England Footballers Foundation And BT Sport’s The Supporters Club Join Forces To Celebrate The Power Of Sport

May 16, 2016

England footballers including Gary Cahill and Dele Alli are leading a campaign between The England Footballers Foundation and BT Sport’s charitable initiative The Supporters Club to inspire the public to use sport to make a better world.

As anticipation builds to a sporting summer including UEFA Euro 2016 and the Rio 2016 Olympics, the England footballers are joining up with the likes of BMX star Tre Whyte and England blind cricket star Hassan Khan to make surprise visits to some of The Supporters Club’s key partners.

The England football players and The Supporters Club will be setting an example by trying out sports well outside of their comfort zones and competing with established sports-people in their field such as Whyte, plus, undertaking challenging acts of volunteering. BT Sport viewers will be able to see how the footballers spent their time, with selected programming airing on BT Sport over the coming weeks. The public are being encouraged to visit their local sports club or charity and join in this summer.

Gary Cahill visited cricketing organisation Change Foundation in Surrey to play blind cricket with leading blind cricket star Hassan Khan, wearing glasses that replicate a variety of eye conditions and learning to run and rely on a coach whilst blind folded. He volunteered by undertaking umpiring and supporting someone who was registered blind. The Supporters Club has a long-standing link with the charity of backing its ‘Hit the Top’ disability clubs across for young, impoverished people with a disability living in the slums of Mumbai.

Dele Alli headed to Supporters Club partner Access Sport’s BMX track to undertake BMX activity with the project’s local youngsters from Peckham, London, in a pursuit race and work with local youngsters on repairing the club’s bikes. He jostled with British BMX star Tre Whyte. The Supporters Club has a long-standing link with the charity of backing its Ignite Programme aimed at improving employability and health and wellbeing for disabled young people living in disadvantaged areas in London.

England and Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling went out of his sporting comfort zone and teamed up with former Sale Sharks star, and the Aviva Premiership’s all-time record try scorer, Mark Cueto to test his rugby skills.

Smalling took on a number of skills-based challenges and led a session on healthy eating for the youngsters taking part in the day.

The Supporters Club aims to build a better world by bringing people together through sport. Donations from BT and our customers are invested into projects selected in partnership with Comic Relief. When customers sign up to BT Sport, they are able to make a recurring £1, £3 or £5 monthly subscription to The Supporters Club to help support these and other similar projects. Globally, BT has ambitious objectives to help raise £1billion for good causes by 2020 and inspire two thirds of its people to volunteer.

The England Football Foundation was established in 2007 by the then England squad to enable them and future England players the chance to collectively donate their match fees and time to support good causes. As well as raising vital funds, the players give their time and use their profile to put smiles on faces, raise awareness of particular issues and promote positive change to help make a meaningful difference to the lives of others.

Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, said: “We are thrilled to be launching this very special partnership alongside The England Football Foundation. With such an exciting summer of football coming up this was the perfect time to get involved and use sport to help improve the lives of these young people. We have some fantastic footballers who have volunteered to be involved in the visits and we know it’s not only going to delight the children from each project but we hope it will also help inspire others to get involved with other sporting projects and really help change lives for the better.”

Jen Cox, of The England Footballers Foundation, said: “’We are delighted to be working with The Supporters Club and we’re looking forward to working together over the summer encouraging people around the country to get involved in sport. The England Footballers Foundation and The Supporters Club are a great fit as we share a similar vision to put smiles on faces, raise awareness of particular issues and promote positive change to help make a meaningful difference to the lives of others.”

For more information on the EFF and BT Sport Supporters Club partnership click here