Laureus Sport for Good has partnered with Nike and the Mayor of London to launch ‘Model City London’.
The programme is aimed at improving social integration through sport and empowering local people to drive the change they want to see in their community. It has started in London with three pilot projects in Barking, Haringey and Hounslow, and follows a model which has been developed in other cities around the world by Laureus.
‘Model City’ is also a version of the ‘ABCD’ (asset-based community development) or ‘bottom-up’ approach which is becoming increasingly popular throughout the Sport for Development sector.
Community co-ordinators in each of the boroughs have liaised with local stakeholders such as community organisations, youth groups and faith groups to identify local challenges and opportunities.
Over the past year these local coalitions have then been developing their own strategies, vision and outcomes identifying what are the key issues that need addressing. Coalition members will then be invited to apply for grants that they believe can use the power of sport to help address the challenges their communities are facing and improve social integration.
Speaking at the launch Deputy Mayor of London for Social Integration, Debbie Weekes-Bernard (pictured above), said: “Model City London is a really good demonstration of how you can use sport to tackle a range of issues.
“But even more important than that, and what is really exciting about Model City London, is that it ‘centres’ communities. Everything you hear are solutions to local problems that communities have developed for themselves.
“We have asked communities in three areas to come up with the issues that they consider to be most important, and they then decide how to tackle those issues.”
She added: “Last year the Mayor launched an ambitious strategy for sport. What is so exciting and innovative about that strategy is that we’re not just thinking about sport’s importance in improving wellbeing – helping us to get more active – it’s also helping to deal with some of the bigger, broader issues that we face in society.
“We think that sport can be used to tackle social isolation, for example. London is a thriving and multi-cultural city, but it’s also a city where a lot of people don’t know their neighbours and can be quite isolated in their lives. We also think that sport can help to deal with issues like serious youth violence.”
Find out more at laureus.com/modelcity