Michael Owen plays part in launching #WeAre1 celebrations in London
£2.5million raised in first year, with 13 projects backed
BT Sport analyst Michael Owen, the former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid striker, today helped to coach youngsters at a south London sporting project to mark the one year anniversary of The Supporters Club, the broadcaster’s initiative which aims to build a better world through sport.
Owen visited the South West London Academy of Street League to announce that The Supporters Club has approved a substantial grant to enable it to launch in Sheffield. The grant will allow the charity to work with young people affected by unemployment in the city. Street League works across the UK, specialising in changing the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through football.
As part of its one year anniversary, The Supporters Club today also announced additional grants for:
CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people and their families. The Supporters Club’s backing will enable it to employ a young people’s community worker to support around 100 young people with cancer, and to provide a funding pot for young people to access sports opportunities
Active Communities Network, a UK wide charity which works with a network of partners to deliver sport for development. The Supporters Club’s backing will enable it to deliver a sports based employability project with 300 young people across North and West Belfast
To celebrate the first year of The Supporters Club, BT Sport is launching the We Are One campaign which thanks all those involved in the initiative, from BT Sport customers who make donations, to sports partners and charity projects, plus, BT employees. The Supporters Club can today also reveal that £2.5 million has been raised from BT Sport customers and BT in its first year. This has so far been used to fund 13 sport-inspired community projects – seven in the UK, six overseas. Over 80,000 people are now signed up to The Supporters Club.
Michael Owen, who was part of a documentary on the change enabled at a disabled riding charity thanks to The Supporters Club last year, said: “Sport can be a powerful force for good when channelled effectively and I’m pleased The Supporters Club has achieved so much in its first year.”
Other activities in the We Are One campaign include the following:
“One Year On”: visits and media coverage showcasing the change enabled at some of the charities The Supporters Club has funded in the past year. These include a visit to the Preston centre of Sported UK which has been able to expand its service all year-round thanks to The Supporters Club
Documentaries: Over the past year, The Supporters Club has produced five TV documentaries on BT Sport to showcase its work – most recently Gilberto Silva’s Road to Rio where the former Arsenal star visited the Street Child World Cup in Rio to highlight three teams sent by charities backed by The Supporters Club. BT Sport will show these documentaries on 23rd June, plus, a compilation show of The Supporters Club’s year– ‘We Are One: The Supporters Club’ at 8pm on 27th June on BT Sport 1.
“Because of you”: The Supporters Club’s squad of 80,000 members are being asked to join the celebrations by sending a thank you video message via social media to someone who has supported them in their lives. BT Sport presenters such as Clare Balding and Lawrence Dallaglio will be posting their own “because of you” short videos on Twitter, using Vine. Their videos and others can be viewed by following The Supporters Club on twitter @supporters and using the hashtag #WeAre1.
John Petter, CEO, BT Consumer, said: “The Supporters Club has quickly proved it is a unique force for good in the UK and overseas, helping to build a better world through sport for hundreds of youngsters and many sporting initiatives. It is a compelling squad: combining the support and donations of BT Sport customers with the reach of BT Sport on TV, added to the expertise of Comic Relief. We look forward to enabling positive change for many more individuals through sport over the years to come.”
Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, said “It’s wonderful to be able to look back on the first year of the Supporters Club and celebrate over £2.5m raised by BT and its customers. That money is hard at work funding projects that use sport as a tool to change lives. It’s reaching people here at home in the UK and in the poorest communities across the world. BT has led the way and shown great imagination and compassion in linking the launch of BT Sport to such a ground breaking initiative and we thank them for it.”