“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language that they can understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” Nelson Mandela
The power of sport was central to Mandela’s political beliefs. Mandela utilised sport as a tool to unite his people and to redefine a country’s image.
Sport is a language all in its own, it can speak to people in a way that perhaps words cannot. Far beyond the physical benefits garnered from sports, it can play a significant role for a more inclusive, safer and more peaceful society. Through its educational values and worldwide network, it can be utilized in many ways. Sport can help bridge cultural and ethnic divisions, create jobs and even businesses, encourage tolerance, reinforce social integration, and additionally support healthy lifestyles. It can unite people in a genuine and fearless way and can help in the journey to achieve wider human development goals. Sports cannot solve all of our global issues alone. They can however, generate numerous positive effects and can be a valuable tool in the quest for development.
There are many non-profits across the UK working with sport as a tool for development. Below you will find a list of organisations who have chosen to work with action sports.
The Skateboarding Foundation was founded with the hopes of introducing the benefits of skateboarding to the youth in the UK. Their vision is a world where no one is denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Furthermore, through action sports, namely skateboarding and other tools, their aim is to help young people develop the necessary skills and abilities to both fulfil their potential and to participate as active members of society.
They do this by providing free transport to skate parks, hosting free lessons and camps providing both tuition and equipment. They invest in these children by organizing weekly after school skate clubs and they arrange regular equipment giveaways.
One of the reasons they chose to utilize skateboarding is its inclusivity. “Unlike many other sports and activities, skateboarding can be enjoyed by anyone of any age, gender, religion or race.”
How to help: You can donate to the Skateboarding Foundation. Alternatively, you can sign up through their site to receive more information on their new programme, and how to get involved.
Rolling With The Girls was founded to promote female skaters. Their premise was that due to the fact that many girls feel intimidated by the skate environment they had the chance to create a safe space for girls to practice sport. Their mission is to inspire. It is not about being amazing, it is about letting other women know that there are other in Leeds who will support them.
Surfers Against Sewage, as the name implies, are a community devoted to protecting the oceans, beaches and the wildlife that inhabits these areas. SAS grew from a community of surfers who were horrified by the state of their waters. This campaign gained strength and momentum and now the UK proudly boasts some of the cleanest beaches in Europe. This community has grown beyond the surf community and includes passionate swimmers, dog walkers, paddleboarders, beach cleaners, kite surfers, sandcastle builders, ice cream eaters and sun bathers too!
The Wave Project uses surfing as a tool to bring people together. They have a proven surf therapy programme which helps young people to feel less anxious and take a more positive outlook. Additionally, they run beach school sports projects to encourage children to feel more engaged in education.
Their mission is to teach people to dismiss any negativity and focus on what they can do, as opposed to what they cannot. They use surfing and the ocean as their tools, helping people to recognize that they can rise above any challenge. The Wave Project have projects have been set up all over the UK, including in Wales and Scotland.
Surf Action supports veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physical injuries, or those who are having a hard time re-adjusting to civilian life. Surfing has proven to be powerful tool in the quest to improve psychological wellbeing. Many veterans have found that this fantastic sport has given them a new lease of life. It is a charity run ‘by the veterans, for the veterans’.
How to help: Help out this fantastic organization by donating, fundraising, volunteering, or they are always looking to forge links with businesses who support veterans and could provide employment opportunities for participants.
One Wave Is All It Takes works on the premise that whether you are riding a wave for the first or for the thousandth time you will never forget the feeling of freedom and joy. Every week OneWave holds ‘Fluro Friday’ sessions to raise awareness about mental health. They dress up in the brightest outfits they can get their hands on and surf, swim and do yoga. They wear fluro clothing because it also has the ability to make people smile. It also engages people to ask important questions about mental health. One Wave’s Fluro Friday’s are free and open to anyone.
How to help: You can donate to One Wave, or you can start your own!! People all over the world start Fluro Friday’s! Send an email to [email protected] and they will get back to you as soon as they can!
Snow Camp turn young lives around through skiing, snowboarding, life skills training, qualifications and work experience. Their goal is to engage inner-city youth through snow sports and in turn deliver life skills training, nationally accepted qualifications and even work experience in order to strengthen their incentives and helping them to find work in the snow sports industry and beyond. They have found that given the opportunity to take part in snow sports acts as the motivator to both engage and maintain a real involvement with them. All of their work takes part at artificial and indoor snow sports centres in the UK.
Find out what’s going on in your area and sign up to help this Christmas! Give the gift of giving! If you know of any other organizations that could make this list, please comment and let us know!