St. Lucia’s first ever youth rugby tournament

The St. Lucia Rugby Football Union in collaboration with the Micoud Youth and Sports Council and United Through Sport staged a historic Tag Rugby Youth Tournament on Saturday 3rd December, 2011 at the Micoud Playing Field. It was the first time in its thirty seven year history that a youth tournament has ever been played in St. Lucia which speaks volumes of how the sport has grown on the island.

The tournament featured six teams from Babonneau, Laborie, Micoud and Pierrot namely Babonneau Young Stars, Micoud Nightriders, Micoud Rising Stars, Pierrot, Laborie and St Lucia Select. Matches were played in the under – 15 and senior divisions.

The Babonneau Young Stars with 2 wins from 2 games emerged champions among the Under 15 teams, beating a well organised Pierrot team and the Micoud Rising Stars team. Micoud Nightriders, with their win against Laborie in the finals, was crowned winners among the seniors.

In an award ceremony held at the end of the competition, deserving teams/individuals were presented with trophies and medals donated by the Department of Sports. Each player was also given a bag donated by LIME. Babonneau Young Stars and Micoud Night Riders received their winners trophies and each player received a medal for his contribution to the winning team. The Pierrot team received medals for placing second in the Junior category.

UTS at the Careers in Sport Conference

This week saw, United Through Sport team members, James Burton and Richard Bennett attend the Careers in Sport and Leisure event at the International Centre in Telford.

Careers in Sport and Leisure is the only national careers event for the sports and leisure sector attracting over 4500 young people. It aims to provide proactive, driven young people with the best possible information, support and expertise to help in their decision making when it comes to their future careers.

James gave a comprehensive presentation both on Wednesday and Thursday, giving visitors to the event a better understanding of United Through Sport’s charitable goals and the chance to get involved in supporting the charity in the UK or as a volunteer sports coach overseas.

If you would like to know more about how you can get involved then check our our Volunteer or Fundraising Page.

Robert Laing takes on 10 Olympic Sports

Ex-Serviceman Robert Laing is taking on the Gold Challenge and has chosen to tackle 10 sports. Over the coming months he will be training and be coached in ten Olympic sports in order to raise as much money as possible for United Through Sport. In a neat twist Robert is looking to compete for his local clubs in the sports he takes on.

Robert has been training committedly and has already joined local volleyball, rowing, fencing, football and table tennis clubs in a bid to complete his challenge. He is planning to take on many more Olympic and Paralympic sports over the coming months and hopes to increase his challenge from 10 to 20 sports if fundraising goes well.

Robert said, “As an ex-serviceman from The Life Guards I have played many sports in my time and done a few charity events, Gold Challenge seemed unique to me though! I have decided to take the challenge for 10 sports with a view to increasing it to 20 depending on sponsors and donations. The clubs that I am training with have been most helpful in allowing me to train with them!”

A massive thanks to Bob for his efforts and if you wanted to support him in his challenge then check out his fundraising page at the following link:

With less than a Year to Go until the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Gold Challenge is the way for the whole country to get involved and join in the excitement of London 2012. The new charity challenge, partnered with Team GB and British Olympic Association, challenges participants to take on Olympic and Paralympic sports to raise money for one of its 125 charity partners.

Challengers sign up for free and choose their challenge or create their own. Challenges include the Olympic Sport Challenge, where participants take on 5 – 30 Olympic & Paralympic sports, the 2012 km Challenge where challengers must cover 2012 km (individually or collectively) in one or more of a group of Olympic & Paralympic sports and the Family Activity Challenge which encourages families to learn Olympic sports together.

If you fancy getting involved then register your details on this page and join our sporty community:

Equipment Donations in Ghana

Everyone here at United Through Sport Ghana would like to take this opportunity in saying a big thank you to six previous volunteers for their immense contribution to our Mass Participation Programme:

Adina Henderson – Tennis Equipment
Toby Lane – Tennis Equipment
Tom Wilson – Football Kit
James Shimmin – Football Kit
Benjamin Odgers – Football Kit
Sam Yates – Rugby Equipment
Adina Henderson and Toby Lane donated tennis rackets, tennis balls and trainers to the Accra Tennis Club, where they volunteered while out in Ghana.

Tom Wilson, James Shimmin and Benjamin Odgers donated football kit and football boots to the United Through Sport football team in Teshie.

Sam Yates donated rugby shirts, rugby boots, rugby balls and cones to the schools and clubs he coached with in Nima, Accra.

Funding is a big issue for Ghanaian sports clubs and schools, with many clubs and schools only having just enough equipment and resources to survive. Donations from everyone are a massive help and will go a long way in helping children succeed in sport.

UTS vs Grassroot Soccer Match

On Friday, 21st October United Through Sport South Africa were invited to play a friendly soccer match against our fellow NGO, Grassroot Soccer (GRS); who also use the power of sport to develop our youth and spread awareness about HIV/ AIDS. Having a staff on staff soccer match has become a customary activity between the two organisations and along with our kids playing in each other’s tournaments and our joint events, contributes to a strong relationship between us.

