Leaving a Euro 2012 legacy with Lionsraw
Four StreetGames young volunteers have recently returned from Euro 2012 – though the nature of their trip was altogether more altruistic than the average travelling England fan.
Lionsraw, the charity which aims to harness the passion and belief of football supporters to make a positive impact at home and abroad, invited Stephen Black and Craig Robson of the StreetGames North Tyneside project, and Michael Gardner and Jamie Parsons of the StreetGames Hat-Trick Project in Newcastle to join its Euros Legacy Tour to Poland. Lionsraw leads tours to major championships where, as well as enjoying the tournament, volunteers carry out charitable work for disadvantaged communities in the host nation.
One of the four, Michael Gardner initially joined Hat-Trick’s activities as a participant before making the transition to coach via The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers (CSYV) programme. He has since progressed onto training for his FA Level 2, is a CSYV Young Advisor and is volunteering for Coca Cola Great Britain at London 2012.
Michael credits Hat-Trick and StreetGames with putting him on the right track, saying: “Since volunteering for the Hat-Trick Project and StreetGames my life has changed and I now know what I want to do in the future. All of the things I do for StreetGames and Hat-Trick will help me a lot with my future ambitions and career.”
The young volunteers and StreetGames’ Volunteering National Fieldwork Manager, mark [dot] oliver [at] streetgames [dot] org (Mark Oliver), completed the 20-strong tour party and were chosen for their maturity, coaching skills and ability to work with young people from deprived backgrounds.
The touring party spent nine days in the Polish capital and coached over 1,000 young people in that time. The Lionsraw squad, which was split into four teams for the duration, worked with a number of schools and community groups in disadvantaged areas of Warsaw as well as a network of young offender centres in the city. They also volunteered at a couple of deaf schools and a hostel for young people from addictive backgrounds.
StreetGames supported the four with the majority of funding for the tour in the form of youth-led funding and the remainder was made up by individual fundraising.