UTS Run Free Summer Camps For Over 80 Children In St. Lucia

United Through Sport ran simultaneous netball and multi sports camps over the school holidays this summer providing childcare and sporting expertise for underprivileged families in St. Lucia.

Our girls netball camp was run on the Vigie sports complex with girls from Egrets, Bocage, Soufriere and St. Lucia U14s netball clubs, who had been attending our after school projects in the year. The girls were treated to a range of games, exercises and drills from our UK volunteer coaches and programme coordinator Sarah Mosley.  

The La Clery summer camp was a chance for children to sample a range of different sports including; Football, Basketball, Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Athletics and Swimming. Attended by boys and girls from the La Clery community, Pioneers FC and our ongoing after school projects in Vide Boutielle, Marchand and Corinth, children were encouraged to find the sports they most enjoyed, and linked to our partner clubs to encourage adherence to the game.

The main focus of our camps were fun and inclusivity; Camps ran 4 days a week, food, transport, swimming lessons and one-on-one supervision was provided for those that needed it and our large volunteer numbers meant ability levels and age groups could be split during session. Meaning children from all backgrounds social backgrounds, age, ability and health got the opportunity to attend. United Through Sport was also able to donate playing shirts, boots and other sports equipment for camp attendees.

Highlights of the summer included; Fortnightly beach days and swimming lessons at Vigie beach, fun day on Splash island with Daren Sammy and the St. Lucia Stars cricket team, winners dinner at Coco Palms Hotel and our National youth Netball tournament.  

Saint Lucia Stars Meet our Stars

St. Lucia Stars host fun day for UTS Summer programme children  

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is back in town! And although so far this season the Stars have not had the success they’d might had hoped for out in the middle, they certainly made an impact off the pitch this week.

On Monday 14th The St. Lucia Stars, Bay Gardens Hotel and United Through Sport collaborated to host a Beach Olympics fun day for local underprivileged children to meet their cricketing heroes. Hosted by Bay Gardens at their ‘Splash Island’ water park; St. Lucia Stars Captain Daren Sammy and team mates: Shane Shillingford, Eddie Leie, Obed McCoy and Kyle Mayers joined teams comprising of children from our La Clery and Vigie Summer Camps programmes and UTS volunteers, as they competed in volleyball matches and time trials on the inflatable assault course.

The competition was hard fought with great leadership, teamwork and bravery on display throughout. It was also the perfect chance for our children to utilise their newly learnt swim skills from the ongoing Summer Camp swim lessons.

An award ceremony and lunch buffet followed, hosted by Bay gardens in their beach side restaurant. Prizes included: St. Lucia Stars Tee-shirts and Match for tickets St. Lucia versus Jamaica Tallawahs for everyone who competed. 1st prize included free lunch for the team and their captains for the following week courtesy of the Bay Gardens Hotel. It was a great experience for all the children involved and is sure to prove one of the highlights of their summer holidays.

De Montfort University Cricket Team Support UTS St. Lucia Projects

A touring cricket team from De Montfort University took time out from their busy tour schedule to spend a day within the United Through Sport projects.

The day was designed to display the UTS development model: from the mass participation stage up to competition level and give the De Montfort players a chance to impart some expertise to our students.

Accompanied by UTS volunteer coaches Jamie Inglis, Freddie Nehls, George Thomson and Director Joël Martin, the squad first visited our grassroots project at Bocage school. The arrival of a large team of English cricketers caused great excitement within the school: the session had been scheduled for 30 children however another 30 came to watch, even the school’s principal participated in the session! The De Montfort players were able to do fielding, bowling and batting drills before mini-games to finish. Perhaps more essentially the team bought a vast amount of specialist equipment which they were able to donate and will be of benefit to the children in the school for years to come.

The team were then taken down to our after school project at the SDA academy, where many of the players were scheduled to face De Montfort in the weekends fixtures. Here the guys were able to create more game-like scenarios with our players and really put them through their paces, leaving our visitors notably impressed with the talent on offer.

We finished the day at Gros Islet Cricket Club, allowing the De Montfort player so get in a quick practice net.

Chairman of the De Montfort University Cricket Society Amer Nazir:  

“United Through Sport were great to work with as they were able to put in place all of the coaching sessions, school visits and fixtures, which was a real help.