As both organisations host international volunteers throughout the year, each team is made up of local and international players as well as a combination of male and female players; ensuring sound fair-play! The match was held at the City Lads Grounds in New Brighton, which is the home ground for most of the staff at both organisations. So, even the venue gave each team a “home-advantage”!

Because a lot of the United Through Sport SA staff have previously volunteered at GRS and because of the close relationship between the two NGOs, it is always such an exciting game to watch ; with spectators cheering both teams on and torn between who they want to win. The United Through Sport South Africa Director, Nick Mould, was feeling a bit anxious this time around though; he was under the impression that his team might just struggle without him on the field, having scored two goals himself in his last game. With a 4-2 win, the United Through Sport SA staff showed Mr Mould that his boat can still sail well without its captain on board with United Through Sport Life Skills Coach, Shankie, scoring the two winning goals.

It is always great to maintain such relationships between organisations, especially since we all share a common vision and goal to develop the youth in our disadvantaged communities. Being a sport-based organisation, it is also important for the United Through Sport SA staff to socialise with colleagues from other NGOs on and off the field. If we work together, we should also play together! This also teaches the children the value of sharing and working with those around you, instead of competing for resources.

School of Excellence South Africa Camp

Our School of Excellence has our kids busy every day in the afternoons; from life skills to sport, mentoring to extra tuition as well as the weekend matches they regularly play. With the school load and the after school programs they take part in, it would be very easy to just give up but most of our kids show commitment to the project day in and day out!

As the year is nearing the end, it was time to reward those dedicated scholars for all their commitment and efforts to keep the project going forward. An overnight stay at the Cape St Francis Resort organised by Fezulaka Experiential Outdoor Adventure was the reward for the 38 children who had attended 80% or more of the after school sessions. During the year, they had attended a number of life skills sessions and some of these came in handy on the camp; it was great to hear them speak about rip currents from the water-safety and ocean awareness session they attended in July and recycling their cups and paper plates from the environmental session in April. This would also serve as the perfect opportunity for the kids to have their final socialising and relaxation time before the exams and heavy study period. Going with the kids to the camp were our Soccer coach Zolani, our Netball coach Nokuthula and our Project Manager, Spakes.

On arrival at the campsite, the kids were briefly given the rules and regulations of their stay and headed off on a long beach walk. On the walk they were given some general knowledge on the functionality of the lighthouse, they went to see some penguins and ended on the rocky side of the beach where they were exploring and learning about all sorts of sea creatures living under the rocks. By this time the children were very ready for lunch as they had used up a lot of energy on the beach!

After lunch, four groups were formed and each one had to give a presentation with their group name and war cry where a winner was awarded bragging rights! Each group had a pair of drums to use as they wished and were given no boundaries for creativity. Without any doubts, the group that combined variations from traditional to hip-hop moves took the title. The kids had to stay in their groups for the remainder of the camp and shortly after the war-cry’s it was time for their problem solving and team building activities. Their communication skills and logic were put to the test in the different activity stations set up. Once they had finished with these, the kids enjoyed some free time where they played sport around the campsite, composed music to the beat of the drums and just had some time to lay back and relax. They also used this time to read over the stories each group was given. Before supper, they would have to do short plays telling African myths in each story.

In the dark, the kids performed their short stories and once again, the winners were the same group from the earlier competition. The plays were very entertaining as the kids had put in a lot of effort to try and out do each other! After supper, it was time for a short night walk on the beach and through the bushes, where the Fezulaka guys pulled a disappearing act on the kids which got them screaming in fear! With a lot of activity in the day and the early morning ahead, bed-time gave no trouble at all.

In the morning, the kids had to be up early for jogging on the beach and drills on the beach. They really felt like they were in boot camp with them tied up in rope, running around carrying huge rocks and all the exercise drills they had to do! The fact that they could come back after breakfast to try out surfing and sand boarding kept them going! This was also the time they used to strategise getting Spakes soaked in the water as she was the only dry person in the group. First step would be sending the girls to trick her into handing over the camera, phone and sunglasses so the boys could come do the rest!

Indeed, after breakfast they had the time to showcase their non-existing surfing skills, or just enjoy the beach or the swimming pool. The rugby boys also used this time to catch what they could of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final. Packing up and preparing for lunch, the camp had come to an end. It was a beautiful day and the blazing sun had the kids exhausted from the two days’ activities. The kids enjoyed the time spent at the camp and the coaches felt like 16 year olds again!

“As this is my last year with United Through Sport, the camp was a cool way to end my 4 year old relationship with the organisation. I loved that we were only a stone’s throw away from the beach and I think I discovered my potential to be a great surfer!” Ntsikayomzi Hlekani, Grade 12 United Through Sport South Africa Beneficiary.

Volunteer Travels with National Rugby Team

This July saw the West African rugby championship take place in Bamoko, Mali – and the Ghanaian National team was in full force along with guest coach, United Through Sport volunteer, Chris Morgan. Chris was invited to join the team in Mali by the team’s permanent coach, following some impressive coaching during training sessions with the national team in 2010.

Not only did Chris help coach the team to a respectable 4th place standing in the tournament, he also provided kit which was donated from the UK.

