Are you ready to ELBA? Building resilient communities through sport

 In Blog, CEO's blog, Community

It’s that time of year when Test Match Special plays a big role in what I will be listening to for the next few weeks. Cricket is not everyone’s idea of fun, and even for those who think it is, there is always lots of debate about the longer form of the game. For me, the ebb and flow that you get in test matches from session to session is much more satisfying than the all-out slog of the shorter forms. You have to be able to accept the ups and downs, and keep your optimism that a poor spell will be followed by better.

I was discussing the ability of sport to engage disaffected young people and to teach them how to deal with life’s ups and downs with a coach from Street Elite (@StreetEliteUK) on Thursday. Street Elite is a programme supported by Berkley Homes (@BerkeleyGroupUK) and delivered by the Change Foundation. It aims to help young people who are not known to the usual authorities, and does so via sport and the promise of work placements leading hopefully to jobs. Sport teaches them teamwork and discipline and also that you cannot win every time. You have to cope with the knocks and come back from them. This helps build their resilience – the ability to cope with life’s twists and turns and to come through them. The participants are then expected to give something back via coaching for younger people and helping to organise community sports festivals. I went to the east London scheme festival in Stepney Park and it was great to see around 250 school pupils having a chance to try different sports and activities with the help of the Street Elite team and lots of volunteers from Berkeley and other businesses.

It’s a great programme and ELBA is hoping to support it in the coming year by bringing in volunteers and mentors from ELBA members and broadening out the range of work placements and experience on offer.

In the meantime, the test cricket is not going so well, so I better dial-in my own resilience and settle down to accept another loss. Looks like it could be a long sporting summer from that point of view – here’s hoping the Olympics and Paralympics give more hope. At ELBA Towers we will be looking back four years to the London Games and remembering everything that was achieved – and the prominence that was given in 2012 to the role of the Games Makers – the volunteers who more than anything captured the spirit of the London Olympics and Paralympics. As we settle into what could be a prolonged period of uncertainty, ELBA will be promoting volunteering and community engagement as a way to build our own brand of resilience for our communities and ELBA members.

– Ian Parkes, ELBA CEO

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