West Midlands-based charity Sport 4 Live UK exist to fulfil one key purpose: to give young people the opportunity to create a better future for themselves.
The charity use football to develop and impact upon young people’s (aged 11-29) social, personal and life-skills. They coach teamwork, resilience, self-confidence and punctuality. They believe in the power of these skills for making young people more employable through sport.
Everything Sport 4 Life UK do is focused on changing the lives of young people, and supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop key skills needed to secure a great start in life.
And that’s exactly what they have done since 2006.
“I feel like I’m not the same person anymore. Before coming to Sport 4 Life, I couldn’t put words together, I was very closed and introverted and Sport 4 Life’s staff members gave me opportunities I never thought I’d have.”
– Alishah, 25.
Founded originally as a small community project in the ward of Ladywood, Birmingham, Sport 4 Life UK started life as a ‘sport for sport’s sake’ charity – driving disadvantaged young people into sports participation, with the focus exclusively on outputs. Following a fundamental strategic review in 2010, the organisation changed its use of sport, where it became the vehicle, conduit and tool to facilitate social good – focussing on meaningful and sustainable impact.
As a result, Sport 4 Life UK has developed into the leading sport-for-employment charity in the West Midlands.
In the last 12 months alone the charity has delivered 1,972 hours of support for 1,015 young people, with engaging 414 of these young people engaging in their sports sessions.
“I am happier, I am stronger, I am more confident in myself – I have doubled my confidence since joining Sport 4 Life. I feel trusted and respected.”
– Zoe-Jane, 23.
75% of the young people Sport 4 Life UK have worked with in that period said the charity ‘significantly improved’ their life skills, and 95% said that their employability skills ‘significantly improved’.
They’ve provided this fantastic support for young people in the West Midlands through seven key methods:
Through these programmes young people like Daniel Paterson, who first joined Sport 4 Life a bit more than three years ago after going through some difficulties in his life, have thrived.
Daniel needed a source of direction and inspiration and was having tailored one-to-one mentoring sessions with his mentor at the time. They were looking for opportunities for him to enhance his CV and engage in more initiatives and, as a result, he was introduced to volunteering. This is when Daniel progressed from a mentee to a Sport 4 Life volunteer.
After being a volunteer for a while, the charity were amazed by his unique approach, dedication and motivation. At the beginning of 2021, Sport 4 Life UK had a vacant sports coach position, which Daniel decided to apply for and eventually secured his place as a sports coach – he is now one of the charities most trusted sports coaches.
“Sport 4 Life made me see a different side to life. It helped me seize fantastic opportunities. Working as a sports coach now feels very rewarding: when I turn up to sessions, all the young people are excited to see me – this is a fantastic feeling and I can’t put it into words. “
– Daniel, 29.
Daniel is one of the charities many success stories throughout the last 16 years. You can read about more of these here.