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Saad Mohammed

Commonwealth Games 2022

Birmingham – Heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth

Sport 4 Life UK’s Founder & CEO  shares his reflections on Birmingham becoming the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In just over four years, in July 2022, the world’s gaze will focus on Birmingham, my hometown, as the host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Announced on 21st December 2017 at a press conference at the Arena Academy in Birmingham, it will be the third Commonwealth Games to be hosted in England, following London (in 1934) and Manchester (in 2002).

Sitting at the heart of the UK, Birmingham reflects the diversity of the Commonwealth – indeed it has been referred to as the “Commonwealth City” – and is therefore perfectly positioned to attract people from across the UK, and from all corners of the globe and ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and region, to the UK and the Commonwealth.

One of the youngest cities in Europe, Birmingham is vibrant and richly diverse. As Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE, said: “With its rich history, cultural diversity, youthful dynamism and ambitious spirit, Birmingham embodies all that we cherish about the Commonwealth, and so the Commonwealth Sports Movement looks forward to collaborating with all the Games partners to showcase the city’s humanity and pride to a global audience over the coming months and years.”

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70 Commonwealth nations will compete in 18 different sports. Hundreds of millions will be spent. Heroes will be made. Dreams will be fulfilled. Dreams will be crushed. Men and women, of all abilities, will push – and break – the boundaries of athletic endeavour. And the world will be united, as millions of worldwide spectators tune in to Birmingham – “heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth”.

I, for one, cannot wait for the event to commence. I very much hope to be there, in person, for the opening ceremony, on 27th July 2022 – the anniversary of the opening ceremony of the historic London 2012 Olympics. Will Birmingham live up to the hype? Will our medal hopefuls crumble under the media pressure and spotlight, or will the home advantage spur them on to gold medal glory? Only in time will these questions be answered, but one thing is for sure – the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games promise to be a fantastic occasion and viewing a must for all sports fans like myself.

The Commonwealth Games are, however, so much more than just another sporting competition. The Games symbolise a movement that embodies important values for society as a whole – respect, courage, determination, inspiration, excellence, passion, and equality. They are a tool for social and economic regeneration, building homes and creating jobs. And they are an opportunity to achieve a real, long-lasting sporting legacy for the UK and, indeed, for the people of Birmingham. For these reasons, the Commonwealth Games should be of real interest to all sectors here in the second city.

There will inevitably be numerous ways that individuals, communities, charities and businesses can get involved in the Commonwealth spirit and movement. You can use the spirit as an incentive to get fit and healthy, neighbourhoods can organise their own community games, you can join in the numerous mass participation events that will take place throughout the region, and everyone can watch the action – live!

Sport for social change is exactly what Sport 4 Life UK, the organisation I founded and am CEO of, stands for. We use sport as a vehicle to support young people back into sustained employment and education. We promote the Commonwealth values to all our young people, developing crucial life skills to support them in their future careers and wider life goals.

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Sport can also teach so many valuable life lessons – how to respond when you lose, sacrifice, commitment, courage, committing to a dream, believing in yourself, team work, never giving up. Combined with targeted employability support, such as accredited qualifications, workshops and one-to-one mentoring, through our structured programmes in Birmingham – we change lives. And we’ll be sure to join the Commonwealth movement and spirit in celebration of the power of sport.

The most important thing is that everyone feels part of Commonwealth Games – by being a spectator, watching it on TV, by joining in the cultural and sporting activities, by working at the event, or by volunteering.

This event will not be on our doorstep again anytime soon and so I encourage you to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity as the next four years will inevitably go by quickly.

 

 

Birmingham Business Charter

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

This award recognises organisations that have acknowledged the importance of corporate social responsibility, to help Birmingham improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Birmingham’s citizens

Matthew Forsyth, Operations Executive of Sport 4 Life said this of being awarded the Charter.

“The local community is very important to us and we are proud to be working in the heart of Birmingham.  We are committed to actively demonstrate that the values of the Charter are embedded in the values of Sport 4 Life UK.”

Child Poverty Report

MORE THAN HALF OF CHILDREN NOW LIVING IN POVERTY IN SOME PARTS OF THE UK

The End Child Poverty coalition has published new figures providing a new Child Poverty map of the UK.  The new figures reveal that there are now constituencies within the UK where more than half of children are growing up in poverty – compared to one in ten, in the areas with the lowest child poverty rates.

The local child poverty estimates are broken down by parliamentary constituency, local authority and ward. Child poverty is the highest in large cities, particularly in London, Birmingham and Manchester.  Among the twenty parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham, and three in Manchester.

At Sport 4 Life UK, we work in the constituencies across Birmingham with the highest levels of child poverty. We work with young people aged 12 – 29 and support them through our sports-themed personal development programmes. We believe in a level playing field where young people have the opportunity to create better futures for themselves. Our programmes and mentoring provide a path for young people to achieve this.

To read more about the report, please click here.

Super League

Sport 4 Life UK is launching a FREE weekly 5-a-side Super League this February for young people aged 16 to 29.

If you love playing football, then come along to our FREE weekly sessions, starting on Thursday 1st February. The league is suitable for all abilities and you can bring your friends, or a team along. Full details are below.

