Former England rugby international and World Cup winner, Will Greenwood, got into the spirit of Volunteers’ Week yesterday, when he paid a special visit to Hackney to volunteer with young people benefitting from Deutsche Bank and Sported’s joint sporteducate programme.
sporteducate is a unique programme developed by the charity Sported in partnership with Deutsche Bank’s Born to Be programme, which is helping young people from some of London’s poorest boroughs to achieve their potential in life through a combined programme of sport and education or employability sessions.
Thanks to funding and support from the programme, 33 youth club and sports clubs in London have been able to introduce education and employability sessions alongside their traditional sporting activities, thereby creating fun and accessible educational opportunities in the heart of local communities.
As a Sported ambassador, Greenwood took time out of his busy schedule to give 30 young people from sporteducate clubs a rugby masterclass. For many, it was the first time they have picked up a rugby ball. Delivering coaching alongside coaches from Hackney RFC, the World Cup winner gave an insight into the qualities it takes to succeed on the pitch and in the classroom.
Will Greenwood, Sported ambassador, said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the passion and commitment of the volunteer coaches at my local rugby club. Volunteers play a key role at grassroots, not just coaching young people to play sports, but offering life guidance and support.”
He added: “sporteducate offers young people a real leg-up and some fantastic opportunities to get ahead with their educations and future careers. It’s been a real privilege getting stuck in with the training and meeting such an energetic and talented bunch. Hopefully I’ve whetted their appetites of what’s to come with the World Cup!”
In keeping with Volunteers’ Week, an annual event which celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK, Greenwood was joined by employee volunteers from Deutsche Bank. Volunteering plays a key role in sporteducate, with Deutsche Bank employees lending their expertise to community clubs across London, from offering one-to-one mentoring and running CV workshops to lending club leaders free business support and advice.
Ellie from sporteducate member group, SkyWay, said: “I’m really pleased I came today, I nearly didn’t. I don’t follow rugby and this was my first time playing so I’m really happy to be given the MVP award. I can’t wait to show my mum my medal. I’m looking forward to watching the World Cup in a few months – I might even start playing myself.”
Tom Williams, sporteducate volunteer at Deutsche Bank, said: “It’s not every day you get the chance to volunteer with a World Cup winner! I have to say it was very rewarding to see so many of them enjoying it. There were a few reluctant and shy faces when they first turned up but within minutes Will had them bonding, laughing, energised and generally having a great time. That has to go down as the most fun 46 people can have on a five a side pitch.”
Justin Haywood, sporteducate volunteer at Deutsche Bank, said: “Being outdoors and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces made my day. The sense of inclusion, competitiveness and utter joy was very clearly evident.”
For more information about Hackney RFU and playing opportunities in Hackney, please visit: