06 April 2022
International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) is a United Nations initiative to recognise the positive contribution sports and physical activity plays in people’s lives and communities around the world.
London Youth’s Sport Development Programme works in partnership with 120 grassroot community youth organisations to tackle the inequalities faced by young Londoners. It specifically focuses on improving their physical and mental wellbeing, and enabling them to develop skills and experiences they need now and for their future success. To celebrate IDSDP, we spoke to three of our members to understand how together we are helping build a fairer, more equitable and sustainable future for young Londoners:
James Dellow – Youth & Innovation Manager – Dragon Hall
London Youth’s Sports for Development Learning Grant is an innovative approach, providing front-line organisations with the opportunity to authentically co-produce programmes with young people rather than having to follow external prerequisites. Work with young people can be messy and does not always follow a linear path. So, the ability to pilot our Tech in Football programme, in-line with the actual needs of young people and the capacity of our staff team, is seeing us going on a valuable journey of learning and development.
In doing so, we are delivering a project which provides young people with access to the latest tech innovations in football, including Virtual Reality, Smart Balls and Performance Trackers. The young people use these technologies to build their specialist and higher level digital skills via real-world coaching sessions. We help to build their social capital and employment prospects via a 2 day bootcamp, where they connect with the Tech in Football industry to learn about career options and development opportunities.
Huge thanks to London Youth for affording us the time and space to create something with not only genuine impact for direct participants, but also far-reaching potential beyond the lifespan of this grant.
Julia Brown – Chief Executive Officer – Brandon Centre
Brandon Centre has run the MindfulSteps Programme which supports young people across London waiting for a significant time for counselling. By engaging through our MindfulSteps walks young people have been able to meet other peers / staff and be supported to take exercise alongside supportive coaching conversations. Some young people have not been used to exercising and have enjoyed the physical as well as the emotional support from the programme.
In fact, all young people participating have been keen to explore in engaging in our BWell coaching conversations following the MindfulSteps walk at a planned and convenient time for them. This has often involved conversations around relationships, life challenges, understanding how to be supported to move from the stress state to wellbeing state. After the sessions, young people feel that they need to better understand themselves and what they would like for their future. Whether that is around sexuality, gender, relationships, studies, work etc…
Many young people attending have lived experience of trauma and Safeguarding from early on in their lives. This Programme seems to have attracted a significant number of young people from vulnerable and challenging experiences. This goes across all classes and backgrounds. This enables us to refer young people into relevant services where needed including into our counselling and BWell coaching offer.
Eamonn O’Keeffe – Youth and Community Manager – Masbro Centre
We are using a step by step accreditation system designed by the participants of the activity. Being involved in the design of the accreditations content, rather than just doing a pre-written prescribed set of accreditations, opens participants up to visualising what is possible. This is a key phenomenon used by all successful sports people who are trying to develop their skill.
A summary from Kelly Dummer, Head of Employability at London Youth
At London Youth we believe wholeheartedly in the role that sport can play in tackling inequalities and helping to build a fairer, more equitable and sustainable future for all our young people. Our Sport for Development grants have supported our members to intentionally use sport to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing young people, including the increase in mental health issues and unequal access to skill development opportunities. The results clearly indicate that sport and physical activity is an essential part of a young person’s development.