UTS Caribbean Volunteer Running Saint Lucia Marathon For Beneficiary

Following a tragic car accident, Garvin, a young beneficiary from our Vide Boutielle after school football programme, was left fighting for his life, surviving on only two pints of blood. After weeks on life support and multiple operations he is now in a much more stable state.

Garvin will now require a long course of physiotherapy, and the lifesaving medical treatment has come at great cost to the family. Our Saint Lucia staff and volunteer team have been fundraising in a variety of ways to alleviate the financial pressure on the family. But one of our current volunteers is going that extra mile:

Rugby coach Bryn Owen-Conway will be running a Marathon on Sunday 26th in order to raise much needed funds for the cause and will be accompanied along the way by our friends and team. He has set an overall target of £2000, which will go a long way towards covering the current medical debt, providing Garvin with a wheelchair and the physiotherapy course that we hope will eventually get him back playing for our partner: Shamrock Football Club!

Donations can still be made via Bryn’s Total giving page: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/runforgarvin

 

UTS Caribbean Roll Out Marchand Swim Programme

St. Lucia is a beautiful island surrounded by clear blue sea however many of its inhabitants are unable to swim and drownings are not uncommon, particularly within the island’s underprivileged communities.

Our seven-week Marchand swim programme is designed to give the opportunity for young children from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn basic swimming techniques in open water as well as vital survival, and even lifesaving skills! Sessions are being run daily for up to 8 children at a time during and after school, with free transport to and from sessions provided for participants.

Lessons are being led by our swim coach Megan Holms; who is returning after previous placements with us in St. Lucia (2015) and our South Africa project (2016).  As an experienced and qualified lifeguard and swim coach Megan has been working hard to enhance our St. Lucia swim programme and expand our reach across the island.

United Through Sport Caribbean Provide St. Lucia Rugby Team Uniform

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

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.

UTS Product Ervin wins St. Lucia Rugby Player of the Year Award

A true product of the United Through Sport St. Lucia project. Ervin Joseph’s  association with the organisation came when he got his first taste of competitive rugby in the United Through Sport Youth Rugby Tournament in 2011, representing his hometown of Laborie.

Consequently, a UTS community rugby programme was set up in Laborie the following year. Ervin and his identical twin brother Elvin’s attendance, aptitude and attitude within the sessions lead them to immediate success in the sport, highlights included: winning 2012’s edition of the UTS Youth Tournament with the Laborie team, representing the South of St. Lucia in our North vs South series that same year, captaining the St. Lucia U19’s in Trinidad 2013 and gaining their first senior caps the following year.

Ervin’s development off the pitch was also staggering, as aspiring coaches he and his brother took up positions with United Through Sport. As a graduate of the UTS projects Ervin is the perfect role model to deliver our programmes to the next generation, while collecting a variety of coaching badges; he has ran numerous rugby programmes across the island, travelled with a St. Lucian youth team to the UK as a coach for an international rugby tournament and even established his own senior rugby team.

The 2016/17 season has been his best yet; starring for St. Lucia National Rugby Team in matches against Rugby Club Diamant Martinique and SVG Rugby Union while leading his previous domestic club VBCC Stingers and  current club Rouges RFC to a perfect record of 28 games- 28 wins, leaving voters with no choice as to who should be named the St. Lucia Rugby Football Union’s player of the year.

On receipt of the award Ervin’s focus inspiring others to follow is lead:

“I’m extremely proud to have won this award, this year I’ve been working harder then before. I’ve been surrounded by people that have encouraged me in getting better. It just shows me that with hard work miracles do happened. I say thanks to my team mates and as their captain, i hope leading by example will encourage them on being better as individuals. Right now rugby is a growing sport you never know how far one can reach.” 

Young St Lucian swings his way to the top

Ealier this year, young up and coming tennis star Ishmel Moise, from ‘Tennis St Lucia’, received a new tennis racket as part of “United Through Sport” summer donations drive. With it, he has secured a number of titles including Boys 12 and under Champion in the 5th Annual Easter Junior Tennis Tournament and the Semi Finals in the previous KIA National Independence Tennis Tournament.

Following these initial tournament successes, he trained continuously to be selected for the St. Lucia Team who travelled to Antigua for the annual Caribbean Junior Invitational 12 & under tournament. Ishmel played hard in the round robin competition but unfortunately did not make it to the main draw of the event. He performed exceptionally in the consolation draw and made his team & country very proud.

United Through Sport & The St. Lucia Tennis Association encourages young juniors like Ishmel, to specialize in the sport. The aim of the summer donations drive is to help children develop humility, flexibility, acceptance, fairness, and integrity through involvement in sport. United Through Sport in country coordinator Joel Martin said “giving the children a chance to learn the rules of the game and develop a love of the sport can help cultivate a child’s character and integrity. We look forward to many more impressive victories from Ishmel and others on the programme”.

Our Coaches Save the Day in St Lucia

Our Volunteer coaches gave up their weekend to aid an inter-church tournament on their local playing field and ended up competing and eventually winning it!

When the inaugural St. Lucia inter-church 7 a-side tournament hit a few major snags, minutes before its scheduled start, the United Through Sport house was their first point of call. Our team of football coaches came down on a moments notice; marking pitches, organising schedules, providing equipment, filling in as match officials and even creating a team with the rest of the UTS coaches.

Competing against teams from Anse la Raye, Gros Islet and Castries, The United Through Sport Team comprising of volunteer coaches Joël Martin, Joe Page, Patrick Kasaga, Josh Lawrence, Simon Watters, Adam Butler and Alex Hardy were able to win the tournament on behalf of one the Castries churches that were unable to make the event.

Chaz Cepal Selected for Windward Islands U15s

One of the stars of our After School and Young Leaders projects Chaz Capel  has been rewarded for his hard work and recent good form for St. Lucia U15s with a call up to the Windward Islands U15s team, and had this to say:

“I think much thanks should be given to my Mom and Dad, my coach Alton Crafton, and the UTS coaches who ran the after school program at my school. I want to also thank the almighty for his help, protection, and guidance. I will continue to do my best with the help of God.”

Good luck Chaz from all the coaches, staff and volunteers at United Through Sport!