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Honouring the power of sport to do good

Posted on 29 June 2009 | 2:06pm

 

Off to a
celebration of Henry Hodge’s life later today, so I may have a few words to say
about that later – like if you haven’t already, please make a donation to www.justgiving.com/alastaircampbell; and please
accept my apologies that the justgiving site has been a nightmare since we set
up the page the day Henry died. Many harsh words have been said. Justgiving
assure us they are doing all they can. And despite the glitches we’re a fifth
of the way to our £50k target so that ‘in memory of Henry Hodge’ becomes one of
the fifty 50k donors to the Leukaemia Research 50th anniversary
fund.

Meanwhile, I
thought some of you might be interested in another project I have been involved
in, namely Beyond Sport, a relatively new set up which seeks to mobilise the
power of sport to deliver social good.

Part of that
involves finding, supporting and recognising leaders and projects which use
sport to improve their communities (whether it’s for health, education, crime
reduction, children’s rights, the environment, or other big issues).

Next week
(July 7-9) will see the first Beyond Sport summit in London, and one of the
highlights will be an awards ceremony which honours some of the work people in
sport are already doing. There have been entries from all over the world, and
the leaders of the 32 shortlisted projects are all being flown in.

Beyond Sport
is the brainchild of Nick Keller, who is just back from seeing some of the
shortlisted projects in action. ‘Boxgirls’ started in Berlin and works with
women of all walks of life, using boxing to unite them, train them, and steer
them away from anti-social behaviour. The project now has a new branch in the
slums of Nairobi Eastlands, where Nick was moved by the contrast between the
apparent hopelessness of living conditions, and the extraordinary hope – and
joy – that a sports project was able to deliver.

On that same
trip he visited another shortlisted project in the small town of Kilifi called
Moving The Goalposts, where activity and education through sport is used to try
to lower the rate of teenage pregnancies in an area where HIV/Aids and child
mortality are real problems.

I will be
speaking in one of the sessions, on leadership, but am disappointed not to be
able to attend the culmination of the event, as I have a wedding to go to.

It means
missing the part where the Shortlisted Awards project representatives will be
joined by 500 people who have been invited because they have shown an interest
in the idea that sport has a unique power to drive positive social change.
These will include companies,  sports foundations like the Lance Armstrong
Foundation and the Ian Thorpe Fountain for Youth, official bodies like UNICEF,
the UN, UNESCO, sport federations from the NBA to the IOC to UEFA and many
international and national governing bodies in between.

Visit the Beyond
Sport site
and you can see what else is happening, and some of the impressive
speakers and panellists lined up, people as varied as Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Wilfried Lemke of the UN, Michael Parkinson, HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan.

Oh, and Tony
Blair, chairman of the Beyond Sport ambassadors. He is on the day I can’t be
there. I’ve heard a few of his speeches in my time, so I guess I will survive
without another, but it shows we’ve managed to get a pretty good line up for
the three days.

Will let you know who wins, when they’ve won. And
would love to hear about people using sport for good closer to home too.

  • Allan Macrae

    All very well, and doubtless good, but I still think we need to make more of an argument for grassroots sport at home. At the top end of the tree we have superrich superstar footballers, London 2012 on the way, but I think we are losing the fight at the bottom end, where computer games these African kids can presumably only dream of now take precedence over physical activity for some kids

  • Malcolm

    I like the sound of the boxing project. I know for myself that if it had not have been for organised sport – boxing and swimming – when I was a kid, I am sure I would have gone off the rails. It is why it annoys me when people talk about banning boxing. It is a great sport, properly taught and practised

  • Keith Marsh

    Good luck at the funeral. Good luck sorting out justgiving. I tried four times to make a donation over the weekend. Hopeless. Will keep trying but we all know many would not!

  • Cllr Mark Bennett

    As a Lambeth councillor, very pleased to see the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton has made it to the London Legacy Awards shortlist. An excellent initiative, teaching horse riding, dressage etc.

    The club has a site at http://www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk

  • Em

    So, it’s councillor Mark Bennett now? I did not know that.

    Congratulations!

  • Jane A

    Could I please encourage everyone who has tried and not been able to make a donation to keep trying. I appreciate this is frustration beyond bearing, but please do try again. Thank you. http://www.justgiving.com/alastaircampbell