Our Work in the Caribbean
United Through Sport has supported our local, satellite partner programme in St. Lucia since 2011, running programmes geared toward mass youth participation in sport. While using sport as a vehicle to tackle the most prevalent of social issues across the country.
Have a browse around this page to discover more on the great work we are doing in The Caribbean.
Click on the headings below to read more about our programmes in St Lucia:
Mass Participation Programme
The overall aim of our grassroots projects is to equip all children in the region with the means to play and enjoy sport and reap the obvious health and developmental benefits. We do this through the provision of sport kit and training equipment, working within some of the most deprived schools and communities in the country. Our staff and volunteer coaches provide sessions in the region’s most popular sports (Football, Cricket, Netball and Rugby) for over 2000 children a year. Sessions focus on basic skills of the games with an overall emphasis on fun, inclusion and adherence.
More specific goals are achievable through our grassroots projects:
Youth Rugby Crime Prevention Project: a relatively new sport to the youth of St. Lucia, we have used rugby as a tool to channel aggression and emphasise the importance of discipline with children and young adults with behavioural issues, in areas of high youth crime and within institutes for youth offenders.
We believe rugby is an excellent sport for tackling behavioural issues of young adults, promoting valuable life skills such as teamwork, leadership, decision making and communication. The programme has been very successful in giving young people a new focus away from gangs and crime with many of them going on to leave the island for the first time; representing St. Lucia for their U19’s team in Trinidad.
Young Leadership Project: A key focus of our work in the most impoverished communities is sustainability of the project from within the community. Our young leadership programme supports young players to become leaders in their team and community.
Our children are not only coached as players but are trained as leaders and coaches. The Young Leadership Project works to mould players into leaders amongst their peers. Children from the higher age groups are encouraged to assist and lead sessions with the younger groups. Upon graduation from primary school, graduates are invited back to their school to mentor and inspire the next generations of players.
In fact our teams in La Guerre, Baboneau and Laborie were set-up and are now run by former graduates of the Young Leadership Project.
Female Empowerment Project: Netball in St Lucia is the number one sport for women. Which makes it the perfect vehicle to address key health and social issues affecting young females in the region. United Through Sport coaching sessions within schools work to conflict obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle whilst building up self-esteem amongst the girls. Working across the island in schools, sports clubs and summer camps perhaps some of the most worthwhile work of this project is done in Uptown Girls Centre for at-risk females.
Furthermore, within the grassroots programme, football, rugby and cricket sessions we work with both girls and boys to breakdown any stigma or stereotypes about girls in these sports, as a method of increasing female participation across the board in multiple male dominated sports.
School of Excellence
Competition Project: The key to success from mass participation level is clear pathways to club and academy sport. With St. Lucia’s overall unemployment rate at 24.9% (2014) and over 10,000 young people (17-25) looking for work, times are difficult upon graduation from high school and many St. Lucians find themselves in difficult financial predicaments. Only one higher education institute and no universities on the island, makes opportunities for young adult scarce.
Our National development squads are set up in Sir Arthur Lewis College in Castries in the North and in Laborie in the South. Here players are not only guided toward elite performance in their sport but are given career guidance and support. Exploring ways their sporting skills can be utilised in perspective careers and advancing life skills and employability of our players. Although coaching within our clubs and academies is more intense and performance orientated, player’s development into adulthood is always the overriding focus.
We work with, and have even established youth representative National Teams in our selected sports. We often hold invitational sessions for U19 teams to train with current national sides, not only to give a taste of higher competition but to give evidence as to what can be achieved and how hard they’ll have to work to get there.
The competition level programme gives the most talented players a clear pathway to the highest possible level. This is achieved through training that is more specific to individual needs and youth representative teams which attempt to create an environment for youth players that as closely as possible mirrors a Senior National team environment including media training, nutritional guidance and public speaking.
Elite Opportunities: The majority of the sports that we work with in St. Lucia are not professional, even at their highest level. However, our Elite programme works to professionalise National teams holistically. The sessions are geared to cover every aspect of the sport at a high performance level from nutritional advise, strength and conditioning programmes, psychological analysis, mental preparation and much more.
Provision of Physiotherapy
By having our volunteer physiotherapists attend National training sessions we are able to work with injury treatment, rehabilitation and prevention to ensure players spend less time on the side lines.
It is important for us that players not only perform on the pitch but understand their importance as figures in the community and role models for the younger population off the pitch.
The St. Lucia Rugby National team have done a selection of Safe Sex infomercials which were nationally televised. Our teams are often encouraged to donate blood, running donation drives within their communities. On top of this, the St. Lucian National Football, Rugby and Cricket teams have spent a lot of time in local media in an endeavour to break stigmas and social stereotypes about women in sport. We encourage past and present National stars to support coaching and pass on their experience and expertise in all our projects.
Increase in School Attendance
The Power of Sport
“When you think of the Caribbean, most people will mention it’s beautiful sandy beaches, honeymoons or luxury resorts. Behind the perfect picture painted by the tourist industry is a daily struggle among many of the region’s youth, facing gut wrenching challenges similar to the more publicised deprived regions of the world.
Sport is the perfect tool to capture the attention and imagination of the regions youth. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved thus far, but even more excited for what we can do in the future.”
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”