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The power of sport

As a trustee of the newly merged charity International Inspiration (IN), I have just returned from an International Inspiration Programme (IIP) PE and schools sport conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. IIP will be coming to an end in 2014 and I can proudly say the London 2012 legacy programme has really delivered on the promise to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of sport’.

At the heart of II’s programme design are the 3 P’s of policy, practitioners and participants.  In Indonesia four polices have been influenced to help ensure that physical education is part of the educational fabric for young people. There have been 3,123 teachers, coaches and young people trained as well as a team of 25 Master Trainers empowered to deliver TOPS training for years to come. Over 500,000 young people in six regions of Indonesia have been reached since the start of the programme back in 2010. The close working partnership between British Council, Unicef, UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust’s staff should be proud of what they have achieved with the local teams from West Jakarta, Bone, Pasuruan, Surabya, Suban, and Papua.

Without doubt, the highlight of my visit was the time I spent with the 12 young leaders, debating the power of sport and the positive impact it has had on their lives. In a breakout room away from the main conference we explored the key skills they used in their roles, their answers belied their ages.  Communication, persuasion, planning, and influence we debated, then Agus offered the attribute courage into the discussion and the conversation shifted to belief and bravery. Agus was part of the innovative use of the TOPS resources by social workers to engage street children and support them to get back into school. Agus’ story about being the main bread winner of his family through begging was hard to hear. Happily he is now going to school and is passionate about what the programme has done for him. I asked him what he wants to do when he grows up, ‘to be a social worker’ he said sheepishly. You can’t ask for better evidence of the impact the team of dedicated social workers are having on the street.

Towards the end of the conference, two of the 15 year old young leaders who had introduced the conference, picked me out amongst the delegates to tell me something. They then went on to explain how, when they finish their studies, they want to spend a year working in the more remote islands working with young people to help them learn the skills of life through sport.

Now as I sit at my desk looking out over the morning frost I reflect on the power of sport to changes lives and think of all the work we still need to do.


This month's blog post comes from Guin Batten, trustee of IN and COO of the TOP Foundation at Youth Sport Trust.