A major new national initiative, Street Elite, which has been specifically designed to harness the power of rugby, cricket and football to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people, was launched on 5th July at the House of Lords.
Prior to the launch of the new initiative, youngsters from Westminster City School and Greycoat Hospital School took part in Street Elite’s shortened formats of cricket, rugby and football in a multi-use games area beside a new Berkeley Group development in central London. Women’s Cricket World Cup winner Ebony Rainford-Brent attended in support of her former school Greycoat, joined by Surrey County Cricket Club’s Gareth Batty and coach Ian Salisbury.
Street Elite’s primary focus is on using sport to help tackle disadvantage. The initial phase in London will give 4,000 young people living in 12 housing estates in 6 boroughs the opportunity to work as a team, play by the rules, and make positive choices about their lives.
Recent government figures (Feb ’11) show that there are 1,026,000 young people in the UK not in education, employment or training ('NEETS'). Street Elite is one of the first times that a multi-sports programme has been used to create pathways out of poverty for these young people.
The programme is also designed to create a workforce of young coaches. The recently published sports policy report ‘More than a Game’, produced by leading think-tank The Centre for Social Justice, stated that many sports projects fail to have a significant impact on disadvantaged young people because of the quality of coaching. Street Elite, by contrast, will specifically develop trained and motivated young coaches to run the projects in their local communities.
Street Elite is being run by leading youth charities, The Lord’s Taverners and Cricket for Change, as part of their national programme. The Berkeley Group is providing core funding for three years.
This partnership with The Lord's Taverners and Cricket for Change is one of the new Berkeley Foundation’s first major initiatives. In March 2011, The Berkeley Group became the first major house builder in the UK to create a Foundation to spearhead its CSR programme.
Rob Perrins, Managing Director of the Berkeley Group, said: "The Berkeley Group is delighted to be associated with this innovative programme, devised by The Lord's Taverners and Cricket for Change. Berkeley’s success is defined by the places we create and the success of the communities in which we operate. We firmly believe that Street Elite can make a profound difference to the lives and future prospects of the young people it touches, and their communities."
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners said, “The Berkeley Foundation’s generous support will have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of youngsters and the communities in which they live.”
Andy Sellins, Chief Executive of Cricket for Change, said: "In our 30th year, Cricket for Change is really thrilled to be working with the Berkeley Group and The Lord’s Taverners to deliver Street Elite. This programme, using multi sports, is a fantastic way of engaging young people who have disengaged from mainstream education. It allows them to gain new skills and improve their prospects."