Last week Pentland Brands volunteers joined the London Sport and Big Society award winning charity, SportInspired, to run the first ever ‘Pentland Community Games’, an opportunity for our people to get involved in the community and get over 200 children active.
The full-day event, run by SportInspired, was all about increasing physical activity levels and improving mental wellbeing by giving children the opportunity to find a sport they love in the hope that it will instil long-term active habits.
It’s really important to us as a business that we support causes that resonate with both our people and our brands. As an organisation we believe in more than attaching our name to a cause; we want to get involved in a way that’s meaningful to our community. That’s why we committed to running four of these events over the next two years and continue to give every Pentland Brands employee a ‘Give Back Day’ to get them out of the office and volunteering in the community.
We asked our Head of Environmental and Community Affairs, Zoe Cokeliss Barsley, to tell us a bit more about what we’re looking to achieve with this partnership while she was volunteering on the day. “This programme will make a really significant contribution to our goal to enable 5,000 kids in the UK to get more active by 2021.”
What makes this charity partnership different is the fact that we’re not just donating money to a great cause in order to achieve that goal, we’re also getting involved on a personal level with the charities we support.
Pentland Brands CEO, Andy Long, sees the value in getting our people involved at the point where it can really make a difference. “This is the first time we’ve really been involved with our new purpose around communities and it’s been a really special experience for us all.”
The event was attended by children from local primary schools in North London including Menorah Foundation, Sebright School and Coppets Wood Primary School. To support the event, we had 30 young mentors from Eastbury Community and Basildon Academies, 12 players from Oxford and Cambridge University rugby and over 60 volunteers from Pentland Brands.
As part of the event, Scarcens rugby club brought along their Aviva Premiership Rugby Cup. Not only did the children get the chance to pose with the trophy, but they’ve also been invited to watch the acclaimed Varsity Rugby match at Twickenham in December and visit Cambridge and Oxford Universities.
After the day-long festival, we asked SportInspired CEO Richard Raynes what we can expect to happen next. “We’ll be setting up sports clubs in the schools, using local sports providers, and our goal is to get these young people loving that sport and doing it week in week out, so that sport becomes a normal part of their life.”
Later this year we’ll be running the next ‘Pentland Community Games’ in Sunderland and then in Blackburn and Nottingham in 2020. These events will allow us to continue to work in partnership to bring together sports clubs and schools across the UK and to build a lasting impact for children in disadvantaged communities through sport.