Oxford Brookes Business Management and Geography student Chris Zahn has completed the Weymouth Ironman in order to raise money for United Through Sport projects.
A promising rower in his late school years, having represented Great Britain at the Junior rowing championship in Rio and winning the Henley Royal Regatta with his University, Chris, unfortunately had to stop competing prematurely due to a back injury in sustained in 2017. He used this time of disappointment as a chance to refocus and decided to test himself in this year’s Weymouth Ironman, and decided to compete as a fundraiser for United Through Sport!
“I decided to pick United Through Sports because I really wanted to give back to the sporting community that had given me so much and had allowed me to do some amazing things and go to some amazing places.”
Chris set an initial target of £250 but was delighted to surpass that, finishing with a total of £335 to support our global grassroot projects. United Through Sport is eternally grateful for Chris’ efforts and those who supported his fundraising.
Years of dedication to sport for good work in Nelson Mandela Bay paid off for United Through Sport South Africa, who received a national accolade as the Recreation Body of the Year during the 14th annual South African Sport Awards.
Sharing a stage with South African rugby Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who overcame many adversities because of the power of sport in his own life, made this award even more meaningful to United Through Sport Director, Nick Mould. United Through Sport runs sport coaching and life skills sessions at Kolisi’s former primary school, Emsengeni Primary School in Zwide. Kolisi was offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth when he was 12 years old.
United Through Sport reaches over 12 500 children at close to 70 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay per year. “We try to cover as many of the Primary Schools in the disadvantaged communities across Nelson Mandela Bay as we can, so we actually work in many schools around the Zwide area, of which Emsengeni is one. We also have a good relationship with Eric Songwiqi who was Siya’s rugby coach at Emsengeni and later became Principal of the school. Even after he retired, Eric spent time coaching rugby in our programme. We also have some kids from Emsengeni as well as other schools who have gained scholarships at Grey and other top schools around the Bay, so there are actually a number of kids from our programmes following the same path as Siya,” said Mould.
The South African Sport Awards is an initiative of the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, initiated in 2004 in partnership with South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The awards recognise the impact, results and sporting achievements of the South African sport and recreation sectors.
“This is definitely our first major award. Generally, awards are not something we chase or focus on as we are more focused on just doing our work and trying to make a difference. However, it is nice to receive some recognition for what we have achieved, and I hope that winning this award will give us more exposure so that we can continue to expand the work that we do,” said Mould.
He thanked all United Through Sport’s supporters over the past 14 years – including corporate, foundations and individuals who have contributed to running the programmes.
“There are too many to list, but they know who they are, and we would not exist without them. I would also like to thank all the international volunteers of which there have been more than 2000 who have travelled to South Africa to give their time for free to support our programmes and have added a hugely valuable human resource over the years. Thank you to all the children, parents, teachers and the staff at United Through Sport for their team effort in achieving this award – we look forward to growing our impact even more in the years to come,” said Mould.
The lives of 14 South African football players have changed forever, after they jetted off on a plane to the United Kingdom.
On September 23, 2019 the Port Elizabeth boys went on their first international trip to the UK where they were hosted by Dulwich College in South London as part of week-and-a-half sporting and cultural exchange, made possible by United Through Sport and partners.
The boys visited the Arsenal Football Academy and went on a tour of the Emirates Stadium in London, as well as attended a Premium League football match between Crystal Palace FC and Norwich City.
However, the boys did not only sight-see during their time in the UK, they were also afforded the incredible opportunity to play football against top local professional academy teams and schools in London.
In addition to playing a friendly match against the Arsenal Academy’s U/12 and U/13 teams, the boys also played against Crystal Palace Academy and their host school, Dulwich College.
“There were school and club scouts watching the boys, keen to offer an opportunity of a scholarship to players that stood out. Aside from the football taking place, the boys participated in an academic and cultural exchange programme designed to broaden their horizons, sensitise them to cultural similarities and differences, teach them about career opportunities and foster long lasting exchange relationships with their UK counterparts,”
United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.
The football team who travelled to the UK was made up of U/12 and U/13 boys from United Through Sport’s programmes based in the disadvantaged areas of Port Elizabeth, as well as boys playing club football at Calledonian Football Club in the city.