Sport 4 Life Super League

Start Date: Thursday 1st February
Time: 3pm to 4pm
Location: 3G ASV pitch, The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre, Woodcock Street, Birmingham, B7 4ET

Interested? Simply come along to the first session on Thursday 1st February, or for more information contact Chelsea Mulheir on [email protected] or 07907 287 887

Get fit 4 Employment

Get Fit 4 Employment

Get Fit 4 Employment is a FREE 5 week personal development and employability programme designed to help young people aged 16 to 29 get back into education, employment, and training.

Our next Get Fit 4 Employment Programmes are starting in February and March across Birmingham.

The programme features:

Employability workshops
One to one mentoring support
Mock interviews at a local business

Weekly sports activities and trips
Level 1 Leadership Qualification
Social action project

There is a training bursary of £100 for anyone who completes the programme.

Free bus travel cards are provided for the duration of the programme.

Complete the form below, and of our friendly mentors will be in touch with you with more information about our programme and how to join.

 

Get in Touch

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Impact Report 2017

Sport 4 Life UK is delighted to release it’s latest Impact Report. The vibrant report showcases the work carried out over the last financial year. Chief Executive Tom Clarke-Forrest summarises the highlights of a successful year and looks ahead in the short one-minute video below.

Sport 4 Life would like to thank its key funders, partners, stakeholders, staff and young people, who have contributed to this year’s success.

To view the full Impact Report, click on the front page image below.

BLF Success

We’re delighted to have been awarded £401,000 by the Big Lottery Fund for our sports-themed personal development programmes. These programmes will be delivered in the deprived inner-city area of Ladywood and support young people who are at the margins of society and who are NEET (not in education, employment or training). The four year project will support over 720 young people through activities such as sport, on-to-one mentoring, training & qualifications, formal mock interviews and social action. As a result, young people will improve their key life skills (team-work, communication, behaviour, motivation, self-esteem) and employability, and ultimately, have the opportunity to successfully progress into education, employment and training.

 

“We’re absolutely delighted that the Big Lottery Fund have continued their support of our work and investment in our organisation. We’re very committed to tackling Birmingham’s high youth unemployment rate and the challenges young people are facing on a daily basis. This grant forms and integral part of our delivery and so will bring tangible positive change to the city.”

Jack Skinner, Business Development Manager

FIFA Visit S4L

We were delighted to be visited by FIFA this month to be filmed as part of their Football For Hope initiative.

Sport 4 Life UK receive support through Football For Hope that allows us to reach out to many young people across Birmingham using the world’s favourite game and then help them to create a better future for themselves through our sports-themed personal development programmes.

FIFA spent the afternoon with Sport 4 Life UK speaking to and filming staff, volunteers, and participants about the work we do and the support we receive through Football For Hope. They also visited a football session that engages newly arrived asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants to help them improve their life skills and integrate into society.

Click Here to see FIFA’s write up and video on Sport 4 Life UK

 

 

 

One Firm One Day

On Friday 19th May, as part of their One Firm One Day volunteering initiative PwC hosted a cohort of young people from one of our employability programmes at their HQ in Birmingham. The day comprised of 5 PwC volunteers supporting our young people with essential employability skills. This included sessions on interview skills, financial planning and CV writing. Each of the young people also benefited from intensive one-to-one support which was really well received.

Employment and Training Tutor, Ashley Brown said,

“This workshop was really well received by our young people. The PwC staff engaged the young people really well from beginning to end.  Experiences like this can help inspire the young people through the skills they learn from the workshop and the advice they receive. Our young people are looking forward to coming back for the mock interviews.”

Staff from PwC will also be supporting this cohort of young people with mock interviews that will be held at PwC in early June.

 

Charity of the Year

Sport 4 Life is delighted to be named Charity of the Year by the Busy Bees Training Academy.

Busy Bees Training Academy is a national, award winning training provider specialising in providing high quality training across the Early Years sector. With over 15 years experience of successfully delivering training solutions to many employer and learners, they boast overall success rates of above 80% which is considerably higher than the national average.

The team is made up of industry experts with a wealth of Early Years, catering and management knowledge and experience. They deliver bespoke training programmes in nursery settings and specialised training centres. As part of the wider Busy Bees Childcare group, the largest provider of quality childcare in the UK, they share the same vision that every child deserves the very best care.

“We’re delighted to have the Busy Bees Training Academy partnership in place. It’s one we’re very excited about – they are really keen to support our work by raising funds for our programmes but also providing our young people with tangible apprenticeship and employment opportunities.” Jack Skinner, Business Development Manager

Over the next year, staff at Busy Bees Training will fundraise through various events including a 5-mile sponsored walk in August, as well as support Sport 4 Life’s 10 year anniversary campaign. Their staff will also have the opportunity to support our work with NEET young people by supporting their progression routes from our programmes into sustainable employment.

Fay Gibbin, Training Manager at Busy Bees Training, said: “We’re all looking forward to getting our walking boots on and stepping out for such a worthy cause. Working with Sport 4 Life is so important to us as disadvantaged young people do not always have the best start in life but have the raw talent to pursue long and successful careers. We hope that the partnership will be beneficial for both sides but ultimately make a positive change across the West Midlands.” 

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