Creating a better future for young people through sports-themed personal development programmes

Why we're here

Birmingham has the highest level of youth unemployment amongst core cities in the UK, over double of the UK average. 40% of Birmingham’s population live in the top 10% most deprived wards of the UK and 3 of it constituencies have the highest rate of child poverty in the UK.

Sport 4 Life UK believes in a level playing field, where every young person, regardless of their circumstances or background has the opportunity to create a better future for themselves.

Infograhic showing impact of Sports4life work

What we do

Sport 4 Life UK are proud to create a better future for young people aged 12 to 25 by improving their employability and key life skills, through our sports-themed personal development programmes. Our delivery programmes provide targeted activities that are proven to deliver life-changing impact.

Our programme delivery is two-fold:

TEENS

A proactive and strategic intervention to unemployment, TEENS is a personal development programme for socially excluded 12 – 16 year olds.

This initiative is designed to prevent young people becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training). The intervention tackles the issue of youth unemployment at the source, by developing their life skills such as confidence, leadership, and communication.

NEETS

NEETS is an employability and personal development programme for 16 – 25 year olds who are not in education, employment, or training.

This initiative focuses on developing young people’s employability and key life skills. It provides them with continued support and guidance to move into sustained education, employment, or training.

In 2015/2016, we worked with 721 young people and achieved 425 positive outcomes.

  • 367 young people reported an increase in their self esteem
  • 363 young people reported an improvement in their behaviour
  • 226 qualifications were gained
  • 186 NEET young people re-engaged with education, employment, or training.

Who we are

Sport 4 Life UK was founded in 2006 as a small community project in the ward of Ladywood, Birmingham. We have developed into the leading sport for employment charity across Birmingham.

Sport 4 Life UK CEO, Tom Clarke-Forrest reflects:

“My brother and I were discussing our post-university career plans (or lack thereof) back in 2006. We talked about our passions – sport, football, young people, social action, Birmingham – and whether we could use these to create something and make a difference.

Ten years later and Sport 4 Life is stronger than ever. To date, we’ve spent over £2.5 million on our sports-themed personal development programmes. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 disadvantaged young people, supporting them to find jobs, re-engage with education, stop offending and improve their life-skills.”
 

Kelly's story

“I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I hit rock bottom and didn’t know where to turn. My confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low.” 

Kelly was made redundant from her most recent job. She had previously been out of work for over 12 months – and now she was back at square one. Her prospects for the future looked bleak. Kelly was at the point of giving up hope, until she heard about Sport 4 Life. She signed up to the NEET programme – and that decision proved life-changing.

The project challenged Kelly to get out of her comfort zone, try new activities and develop her life-skills. She participated in sports coaching sessions and helped organise a community social action project. But it wasn’t always easy. 

“I was very nervous and scared to talk to others. But slowly the activities brought me out of my shell and encouraged me to communicate more. I began to feel like a different person. The staff motivated me and kept me going – and I was inspired to turn a negative into a positive.”

Employability workshops and mock interviews provided Kelly with practical support for finding a job, while mentoring from employers and project staff helped her develop a career plan. Now Kelly’s life is well and truly back on track. She is studying hospitality at South and City College and feels excited about a prosperous, successful future ahead. 

“I feel incredibly proud of my achievements.  I can do things now that I would not have dreamed of doing before. From a very bad, low place I now feel like the sky is the limit.”

The Sport 4 Life website