Skip to main content

England Footballers Foundation and BT Sport's The Supporters Club join forces to celebrate the power of sport

Press Release   •   May 17, 2016 10:19 BST

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

As anticipation builds for 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 set an example by trying out sports well outside of their comfort zones and compete with established sports-people in these fields such as Whyte, and undertake challenging acts of volunteering. BT Sport viewers will 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. So far the following visits have taken place with more player visits to come:

  • 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. He learnt to run and rely on a coach whilst blindfolded. He volunteered by undertaking umpiring and supporting someone who was registered blind. The Supporters Club has a long-standing link with the charity, backing its ‘Hit the Top' disability clubs for young, impoverished people with a disability living in the slums of Mumbai.
  • Dele Alli headed to The Supporters Club partner Access Sport’s BMX track to undertake BMX activities with the project’s local youngsters from Peckham, London. He took part in a pursuit race, as well as working with local youngsters on repairing the club’s bikes. While there, he was joined by British BMX star Tre Whyte. The Supporters Club has a long-standing link with the charity and backs its Ignite Programme aimed at improving employability and health and wellbeing for disabled young people living in disadvantaged areas in London.

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 Footballers 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 for the cause.

Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, said: “We are thrilled to be launching this very special partnership alongside The England Footballers 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."

Andy Dalby-Welsh, Director of Operations and Partnerships, The Change Foundation, said: “Our Hit The Topprogramme has benefitted greatly from the involvement of volunteers.To be part of this campaign and aim to get more volunteers assisting us to make a real difference to the lives of blind and visually impaired young people is really exciting and can make a real difference to the young people we work with.”

Hayley Barton, Ignite Programme Leader, Access Sport, said: “Through our work in disadvantaged communities we know first-hand that young disabled people and their families often face multiple levels of exclusion - including exclusion from sport and employment opportunities. Thanks to the support from The Supporters Club and The England Footballers Foundation we hope that members of the public will be inspired to head to their local club to see how they can help. Dele’s enthusiasm for BMX just goes to show that you don’t have to be an expert in a specific sport to help your local community club.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

ABOUT EFF

In 2007, 1966 established the England Footballer’s Foundation on behalf of the England squad following the team’s decision to donate their match fees and time to chosen charity partners. Since its inception, the EFF has raised over £4 million, provided more than 200 player appearances, produced national advertising campaigns and created exclusive EFF events. For more information about the EFF, please visit www.englandfootballersfoundation.com and follow @EFFCharity. The England Footballers’ Foundation is an identifiable portfolio of restricted funds of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), held and distributed principally on the direction of the England players. CAF is a charity (registered number 268369) dedicated to getting the best for charities and their donors around the world. CAF works with donors to maximise their charitable giving, connecting them to the causes that matter and ensuring their donations get to where they are needed. For more information visit www.cafonline.org

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com