Sports Trust – doing amazing things for sport development
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: Joining us now here on Old Mutual Live is the marketing and communications manager for the Sports Trust. Welcome to this week’s podcast, it’s great to have you on. Carol Crawford, thanks for joining us today.
Carol Crawford: Thank you Brad and thanks for the opportunity of being on your show.
BB: You’re most welcome. Carol, you guys do some amazing work and over the last couple of weeks and in the next few weeks in the build up to the Comrades Marathon we’re sort of featuring all the Comrades Marathon official charities. Because Comrades do some amazing things in various spheres of charity and along with the likes of yourself, Sports Trust and the other Amabeadibeadi charities as well.
They do get to touch many lives in what they do. I wanted to find out a little bit more about Sports Trust today so that somebody listening to this, if they’re thinking of running Comrades for a particular charity, has a fair idea of what you guys do. Carol, Sports Trust has been around for quite a while now.
CC: Yes, it has, we were actually established back in 1994 and it was through the joint venture between the private and the public sectors. Basically we started to obviously further sport development. The private sector is actually made up of our board of trustees and this includes Nedbank, Sun International, Braxton Breweries, SuperSport and Harmony Gold Mines.
Then the public sector is represented by the government, so we work with the national Department of Sport and Recreation, various of the national sports federations like the Rugby Union, cricket, Sunshine Tour and Athletics South Africa.
Basically what we’re doing is we are providing sporting kits, we provide equipment, we build facilities and we’re going into schools and disadvantaged communities to try and get these children and the community to get active and playing sport. But obviously we rely on funding in order to implement these projects that we do around the country. We work solely within South Africa.
Using sports development to help unify
BB: Carol, I love the fact that it goes back to 1994 because sport has played such a big role in our young democracy. If you think about the Rugby World Cup back in ’95, the AFCON back in ’96 and just over the years it’s had such a unifying effect on our country. The 2010 Football World Cup is another great example and sport is just a great vehicle to touch lives and impact people and communities in various ways.
CC: Yes, we’ve seen it through our programmes that we implement. For instance, in terms of Comrades, we do a running project down in KZN where since 2012 we’ve been reaching out to various schools there that are affiliated to KZN Athletics.
Basically we are providing those children with running kits and proper running shoes. I don’t know whether a lot of people are aware, but a lot of these schools, the children don’t have the finances and the support, they’re running barefoot. We managed to get funding to be able to actually give them proper running shoes.
Obviously it’s helping them run better, they’re achieving better times. The programme that we do, the children are able to run in the youth race which is actually the day before Comrades Marathon. Over the years, I think we’ve supported about 500 learners.
We’re also helping them to kind of get through to the next level. So we’re constantly liaising with the schools, the teachers, the coaches and finding out how these children are actually doing. It’s not just road running, they do trail running and the funding that the Comrades runners who support the Sports Trust, that’s where that funding is going.
We’re giving these children an opportunity to have the right gear and the right equipment to be able to perform better and hopefully one day they’ll be able to run Comrades if they have that love for running which we’re trying to create.
Being a part of Comrades
BB: Carol, I’m glad you mentioned the specific projects and also mentioning the runners around Comrades. Because one of the reasons we are highlighting the various charities, we want to urge people to run for more than themselves, essentially, when they run the Comrades Marathon. Not just Comrades, but also the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon that sort of thing. But Comrades specifically, you’re one of the official charities and one thing I love about the Sports Trust is you have fingers in various pies.
You’ve got so many projects on the go, you touch so many lives, very much like the Community Chest we spoke to on the podcast as well. That’s the upside, the down side of that, it’s very difficult to pinpoint one thing that you can go, you know what, this is what we do.
So that’s why I’m glad you’ve really focused on that one thing and we want to urge runners to get out there and run for the charity because not only are they going to raise some much needed money for you guys, but as a runner you can benefit too.
You can get into that charity seeding batch if you raise R5 000 and you can select your beneficiary, you can select the Sports Trust if that’s the charity you want to support. How big an impact has this Amabeadibeadi Campaign at Comrades had on your fundraising efforts and putting you in the spotlight, so to speak, allowing you to leverage off the Comrades Marathon brand.
CC: Yes, well, obviously we have a nice partnership with SuperSport, who provide us with some airtime, so obviously through these projects we’ve been able to promote Comrades, promote our projects, the running project that we actually do in conjunction with Nedbank, who is our funder.
For this particular project and Comrades has been an amazing platform for us to expose the Sports Trust and what we’re trying to do to help these disadvantaged kids to participate in sport. Obviously by doing that, we’re helping the community because we’re getting everybody involved. We’re trying to take these children away from these social ills such a gangsterism, drugs, teenage pregnancy, that’s sort of thing. So that’s what we’re focusing on.
