Over the last 8 years United Through Sport Caribbean volunteers and staff have competed in a number of domestic and international tournaments to boost competition and add international flavour to proceedings. United Through Sport RFC aka ‘The UTeS’ has now been formed into a permanent domestic rugby club .
UTeS was created by United Through Sport to improve rugby involvement and to increase game time in the area. This is beneficial to both our team and the opposition such as Rouges and Reela as well as creating a great rapport between the coaches and players. Every weekend UTeS play in 7’s tournaments, these are hosted by a different team each week. The tournaments are competitive and rewarding to each participant.
We have open weekly training sessions to introduce and encourage new persons to come and get involved in rugby. This is coached by Evan Rae the UTS coordinator. We focus on different aims each session to ensure we improve and better ourselves as a team before the next game and to develop rugby and social skills.
After each training session or tournament the UTeS host team building activities involving all teams and supporters, this is a great way to get to know teammates outside of rugby which improves communication on the pitch, as well as providing positive role models for the up and coming St Lucian rugby players.
UTeS RFC has its own Instagram page which is used to display player profiles with key information about each player on the team. We also post highlights from training and game day so that we can look back and analyse our progress and our international supporters can stay up to date with UTeS progress.
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.”
37 of our Junior School of Excellence Girls ran the Spar Women’s 5k this year in Port Elizabeth. This is the second year in a row in which our Junior School of Excellence Girls have run in this event and was a small treat for our girls who have been performing so well both on the sports field and in the classroom.
An added bonus was seeing our South Africa Teaching Coordinator Romain getting his best frock on to join the ladies, as all men who wish to participate must do so in drag. Well done Romain!
One beneficiary of the day was the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities in Nelson Mandela Bay who were presented with a cheque for R250,000.
There have been some exciting new developments at the Junior School of Excellence (JSE); the sports facilities are looking great! The children are very excited to start playing on their upgraded facilities, which will do wonders for their skills development. The upgrade of the facilities was sponsored by terres des homes Germany through the, ‘A Chance To Play Programme’ as part of their on-going support of United Through Sport’s mission to bring the opportunity of playing structured sports activities to every child in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The all round facility upgrade included building a new netball court, two cricket nets, rugby and football posts, a spectator stand for up to 70 people and purchasing an industrial lawn mower and line marking machine to allow the school to maintain the rugby and football fields.
The new facilities have now allowed the School to enter into the local Super 12 competition where they will be the only township school competing. This was previously not possible as they were unable to host home matches against top (former model c) schools. The children are all very excited at the thought of hosting multi-racial schools and playing against “abelungu” (white people) at home, as this will be a first amongst the township schools of the area.
These new facilities have been a great boost for the school and fantastic starting point, the next goal is to raise funds to extend the netball court to a tennis court and improve the hockey playing surface.
“I am so excited to play our first match at home, it will be the first time my dad can come and watch me play, and he will sit in the stands to watch me, like I am a professional!” – Zizipho Ndongeni, 12 yrs old, grade 7
The Mass Participation Programme (MPP) has continued to reach new heights in the first half of the year; reaching 43 schools and a total of 8600 kids with a total of 12 sessions per child in sports and life skills activities, totalling 103,200 sessions!
The MPP not only closes the sports gap (as physical education is no longer offered by teachers in these schools), but our life skills coaches bridge the generation gap between parent and child in some of these children’s lives. The fact that we have young energetic staff hailing from the same communities makes it easy for the children to approach them and open up about personal matters they are not completely comfortable talking to teachers about.
Having the international volunteers involved in this programme is a great advantage as the children love to engage with them and learn about their different cultures and backgrounds. Mixing with international coaches makes the children highly motivated and broadens their horizons to the wider world beyond the township.
“As this is our longest running program, it is heart warming to know that we still continue to bring joy and excitement to thousands of children in the communities of Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounding areas while still managing to impart key life skills and educational messages!” – Hannah Clare, General Manager, United Through Sport.
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Charity Number: 1102107