BT SPORT’S THE SUPPORTERS CLUB

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BT Sport’s charitable initiative The Supporters Club, alongside the Premier League, are teaming up with the Saints Foundation, the official charity of Southampton Football Club, to create a special project called ‘Saints Connect’, targeting young people aged 11-16 across Southampton’s most disadvantaged communities who are in need of additional educational support. Opportunities are to be provided in sport, music and art to achieve accredited outcomes and improve educational performance. The initiative will be the focus of an upcoming short film also featuring Saints player James Ward-Prowse which will air on BT Sport 1 before Saints’ south-coast clash with AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League on Tuesday 1st March 2016.

This is the latest initiative to be rolled out as part of an innovative broadcaster and league partnership between BT Sport’s The Supporters Club and the Premier League to fund social change programmes focussed on young people. To date, the two have backed Everton in the Community, Manchester City’s City in the Community, Newcastle United Foundation and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, creating on-air feature programming in prime-time on BT Sport around the work of these projects featuring Everton’s Roberto Martinez, Manchester City’s Frank Lampard, Newcastle United’s Steven Taylor and Spurs’ Hugo Lloris.

In the film we hear the story of Drew, who is under the Saints Connect umbrella due to outbursts in the past towards teachers and staff. With the support of Saints Foundation and the Edu-K8 unit within Redbridge Community School, he has become a young leader, others look up to him and listen to his instructions. He has got most of this confidence from the roles that have been given to him through the Saints Project, the leaders believe in his abilities. Edu-K8 is a unit within the Redbridge Community School to cater for any pastoral or educational needs that the students may have. For many different reasons students become disengaged throughout their school life, Edu-K8 offers support and the attention students crave to get them re-motivated and to work towards their aspirations.

The Saints Foundation was chosen for the project due to its outstanding reputation for inspiring, supporting and delivering positive change and equality of opportunity for young people and vulnerable adults across Southampton and the surrounding areas. Across all programmes, the foundation engages with thousands each year, and in so doing invests over £1.5 million into local communities. Work is delivered across six key themes: Youth Inclusion, Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellbeing, Education, Schools & Enterprise and Football & Sports Development.

At the school we see local youngsters participate in a classroom session around leadership skills followed by a number of football training exercises alongside Saints player James Ward-Prowse. They then head over to a local community centre to take part in a boxing session with a group of older children who will teach them skills alongside James.

Click on the following link to see a video about the Saints Connect project: https://www.youtube.com/embed/T6E9aR0nkDQ

This project is massively important. It’s a great help to the whole city, and especially these young people at school who do need this type of support. It was a pleasure for me to join in with the activities and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the fantastic people involved – James Ward-Prowse

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