Showing them that if you participate in sport, obviously reach your dreams, get further in life and obviously they develop certain life skills. So it’s just so important for them to be active and be involved in obviously the various projects that we do.
As I say, Comrades is a wonderful platform for us and Bruce Fordyce was actually our ex CEO many years ago. He’s currently an ambassador for us, so that’s also a lovely association that we have. He also does a lot of good and helps us out a lot, by promoting the trust.
So much more than just road running
BB: Carol, you’ve mentioned the road running, but you said you pretty much work across all sporting codes. I know you guys have done some amazing things in different sporting areas. I know there was a big golf drive, I think it was a couple of years ago, you put together a really nice facility there, I think it was in Soweto, if I recall correctly –
CC: We did.
BB: The projects literally are across the board. Have you got anything big and exciting in other sporting codes that you’re working on at the moment that you can share with us?
CC: Yes, so we have a big cycling programme that we do down in the Western Cape. Once again it’s all focused within schools. We have schools in Mitchell’s Plain, in the De Doorns Boland area and in the Western Cape. We’ve probably currently got about 180 children.
Once again Nedbank and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport are our partners in this programme, but that’s been running for quite a while, since about 2005. This year, for instance, we’ve had top cyclists achieve some excellent times.
We had two cyclists that did a sub three in the Cape Town Cycle Tour. They were virtually just 22 minutes behind the overall winner this year. So these kids, we’re obviously trying to get them into the next level of, you know, provincial cycling and then taking them through and trying to get them into the national team. So, we are supported by Cycling South Africa for that particular project.
Another main project of ours that we do around the country is the implementation of something called the Multi-Purpose Sport Court, these are amazing courts that have a twenty-year life span, 15-year warranty. They’re based outside, we base them in schools and this court the children can play five codes of sport. So they get to play five a side soccer, netball, basketball, volleyball and tennis.
It’s also disabled and wheelchair friendly, so the kids could be playing wheelchair tennis on these courts. To date we’ve probably implemented about 47/48 around the country. This is placed specifically in schools and the mandate there is that those schools have to share it with surrounding schools. You create a sporting hub and the community can actually also, obviously on the weekends and that, be able to use these facilities.
The nice thing there is that’s there’s longevity for these actual facilities. The communities and the schools have to take ownership and they’ve actually got to look after these facilities. Then we’ve also restored cricket facilities, we also support soccer, we’ve done some rugby projects where we’ve also upgraded facilities down in Athlone, in Cape Town. So as I said, we’re working with all various sports.
In terms of golf, we have our annual Sports Trust Golf Challenge, which actually happens the day after the Nedbank Golf Challenge. There amateurs get to play the course the way the pros did and from that we raise quite a nice amount of funding. That goes back into South African golf development board. Then we also support South African disabled golf and actually during that event, on that day, where they’re playing golf, we actually give those children an opportunity to actually come and play.
Funnily enough, last year one of the females, one of the ladies actually shot the longest drive, which was quite amazing. So, it just shows you, there’s a lot happening in sport development. I think there’s a lot of opportunity, but from our perspective, we need the funding.
Corporates need to spend that 1% net profit in the CSI space and we’re always doing a call-out to say, come and spend it with us. We’ll implement your projects, your sporting projects on your behalf and let’s get the children of our country and the communities active in sport.
How to get behind The Sports Trust
BB: Carol, I love what you do, I think Sports Trust is an amazing organisation and you just keep doing such great work. If people want to find out more about the Sports Trust, what’s the website they can get to, how can they get in touch with you? Perhaps they want to support and I’ll give the details on how they can support at Comrades as well in just a moment.
CC: Sure, so our website is www.thesportstrust.co.za. Then obviously online, they can actually make donations, we’ve got a section for online donations, if people want to support us. Obviously through race for charity, if there are Comrades runners to support us, then they can go and sign up and log on through that avenue. Or they can email us or contact us directly, if there are any corporates that wish to align with us for sport development.
BB: That’s exactly it, get to the Comrades website if you haven’t, if you are running and you’d like to support the Sports Trust at Comrades 2016, all the details are there. Just log into your account where you’ve registered and you can select the Sports Trust as your beneficiary.
You can create a little fundraising page and get that out to all your friends and family and colleagues and start raising some money. Carol, thank you so much for your time once again here on Old Mutual Live, much appreciated. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of your team down in Durban at the expo and Comrades race day.
CC: Thank you Brad, thanks for the opportunity, have a good day.