January 29, 2020 @ 9:40 by Richard Dawson
The chair of charity initiative Made by Sport has called on the North East business community to back the campaign’s partnership with the Great North Run.
Justin King is chair of Made by Sport, a campaign that champions sport and raises funds to transform the lives of young people from NEET (not in education, employment, or training) backgrounds, helping them gain qualifications and find employment.
Mr King — who is former chief executive of Sainsbury’s — was speaking during a visit to Sporting Chance, a Newcastle-based charity that works with children and young people in the city’s West End.
During the visit, Mr King was given a tour of the Sporting Chance facility in Cowgate and met a number of young people currently taking part on the charity’s 16+ youth programme.
The visit came following the recent announcement of the partnership between Made by Sport and the Great North Run, meaning runners entering the ballot for this year’s event can now choose Made by Sport as their sponsorship charity.
Mr King commented: “Sporting Chance is just one prime example of the organisations that Made by Sport is looking to help by unlocking new funds that can support young people by engaging them in sport.
“Sport and physical activity can deliver amazing outcomes for young people individually and as part of their communities, teaching life skills such as leadership, confidence, discipline and teamwork, all vital skills for life and in the workplace.
“Businesses can also play their part in supporting grassroots organisations like Sporting Chance to thrive.
“That is why we are calling on employers across the North East to support Made by Sport at this year’s Great North Run.
“The social impact that Great North Run has had on the region over the last 40 years has been incredible and we are thrilled to be working with them — it’s a natural fit.”
Jamie Cairns, chief executive of Sporting Chance, added: “From day one our idea was to develop an alternative education organisation that could give hope and opportunities to young people who, for a whole range of reasons, have not been able to fulfil their potential through mainstream education.
“We are really proud of the impact we have had in such a short space of time but funding is absolutely vital for us to continue and increase our impact on the lives of young people who desperately need help.”
19-year-old Josh Kirby was referred to Sporting Chance by Barnardo’s in 2018 after leaving school without any key qualifications and has since found a full-time job.
Mr Kirby said: “Coming to Sporting Chance completely turned my life around and I’m so grateful to them.
Made by Sport is inviting businesses to support them at this year’s Great North Run, with a number of corporate places available.