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As we enter the festive period I am looking back on 2016, reflecting on what has been another successful year for our social business.

In 2016 we have worked with over 3000 young people from across the North of England. We have facilitated over 40’000 social action and volunteer hours – a substantial impact across our communities. We have created our new ‘Future Communities’ directorate, an area of the business which uses various means to address a wide range of social issues. Our staffing team has increased in line with business growth and our head office has moved to Wetherby, North Yorkshire where our National Citizen Service programme moved into one space.

Our sport for development work has been a high point for the business. In recent years we have forged a relationship with Active Communities Network (ACN) who are one of the leading sport for development charities in the UK. Through this work I have worked internationally in places such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, replicating the sport for development methodology. ACN also lead on the 5 Star Active Network, a formal group of like minded UK wide charities, all sharing a belief that sport has a fundamental and key role to play in improving society.

Over the last 12 months this work has made a difference to young people and their communities. Not only does sport provide a basis for physical fitness and healthy living, but it captures the interest of people from all ages. It is this unique ability to engage people and bring them together that makes sport the perfect catalyst for development projects. Through our work with 5 Star Active this year we secured further funding and delivered amazing projects, including:

Our estate based intervention work funded through ASDA & Sport England.

Our personal development and employment project funded by BT.

Our various training projects including the Tennis Foundation, providing equipment and training to our young people, coaches and volunteers. This is merely a snapshot of our collective work.

Sport can transcend the societal barriers and address issues such as behavior and violence, lack of education or poor health practices. We have also just signed off on an ambitious new national project ready for 2017, working with the second largest spectator sport after football…

We were also proud to announce our own ambassador in 2016, Jamie McDonnell current WBA World Bantamweight Title holder. Jamie has held his boxing title for the last 8 years and is a real inspiration to many young people. Jamie has pledged to work with our social business as we continue to grow and joins a host of other sporting ambassadors including Hayley Turner (ex female jockey) and Rio Ferdinand (ex footballer).

So as the year draws to a close it only right to thank all our young people, partners, funders and supporters. It has been another amazing year and I fully expect that things wont slow down in 2017.

Have a great festive period,

Thanks

Mark Turner

Executive Director (Interim Chief Executive)

 

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