.9 million people fish in the UK. However, not much is known about angling within policy or the wider public as a result of a lack of research.

“Our Research programme is all about looking at tackling exclusion and building local communities, and providing an evidence base of the potential and actual social benefits of angling is a very creative way of doing this.”