Raising aspirations through sport
Established in 2003, our secondary schools initiative, Sky Sports Living for Sport makes it easy for teachers to inspire and motivate young people through sport.
Run in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust we provide planning tools, access to star athletes and sports kit. Teachers identify young people who would benefit from increased confidence or improved life skills and Sky Sports Living for Sport gives them the tools to create a sports-based initiative that raises aspirations and increases engagement in school life, which in turn contributes to improving educational outcomes and future career and life prospects.
The past year has been our 10th year and saw the initiative almost doubling in size with 1,518 schools taking part. Research has shown the project leads to lasting positive behaviour change in the individual participants as well as positive outcomes for the wider school in terms of engagement and student-teacher relationships. Teachers have told us that the focused sports activities, the Athlete Mentor visits and the involvement of the Sky Sports brand motivates their students, inspiring them to succeed, both on and off the playing field.
Inspired by Athlete Mentors
Our team of UK Athlete Mentors has grown from 47 to 80 this year. All of our Athlete Mentors have competed at an elite level and represent a variety of sports. Their experiences include the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games as well as World and European Championships.
To celebrate the students’ achievements, we hosted our Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards in March 2013 in Sky Studios, inviting our 12 regional winners to watch their Sky Sports video case studies and collect their awards from Darren Campbell and Jessica Ennis-Hill, both former Olympic gold medallists. Our overall student winner was Wayne Instrell, who found inspiration from his Athlete Mentor Maggie Alphonsi, GB Women’s Rugby player and Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2010.
We use our programming to inspire young people to get involved in sport. Sky Sports latest programme, Game Changers, features regular appearances from a host of sports stars and Sky Ambassadors including David Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill to inspire young people to participate and get active. David Beckham hosts football masterclasses during the series and Olympic champion Jessica teaches the seven events of a heptathlon. The programme will also draw on the expertise of many of the 80 Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentors.
Over the year Sky Sports has increased its support for Sky Sports Living for Sport by providing further coverage through its platform, offering access to talent and by encouraging each of their Sports production teams to creatively raise awareness of the initiative by using their assets.
Involving our people
Everyone at Sky can take 16 hours of paid working time each year for community volunteering. One of the ways they can use this time is by volunteering for one of our Sky Sports Living for Sport Community Games or by volunteering individually in one of our Sky Sports Living for Sport schools. Sky Sports Living for Sport Community Games is a multi-sport festival involving:
• Up to 250 primary schools children as ‘competitors’
• Up to 50 SSLFS secondary school students as ‘young leaders’
• Up to 100 Sky volunteers
• Up to 8 local sports clubs
Volunteers get involved in our Sky Sports Living for Sport Community Games by supporting and mentoring our Sky Sports Living for Sport young leaders by sharing their knowledge and skills helping them to take on a leadership role and supporting the young leaders in making the games a success for the competitors. As an individual or with a colleague, volunteers can pair-up with one of our Athlete Mentors to visit one of our Sky Sports Living for Sport schools and see the positive impact the experience has on young people. Following the visit Sky supports volunteers to build a relationship with the lead teacher and arrange two follow-up visits to offer continued support to the project group. This is a great way to provide young people role models and enhance young people’s experience further by showing how the skills they learnt throughout the project can also be implied in a work place.
Our next steps
We want to continue to make Sky Sports Living for Sport bigger and better; following our successful pilot in Dublin we have now launched the initiative in Ireland with our new Irish Ambassador, Katie Taylor. We have already over 30 schools running projects, and we aim to engage 100 Irish second level schools in our first year and reach one third within three years.
Read more about what we do at skysports.com/livingforsport