BT and the Johan Cruyff Foundation, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of children and young people, today announce that the first Belgian Cruyff Court - providing a safe area for children to play - will open after the summer, in the city of Mechelen. Belgian broadband cable services provider Telenet also supports the initiative through its corporate sustainability programme. The official go-ahead will take place tomorrow during a neighbourhood party in the district Otterbeek, where the Cruyff Court will be build. The partnership with the Cruyff Foundation is aligned to BT’s Better Future strategy and focuses on the Foundation’s Community Programme 1, which aims to empower young people to organise their own local sports events and increase the involvement with the neighbourhood.
BT and the Cruyff Foundation announced their joint ambition to open the first Cruyff Court in Belgium at the start of their partnership in 2011. Thanks to employee and partner fundraising activities, which attracted donations of more than €40.000, this ambition will now become reality.
Carole Thate, director Johan Cruyff Foundation, said: “Not many organisations are as dedicated as BT. Over the past two years, they have been truly inspirational through their various fundraising activities and involvement. This now enables us to open yet another Cruyff Court - close to home and the first one in Belgium - which provides children with a safe area to play in their neighbourhood.”
Edwin Hageman, CEO BT Benelux, continued: “Our commitment to being a responsible and sustainable business is underlined by our Better Future strategy; promising to use the power of communication to improve lives, ways of doing business and to make our overall impact on society a positive one. Thanks to our employees, we are able to officially announce the first Cruyff Court for Belgium, which will make a real, tangible difference to many children’s lives.”
Greet Geypen, Alderman of Youth in Mechelen, commented: “The construction of the court is part of a wider renovation taking place in the Otterbeek district. A Cruyff Court is more than just a place where children can play and participate in sports activities. It provides our city with the opportunity to address themes such as social responsibility, integration, and the importance of certain values in life.”
Walter Schroons, Alderman of Sports in Mechelen, continued: “We are honoured and excited that we will host the first Cruyff Court in Belgium, following many countries elsewhere in the world.”
BT’s involvement with the Foundation goes beyond fundraising. More than a hundred employees have already supported Cruyff Foundation events, including the annual Wheelchair Sports Day and the Open Day in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam where thousands of children, with and without disabilities, can participate in more than thirty different sports activities.
To further support the Foundation’s Community Programme, BT Learning Solutions has built a virtual learning environment called eCorner, providing internet access to an e-learning programme, a Coach Corner, and other resources. Youngsters, coaches and community workers are able to share and learn safely and cost effectively. Since the launch of the platform in 2011, 79 coaches and 434 youngsters have been trained.
BT also provides Cruyff Foundation employees with access to some of its telepresence facilities to easily collaborate with partners and government officials, whilst saving time, money and reducing the organisation’s environmental footprint.
There are already 177 ‘Cruyff Courts’ worldwide, many of which are located in the Netherlands. Of the 177 Cruyff Courts, 15 courts are located outside the Netherlands, such as in England, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Israel and Brazil.
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1 Formerly known as the ‘Participate, Learn, Win’ programme.
About the Johan Cruyff Foundation
The Johan Cruyff Foundation was established in 1997, building on Johan Cruyff's vision of “the fundamental right of children to sport and play”. By promoting sports and play, the Cruyff Foundation contributes to a better society in a positive and active way. The Johan Cruyff Foundation helps put young people in motion, and does so by supporting sport projects for youth with disabilities, constructing Cruyff Courts, organising unique sporting events for young people and teaching them how to organise sports activities. On a weekly basis more than 50,000 youngsters with a disability are given the opportunity to play sports through the projects supported by the Foundation. Currently, there are more than 175 Cruyff Courts (public playgrounds) built for children who are living in areas where there is a lack of space for sports and games. More information on: www.cruyff-foundation.org.