Barclays Spaces for Sports showcased to int'l audienes

4th December 2011

Sport and development figures from around the globe had the chance to see one of the world’s most successful examples of corporate investment in sport as a tool for social change in action on the day before the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards opens in Cape Town. Beyond Sport delegates made the journey to Gansbaai to see what became the first Barclays Spaces for Sports site outside the UK and a flagship for the programme’s international expansion when it opened in 2008.

The renowned community sports programme, which uses sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues, launched in the UK in 2004 and has since delivered 200 sustainable sports sites throughout Britain, benefiting more than half a million people in disadvantaged communities. Following its success in the UK the programme was extended globally in 2008, bringing the total commitment by Barclays to more than £37m.

The site in Gansbaai was the first international site to open as part of that expansion. Absa, the South African bank in which Barclays owns a majority share, invested R4.6m (£343,000) in the site, and has funded a programme of community engagement work with non-profit organisation SCORE to lead community use of the facility. Barclays has also driven further investment in the site from government and the private sector, and worked with the Grootbos Foundation to plant more than 1,000 trees at the venue.

Further initiatives have followed around the world, with schemes ranging from sustainable sports sites to locally-led schemes designed to bring communities together. Meanwhile, Barclays Spaces for Sports has expanded its work in the UK to include partnerships with The Cricket Foundation, Wooden Spoon, the Metropolitan Police Service and other key organisations as it continues its widely acclaimed work. Barclays Spaces for Sports has been a global partner of Beyond Sport since 2009, when the first Beyond Sport Summit and Awards was staged in London.

Nick Keller, the Founder of Beyond Sport, said: “With Spaces for Sports, Barclays has been a true pioneer in the field of corporate investment in sport as a tool for social change, providing a shining example for the private sector in a field that will only become more important in the years to come. This site in Gansbaai has played an incredible role in bringing together the local community – an achievement that Barclays Spaces for Sports has replicated around the world.”

Kirk Harrison, Head of Barclays Spaces for Sports, said: “The values and ethos of Beyond Sport have real synergies with the Barclays Spaces for Sports programme and the Summit brings together the key leaders in the world of sport for development from corporates to NGOs to governments. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of our sites, programmes and partners and demonstrate the impact the Spaces for Sports programme has delivering key life skills to disadvantaged communities globally.”

Barclays Spaces for Sports will be playing a key role throughout the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards in Cape Town this week. The Summit, the largest and most influential global gathering in the field of sport and development, is being staged in Africa for the first time, with Cape Town following in the footsteps of London and Chicago as the venue for the unique event from Monday 5th to Thursday 8th December.

Beyond Sport is a global initiative that seeks to celebrate and support any organisation or individual with the goal to drive positive social change through sport. Its global partners are Barclays Spaces for Sports, TIME Inc and UNICEF.