Sport 4 Life UK received the EL Sport Award 2018

The European Lotteries Sport Award was launched in 2016 as an initiative to reward organisations that seek to promote grassroots sport, making this society a better place, for example supporting social inclusion through sport projects or tackling radicalisation through sport.

The first EL Sport Award, along with a check for 5000 euro to invest in their activities, was handed on the 8th of June 2017, during the EL Congress in Krakow, to the German sports club ESV Neuaubing for their Sports United project. In the occasion of the upcoming new edition EL contacted Olaf Butterbrod, from ESV Neuaubing, who confirmed a year later that the prize money was very helpful:

“The players and the entire management of the club are still very grateful for the generous support of European Lotteries. We not only used the prize money for memberships of players and equipment (like footballs, sportswear, football shoes etc.), but we were able to sign in a third team. This refugee/integration team started in autumn 2017 and finished on the second place of the table”.

Pleased by the very positive experience, EL decided to launch the call for proposals for the 
second edition of the Sport Award in early October 2017. Olli Sarakoski, President & CEO of Veikkaus Oy and Chairman of the EL Sport Working Group led a dedicated Selection Committee to evaluate the over 30 projects that were submitted this year, doubling the numbers of the first edition. The evaluation process focused on three main criteria: completeness and overall quality of the application; the impact on society and its actual outreach; and finally, the inspirational value.

During the EL Industry Days in Prague in early June, in front of an audience of more than 300 people from all over Europe and the representatives of more than 60 lotteries, Olli Sarakoski had the pleasure to announce that among the several high-quality projects, the winner of the 2018 EL Sport Award is Sport 4 Life UK, a sport for employment charity which supports disadvantaged young people back into work through a sports-themed personal development programme.

Olli Sarakoski, President & CEO of Veikkaus Oy handing the EL Sport Award 2018 to Jack Skinner and Matthew Forsyth from Sport 4 Life UK

Jack Skinner, Business Development Manager at Sport 4 Life UK, together with his colleague Matthew Forsyth, had then the chance to present their projects to the audience.

Sport 4 Life UK believes in a level playing field where every young person has the opportunity to create a better future for themselves. The organisation works to create better futures for unemployed and socially excluded young people (aged 12-29) by improving their employability and key life skills, through its sports-themed personal development programmes. Founded in 2006, Sport 4 Life started with 2 staff and 4 trustees delivering sports coaching sessions in the deprived ward of Ladywood in inner-city Birmingham. The aim was to provide disadvantaged young people who were involved in gangs and criminal activity opportunities to participate in sport, distracting them away from antisocial behaviour. Through successes with various grants including the Football Foundation, Sport 4 Life was able to expand its delivery to 8-18 year-olds in other deprived areas within Birmingham. Income and therefore provision increased year by year and Sport 4 Life strategically changed its focus in 2011 - it was no longer ‘sport for sport's sake’ but ‘sport for good’. They are now working with over 900 young people each year who are living in the top 10% most deprived wards in the UK, through their two core programmes: a proactive strategic intervention (TEENS) and a reactive support element (NEETS).

Jack Skinner thanked EL for the award with these words:

“We’re delighted to have received this prestigious award. It recognises Sport 4 Life as a leading ‘port for development organisation across Europe and the tangible impact we’re making in tackling youth unemployment in Birmingham through sport.”

A last comment from Arjan van ‘t Veer, Secretary General of The European Lotteries closed the award ceremony:

“I am pleased to congratulate Jack and Matthew on their presentation and above all for the great work they have done till today. Sport 4 Life’s initiatives and commitment are inspiring, it is a pleasure for EL to support their current and future projects with the 5000 euro financial contribution represented by the award they were handed today. I really hope this will help them achieve even greater results for next year.”

#EuropeanLotteries #Sport4LifeUK #JackSkinner #ArjanvantVeer