“We visited a sports academy which schooled the upcoming talent of the island and we donated two bags of kit to them, which you could see they needed.

“Being out there witnessing this, just shows how privileged we are here in the UK, having access to all the kit and equipment we could possibly need. It just doesn’t compare.”

 We would like to thank De Montfort University for their generous donations of cricket kit and gears to our children and projects and hope to continue working with them in the future.

The World’s Strongest Marathon – Ross Edgley

When the clock strikes midnight on the 22nd of January I (Ross Edgley) will step foot on Silverstone race circuit ― with whey protein shake in hand ― and attempt to pull a 1,400kg MINI Countryman 26.2 miles in an event the media is calling, “The World’s Strongest Marathon”. Why? The short answer is to raise money and awareness for United Through Sport.

But the actual answer perhaps needs more elaboration on. Which is why I’ve put pen to paper to write this Blog post that begins with a brief back-story.

It was morning, Aug. 1, 2002, on the sun-bleached African plains of Namibia.

I’m 21 and have been tasked with documenting the life of the San Bushmen. A hunter-gatherer civilization who were no doubt wondering what the strange Englishmen was doing in their village. If I’m honest I don’t blame them either. I was completely out of my depth.

That’s because bright eyed and straight out of university I’d become this odd writer-athlete hybrid that had developed a reputation for accepting even the weirdest of assignments. Which is why I find myself emerging from a mud hut wearing nothing but a smile, homemade flip-flops and a traditional ‘tribal thong’ that barely covers my modesty.

Eager to earn their acceptance it worked. Never before had my bare buttocks received such rapturous applause as I was invited to sit among the men of the tribe.

However my victory was short lived. Handicapped by the language barrier it seemed once the novelty of my semi-displayed cheeks had worn off there was very little else to do. Without any means of communicating I had no way of developing rapport with my hosts.

Needless to say I wasn’t doing a great job as a writer or a San Bushmen.

What seemed like hours of silence passed until eventually I was saved by a moment of inspiration. I remembered the immortal words of Sebastian Coe ― former Olympic Gold Medallist ― that were engraved on a giant plaque in my University library.

“Sport is a universal language; building more bridges between people than anything else”

Politely excusing myself from the group I returned to the hut. Frantically searched for the semi-inflated football I’d kept in my luggage. Then returned to nervously present it to the tribe. Not a word was spoken. It didn’t need to be. We marked out some goals, picked teams and an impromptu match ensued.

Mr. Coe was right. For the rest of the week ― and for the rest of the life ― when in doubt I whipped out a ball, marked out a pitch and played sport. It’s never failed me. In the words of the Olympic Games founder Pierre Baron de Coubertin “The Olympic Spirit is neither the property of one race nor of one age.”

But it was experiences like this that taught me everyone loved sport. Everyone loved playing it. Everyone loved watching it. Everyone understood the value of it. Sport is an unwritten language understood by all.

Which is why I truly believe the work of United Through Sport is of profound importance! Which (coming back to the initial reason for this article) is why I decided to:

  1. Create a Virgin Money Fundraising Page
  2. Plan an insane stunt to capture people’s attention
  3. Use my small presence in the media to promote it

If at the end of the above ‘to do list’ myself and THE PROTEIN WORKS™ raise enough money and awareness for charity I will consider every blister, rope burn and painful step taken not in vain.

The sheer scale of the World’s Strongest Marathon has been captured in the below infographic by Watches of Wales Head Graphic Designer Shaun Preece:

World's Strongest Marathon - Infographic

Global Gathering on River Thames Boat

Last night saw the coming together of nations as United Through Sport threw its annual reunion party. Past volunteers and members of the United Through Sport family flew in from all corners of the world to mark almost 12 years of work. The evenings format took shape on board the Jewel of London, a cruise boat that rocked out some pumping tunes and took us on a four hour journey up the River Thames. Timed nicely with bonfire night, guests were additionally provided with a spectacular fireworks display near Hammersmith bridge.

The evening was an important opportunity to recognise all the work that is going on in the various countries where United Through Sport operate and the many people that have contributed to the charity in the form of volunteering abroad or through generous financial giving. Many of our volunteers had the opportunity to hook up with old friends who they have shared overseas coaching work with, reminding them that they are important ambassadors for the organisation to take our message back to their communities at work or university.

Thanks to all that came and made it a great night. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.