Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, and community coaches Kyle Stewart and Gareth Jones recently returned from a visit to Brazil, where they represented the Club as part of a UK delegation that included Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP.
The visit involved the Foundation supporting the launch of the Premier League's Premier Skills project, run in partnership with the British Council, in Brazil. It also sees the start of a new phase to Premier Skills, with this Rio de Janeiro project being modelled on the hugely successful Kickz programme here in the UK.
Tottenham Hotspur was one of the original Kickz pilot clubs and earlier this year a delegation of Brazilians involved in setting up the Rio project, called 'Esporte Seguro' (Safe Sport), visited one of Tottenham's Kickz projects to see for themselves the impact it is having, and to learn from the club's pioneering work in engaging young people.
As part of a second phase of the visit, the Foundation also launched a new partnership with Rio-based blind charity URECE.
The partnership with URECE is designed to share best practice in coaching blind footballers and how to grow and sustain the game across South America and Europe.
Thanks to financial support from the Premier League’s International Small Grants Fund, which helps sport development projects around the globe, there will be an exchange of coaching expertise between the two organisations and the creation of an online toolkit on how to grow and sustain football opportunities for blind footballers.
Foundation coach Gareth Jones said, “It was an extremely inspiring experience. In a country where football is something almost everyone has a passion for there is obviously a huge desire to bring football to a community where there are fewer opportunities to play and our partnership with URECE will help us achieve that.”
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation will also provide URECE with the opportunity to meet with other professional football clubs based across London who specialise in blind football. In return, URECE will provide clinics for professional coaches designed to share their coaching philosophies.
The partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation will involve the following:
· The development of an online toolkit created to help sports providers across South America and Europe grow and sustain football opportunities for blind people.
· URECE to visit London in August to meet with other London-based Premier League clubs and explore further partnership opportunities.
· URECE to provide a coaching clinic in London for professional coaches.
· Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to provide links to training venues for URECE athletes when based in England.
· Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to facilitate meetings in London between URECE, British Blind Sport and selected County Football Associations.
· Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to share policies such as the Inclusive and Active 2 Strategy.
· Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to provide an awareness campaign alongside URECE, the Premier League and the England Blind Football Team to encourage more blind people to take part in football across England. This campaign will be piloted in Rio using URECE athletes.
· URECE to share knowledge in how to develop blind football for women and girls.