It isn’t just the professional sports teams with the excesses of financial capital that are helping to support communities both nationally and internationally; charitable assistance filters down to even the smallest local sports teams too.
Understanding the context
The sporting world can use its platform Sport has an amazing, unique way of making a positive impact in society, bridging gaps between those who come from different backgrounds or cultures through a mutual love of the game, be it football, tennis or basketball.
The effectiveness of sport is that it brings communities together, often having a social and/or cultural impact such as boosting the local economy reducing anti-social behaviour and indirectly, instilling a sense of discipline in the younger generations.
Regular involvement in sport and the addition of community engagement can lead to more sustainable communities with local pride and a sense of belonging. Sport isn’t about winning, it’s about building stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities.
Sport and education
Newcastle Eagles, a British basketball team in Newcastle and the most successful team in the league’s history, has strong links with local education. Their affiliation with award-winning Newcastle College has seen a higher presence of sport at the college. The unique partnership also gives opportunity to hospitality students, allowing them to cater for all home Eagles games in their newly built Eagles Community Arena, a challenging yet rewarding experience and something that will stand out on any CV.
Eagles’ owner Paul Blake said: “Having worked alongside Newcastle College and their fantastic staff and students for many years now I have no doubt that our catering is in the safest of hands. As the name of our new venue suggests we are determined to sit at the very heart of the local community, and it makes absolute sense to work with our friends and neighbours down the road.”
Most university-based research in this field has found proven positive links between an individual’s physical activity participation and their academic achievement. Scientifically, exercise can increase levels of a brain growth factor and simultaneously increase blood flow to the brain.
The inclusion of sport in colleges goes beyond this too, with a new study finding that sports can have a huge impact on employment later down the line for many that pick it up when they’re younger. According to the study, young people who took part in regular sporting activities at school had a better career outlook and performed better in their jobs later in life.
The Foundation of Light is a charity from the North East that aims to improve local lives through the power of football. Since 2001, the sporting charity, that is structurally and financially independent of Sunderland football club which inspired its name, has won multiple awards for its ground-breaking sports, health community and education programmes. Each year they raise roughly £4 million to help those in need, making them one of the most pioneering sports charities in the world.
Sports groups are also helping local communities by taking part in large “clean-up” events, which see groups of sports fans come together to remove litter from the streets or the oceans.
Reinforcing the theme of togetherness that comes from sport, the Surfers Against Sewage charity aims to inspire, unite and empower communities across the country to take action to protect the ocean, beaches, waves and wildlife.
It deals with a range of marine conservation issues, from marine litter to climate change, although more recently the main focus is plastic pollution. These are instances where it goes beyond the sport that started it all, it’s about people helping other people either directly or indirectly.