The boys were hosted by families from Dulwich College in South London and attended school and trained with their football players throughout the week. Dulwich College is an academically selective independent school for boys based in London, which recently celebrated its 400th anniversary.
On Friday the 13th of September endurance athlete Cameron Bellamy will be attempting to swim from Barbados to St Lucia to raise funds his departing island Barbados, his arrival island St Lucia, as well as his home country, South Africa. Cameron has a large focus on making a difference in youths lives with education and development. The funds raised for United Through Sport will be going towards our learn to swim programme which has been running for two years. With this we hope to be able to expand and reach even more children in the island of St Lucia.
This swim has never been attempted before, the swim is a massive 160km long and is expected to take 60 hours to complete.
Cameron will start his endeavour from St Peters Bay, north west coast of Barbados, and end in Vieux Fort in the south of St Lucia. Previously Cameron has swam around the entire island of Barbados he was the first person ever to complete this and it was the 4th longest open water swim ever. Cameron has also completed the The Oceans Seven which is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of seven open water channel swims.
You can track his progress here: https://ubunye.web.app
We wish him all the best for the journey and any funds raised are greatly appreciated and will go along way with developing swimming skills for the children of St Lucia.
United Through Sport Caribbean were able to provide 25 full uniforms for the St. Lucia National Men team and 15 for the Ladies side. The kits were bought as part as UTS Caribbean’s objective to raise the standard and profile of the St. Lucia’s National Rugby Teams.
In-country director Joël Martin:
We are delighted to be able to provide both teams with pro-playing kits and hope it is a design the players will be proud to wear. We wanted to give the young players within our programme something to aspire towards; the greater the National Team is, the greater the motivation to get there.
Uniforms will be worn for all National fixtures including oncoming Rugby America North tournaments.
The design of the kit pays tribute to the St. Lucian Flag with it’s cyan to epitomise the sky, and surrounding Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Yellow to symbolise the sunshine and prosperity, and triangles representing the island’s iconic Gros and Petit pitons. The background is made up of Carib tribal patterns as an homage to the original settlers to the island. The emblem of the SLRFU contains the Zandoli lizard which is endemic to the region and traditionally a sign of ‘good spirits’.
St. Lucia shirts and shorts are available to buy in the UK with proceeds going to back into UTS grassroots projects in St. Lucia, follow link to order yours: https://www.scimitarclubs.com/product-category/st-lucia-rugby
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.
Tyler and Spakes, two United Through Sport staff members, recently came back from a two week trip to Germany supported by funder Go Ahead! This German organisation finances the holiday programmes that UTS runs four times a year during the school breaks.
The trip to Germany saw 8 South Africans doing a 5 city tour in the “Blickwechsel” (meaning ‘Change of View’) campaign that put a twist to the normal Global North to Global South perspective by inviting partners from Southern Africa to Europe. Participating in the trip were representatives from four organisations that Go Ahead! supports in South Africa. This was an opportunity for the partner organisations to learn more about Go Ahead! as well as the members of Go Ahead! to physically meet the implementing partners and get more insight into the different programmes and the work done in South Africa.
In each city visited, there were structured activities for the touring group and a lot of social opportunities to mingle with the local members, which were mostly University students. As the organisation with the most experience in volunteerism, Spakes and Tyler were heavily involved in school workshops in Heidelberg about the topic, highlighting the benefits of volunteering to the individual, the impact on the receiving in-country organisation as well as the importance of the sending organisation in facilitating and preparing for the volunteer experience. Other activities of the educational tour included panel and round table discussions on topics such as the education systems in South Africa and Germany, the stigma of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and discussing movie screenings related to volunteerism. The organisation Go Ahead! Celebrated 10 years of existence and there was a big party in Berlin, halfway through the tour, with everybody enjoying “Mzansi” music hits and doing the newly learnt South African dances.