Chris, who is currently a student at Loughborough University, first visited Ghana last year but was unable to participate in the 2010 tournament, then being held in Niger. But on learning that Ghana qualified for the 2011 championship Chris leapt at the invitation to join them in Mali.

Despite problems with fitness Chris was pleased with the performance of the team against undoubtedly more experienced rivals. Chris said “It has been a great experience for me, it’s not everyday you get to coach a national team in any sport, and it has been a real eye opener into the workings of a national team!”

Other participating countries were Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Togo and host country Mali.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our rugby project in Accra, Ghana.

HIV Counselling and Testing Tournament

‘Youth Day’ is a hugely celebrated day in South Africa and being an organisation that has it’s primary goal as ‘development of youth’, United Through Sport SA held a HIV Counselling and Testing 5-a-side Tournament at a small town just outside of Port Elizabeth. The point of this tournament was to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to encourage HIV counselling and testing.

The 95 children playing on the day comprised of 7 local soccer teams and one local netball team; which were all under the age of 16, with the senior teams being the South African Police Services (SAPS) playing against the local team, Addo Legends. Also taking part in the tournament were our School of Excellence soccer boys and netball girls. The local police and health department were very involved on the day, making it the success it was.

Opening the day before the games was a performance from local traditional dancers which had the crowd amazed as the little boys and girls showed off their talents to the beats of the drum. When that was done, the first round of soccer started.

The community was really giving their support, with the old and the young cheering on. Being spectators was not the only way they were getting involved though; the queues for the HIV testing were getting longer by the minute. The added benefit with the mobile clinic at the field was the nurses were also screening for TB, blood sugar, haemoglobin and blood pressure, as well as HIV testing. Some of the children were busy with our life skills team doing activities from our curriculum, which promotes abstinence and educates about this deadly disease. Condoms were also made available to everyone, encouraging safe sex to the youth.

Our School of Excellence netball team won the junior tournament beating their Addo opponents convincingly. The police team was starting to warm up now, knowing the masters game was coming up after the semi-finals of the junior team. With the HIV counselling and testing still carrying on in the mobile clinics, the day was getting even more exciting and the pressure on the local teams was building up. The SAPS team proved to everyone watching that, once you join the force, you go through a lot of fitness training and used this to press home their advantage and win the master’s game.

The United Through Sport SA boys faced the Buffalos in the final round but could just not play down their talent! They were the winners of the tournament, with a 2-1 victory.

The post-match presentation had prizes for the following individuals: top goal scorer, goal keeper of the tournament, player’s player, player of the tournament and coach of the tournament. The senior team got a floating trophy and bragging rights!

With a total of 74 youth between 13 and 18 years old testing on the day, and 45 between 19 and 35 years old, the day was a success for our first HCT Tournament in Addo. The community of Addo was a pleasure to work with. The event would not have been the success it was, if we did not have support from the Cacadu Health Department, Olive Leaf, the SAPS, the Sundays River Citrus Company (oranges were the order of the day!) and Zola, who co-ordinated all the Addo logistics for us. We look forward to doing some more work with this community, as their appreciation was very encouraging.

Of the 74 children, none were HIV positive and of the older youth, 24% tested HIV positive. This just proved how programmes such as ours are needed to keep the young generation in the HIV-free zone. The community of Addo pleaded us to come back and get their kids more involved in sport. “We are happy when our kids are having fun and learning at the same time, as AIDS is a big problem” commented one of the parents.

SESSA and UTS join forces

On the 24th June, United Through Sport were warmly welcomed by members of the Southern England Students Sports Association (SESSA), in celebrating their 50th anniversary at The Royal College of Surgeons.

This was also the official lauch of the partnership between United Through Sport and SESSA to encourage students from around the South East to participate in more sport whilst contributing to the work of the charity.

After speeches from United Through Sport and SESSA a few glasses of champagne were consumed and a chance to network was taken full advantage of.

United Through Sport look forward to developing this relationship and getting sport to a wider group of sports mad people!

The Southern England Students Sports Association (SESSA) organise leagues, championships, cup competitions, knock-outs and one-day events in any sport.

The main purpose of SESSA is to provide Wednesday afternoon sport in all its forms for its members. They exist to enable as many people as possible to participate, and to play as much sport as they can provide, something that is also at the heart of United Through Sport.

If you are an educational post-16 institution, you are more than welcome to join SESSA as well as support the great work United Through Sport is doing around the world.

For further information on SEESA check out their website at

UTS take on the BUPA London 10km Challenge

A massive thanks goes out to the team that took part in the Bupa London 10km run on 30th May. Over £2500 was raised for our work overseas.

The run was great fun as everyone ran together and took in the atmosphere and iconic London scene, including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Nelson’s Column. Buckingham Palace acted as the backdrop to the start and finish. We even had our very own Lion Man running with us for our Bhubesi Rugby and Sport project in 10 African countries next year.

If you get a place in a sporting event, like the London Marthon or the London to Brighton cycle challenge then why not consider raising money for United Through Sport at the same time and join our ever growing sporting community!

Bring on next year and an even bigger crowd of United Through Sport supporters.