UK help for ball skills

2015-05-05 06:00
The Balls for Poverty programme includes the hosting of coaching clinics across Cape Town, like this one at Athlone Stadium. 


The Balls for Poverty programme includes the hosting of coaching clinics across Cape Town, like this one at Athlone Stadium. PHOTO: supplied

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The annual Balls to Poverty programme in and around Cape Town is being held daily until 16 April.

About 50 students from South Nottingham College in the United Kingdom travelled to South Africa to host clinics and hand out soccer balls in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape. The programme kicked off with coaching clinics on 5 April.

The programme has been running for the past nine years and is coordinated by Sports Stepping Stones, a non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom.

According to Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects, the City of Cape Town’s sport, recreation and amenities department has partnered with Sports Stepping Stones to host the Balls to Poverty programme for the past four years.

She says the programme, which started in 2004, includes the hosting of coaching clinics in Hanover Park, Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Elsies River, Pooke Road informal settlement, Bokmakierie and Kraaifontein in conjunction with the Professional Football Association.

The students also hand out balls to communities in exchange for the disposal of any weapons.

“The programme spans over two weeks each year and the City, in partnership with Sport Stepping Stones, hosts a graduation ceremony for the 200 local coaches who participated in the coaching clinics throughout the programme,” she says.

Walker says the project also includes the upgrading of a school each year.

She says Sports Stepping Stones focuses on social upliftment by developing life skills, training young leaders and coaching.

“Sport, alongside wellness programmes and arts and culture activities, is used as a tool to address social ills in communities.”

Sports Stepping Stones also runs community sports events and school holiday programmes.

The 2015 graduation ceremony took place on Friday (10 April) at the Dulcie September Hall in Athlone

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