24 June 2014
The Supporters Club celebrates first birthday with £2.5m raised to date
BT Sport analyst Michael Owen, the former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid striker, today helped to coach youngsters at a south London sporting project to mark the one year anniversary of The Supporters Club, the broadcaster’s initiative which aims to build a better world through sport.
Owen visited the South West London Academy of Street League to announce that The Supporters Club has approved a substantial grant to enable it to launch in Sheffield. The grant will allow the charity to work with young people affected by unemployment in the city. Street League works across the UK, specialising in changing the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through football.
As part of its one year anniversary, The Supporters Club today also announced additional grants for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people and their families, and the Active Communities Network, a UK wide charity which works with a network of partners to deliver sport for development.
To celebrate the first year of The Supporters Club, BT Sport is launching the We Are One campaign which thanks all those involved in the initiative, from BT Sport customers who make donations, to sports partners and charity projects, plus, BT employees. The Supporters Club can today also reveal that £2.5 million has been raised from BT Sport customers and BT in its first year. This has so far been used to fund 13 sport-inspired community projects – seven in the UK, six overseas. Over 80,000 people are now signed up to The Supporters Club.
Michael Owen, who was part of a documentary on the change enabled at a disabled riding charity thanks to The Supporters Club last year, said: “Sport can be a powerful force for good when channelled effectively and I’m pleased The Supporters Club has achieved so much in its first year.”
The Supporters Club’s squad of 80,000 members are being asked to join the celebrations by sending a thank you video message via social media to someone who has supported them in their lives. BT Sport presenters such as Clare Balding and Lawrence Dallaglio will be posting their own “because of you” short videos on Twitter, using Vine. Their videos and others can be viewed by following The Supporters Club on Twitter @supporters and using the hashtag #WeAre1.
John Petter, CEO, BT Consumer, said: “The Supporters Club has quickly proved it is a unique force for good in the UK and overseas, helping to build a better world through sport for hundreds of youngsters and many sporting initiatives. It is a compelling squad: combining the support and donations of BT Sport customers with the reach of BT Sport on TV, added to the expertise of Comic Relief. We look forward to enabling positive change for many more individuals through sport over the years to come.”
Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, said “It’s wonderful to be able to look back on the first year of the Supporters Club and celebrate over £2.5m raised by BT and its customers. That money is hard at work funding projects that use sport as a tool to change lives. It’s reaching people here at home in the UK and in the poorest communities across the world. BT has led the way and shown great imagination and compassion in linking the launch of BT Sport to such a ground breaking initiative and we thank them for it.”