Culturally, there was quite a good exchange as the South Africans tried out the local cuisine of Bavaria and the Germans were practising the clicks in the local South African languages. On arrival in Erfurt, the group was invited to give a cultural presentation of South Africa; Tyler & Spakes were amongst the three that were leading this presentation. The tour was arranged in a way that in some cities, the group stayed in youth hostels but in other cities they stayed with the university students, which had a further positive impact on the culture exchange.
Having such a good balance between the tour programme work and the social aspect, the two UTS members represented and presented the organisation well, and gave a lot of energy and effort in everything to strengthen the relationship with Go Ahead! Spakes and Tyler had an amazing time in Germany and appreciated the historic buildings, the structured and disciplined ways of the Germans but of course missed the sunny weather back home.
“I was inspired by the ordinary young people I met pooling their efforts for a good cause, putting in so much time voluntarily to support the work that we do and of course we formed such good relationships with the members of Go Ahead! I am truly grateful for the opportunity and I know for a fact that we left such a cool impression of South Africa in Germany!” –Spakes
“Anything is possible in life. After my visit to Germany I see the world in a different way. I had fun and enjoyed every moment I shared with the University students and fellow participants. I had the chance to experience how other people live and do things in a different country. The passion they showed to help other people is indescribable. My highlight of the trip was the humility and love they showed to us and that we are all equal and we must treat each other with respect. Thank you UTS for the opportunity that you gave me. I will forever be grateful for the rest of my life.” – Tyler
For United Through Sport, July 18th was not only a celebration for Mandela Day and receiving sports equipment, but also the celebration and official launch of a 1200m₂ 4G mini astro-turf at Astra Primary School, one of the Junior School of Excellence centers; a first facility of its kind in the townships of Nelson Mandela Bay. The multi-purpose astro-turf was funded by the local e’Zethu Development Trust, Empower and the Sedbergh School in the UK, through the Bhubesi Pride Foundation. Astra Primary serves as a hub in the Northern Areas, meaning that the turf will be available for structured use by the community at large primarily for Hockey and Soccer training.
By donating sports equipment, the contributors were also securing a spot to show off their football skills in friendly games played on the new turf. The first game saw the heads of the Business Chamber and UTS going head to head against the Astra boys in a very entertaining 15 minutes. Needless to say, the young blood took charge in their territory and showed the businessmen who’s boss on the turf!
With all these festivities amalgamated on Mandela Day, it was only fitting that the event was dignified by the presence of Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay and President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Danny Jordaan. Other dignitaries included the CEOS and Directors of the businesses represented in the Business Chamber, as well as representatives from the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the headmasters of our Senior School of Excellence partner schools. In a warm speech, the honourable Mayor showed appreciation for the work that United Through Sport does to uplift and develop the youth that come from such disadvantaged communities in the Bay, giving these youngsters a much brighter hope for their future.
Mandela Day 2016 was a very special day for United Through Sport, highlighting the importance of concrete partnerships to pursue common goals. It was indeed very powerful to come together with the above mentioned institutions and organisations, holding hands in promoting youth development through sport.
“Facilities like this one and partnerships like these are the key to long term sustainable development. We are proud to support this initiative and look forward to working with United Through Sport and the other key partners in the future”.
Dr Danny Jordaan, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor.
Over the last week United Through Sport have been involved with bringing 10 of our under 13s children from South Africa to play against another 9 Rugby Teams from around the world. The Festival of Rugby, organised by partner charity Touraid has given our kids an amazing opportunity to travel out of South Africa for the first time and experience a totally different culture to their own.
The tour comprised of two tournament days, hosted at Henley RFC and Esher RFC, buddy days with supporting schools (ours being Ripley Court in Surrey) and cultural days in London, visiting all the great sights.
Our 10 kids stayed with a great bunch of parents and children from Ripley Court who were also competing in the tournament, providing an ideal platform to build international relationships that will hopefully continue long after the tour is over.
The tour coincided nicely with the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and the children enjoyed a surprise visit from former South Africa Rugby International, Chester Williams and John Inverdale, who has presented coverage of many major sporting events including the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Grand National and the FIFA World Cup.
Thanks to all those involved for making this a tour worth remembering given the huge amount of effort put in to make it happen.
Enjoy some of the photos from the tour, mainly taken at the Henley RFC tournament.
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