Sports Connection Foundation receives Tees Better Future Fund Grant

Tees Better Future Fund is very pleased to announce that the Sports Connection Foundation in Essex is the second community project to receive a Tees Better Future Fund Grant.

Sports Connections Foundation uses the power of sport to inspire, empower, educate and transform the lives of children and young people. 

Founded 12 years ago by ex-professional footballer Junior McDougald, Sports Connections Foundation now uses 4 different distinct programmes to transform the lives of disadvantaged children:

  • Sporting Wishes - special sporting memories for children with life-limiting conditions.
  • ProKick Schools Challenge - providing Primary Schools with a football-related, sponsored activity which raises awareness of less fortunate children in the world and promotes physical activity.
  • Inspire Through Sport International - provides funding and vital educational resources to an impoverished orphanage and a nursery in Burkina Faso, Africa.
  • Inspire Through Sport - provides sport inspired youth work and sports camps with additional enrichment activities and coaching and mentoring for children and young people referred to SCF as being disadvantaged in some way.

These programmes have helped over 550,000 children so far and the number continues to grow every day.

Through their connections and partnerships, SCF gives young people, from a range of different backgrounds, access to Industry Professionals, Mentors & SCF Ambassadors who will help to develop skills, build self-esteem and confidence, and raise aspirations and help to create role models for the next generation.

The £5000 grant from Tees will help fund a new ‘Inspire Through Sport’ project to provide mentoring sessions, positive play and therapeutic intervention, Theme Positive Activity and a school holiday programme to 30 children who are facing the challenge of poor mental health, social isolation and economic deprivation. These children, it is feared, may struggle in the transition from primary school to secondary school.

Thirty children will be picked from across three different schools in the Primary Schools of the Cresco Multi-Academy Trust - Great Berry, Janet Duke and Noak Bridge Primary Schools in Basildon in Essex.

SCF Youth Workers will lead 1-1 sessions and small group sessions with youth workers in early 2023. From these sessions, SCF Youth Workers will be able to identify personal growth goals for each child and over the sessions will work with the child to communicate and express their emotions healthily and build resilience and self-confidence, assisting their mental health and contributing positively to improving their quality of life.

All 30 children will be offered an enrichment activity - a trip to an event or venue which they have helped to choose.  This will provide them with the opportunity to mix with others that they would otherwise not have met and an experience that they otherwise would not have been able to access.

The conclusion of the project will be a combined summer camp at the secondary school that the children will most likely progress to. They will be able to focus on group sports, team building and personal development. They will be provided with food and drinks to help alleviate pressure on the families during the camps.

Executive Partner and Co-chair of the Tees Better Future Fund, Janine Collier commented “We were inspired by the vision that Sports Connection Foundation had for the Inspire Through Sport Project- the vision to use sport to engage and inspire disadvantaged children to help them make that transition from primary school to secondary school.  This is such a key time in any child’s development, we hope that supporting those who may otherwise struggle through this time will raise confidence, build skills and enable them to thrive, not just survive in the transition.  The project also increases access to sports and exercise for children and will help improve physical and mental health through activity.

We are looking forward to getting to know the children involved in the programme and to hearing how this project has helped shape the way they approach the challenges that they face, their progress at school and, their mental and physical wellbeing.

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