Last night, at the biggest event on the UK sports industry calendar, the Sport Industry Awards 2022 , Beyond Sport, a subsidiary of Benchmark Sport, launched its new Sport Together Fund to help support sport-based development organisations around the world that are providing vital aid to their communities in the face of conflict, harm and insecurity.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are 84 million forcibly displaced people worldwide right now. Out of this 26.6 million are refugees, 4.4 million are asylum seekers and 48 million are internally displaced. All told, one in every 95 people on earth has fled their home as a result of conflict or persecution.
However, in times of crisis, sport has consistently shown its unique ability to unite, uplift and create safe places for people seeking refuge. The Sport Together Fund delivered by Beyond Sport has been created as a direct response to the powerful role that sport can play in addressing humanitarian crises from immediate response through long term recovery.
In front of a cross section of heavy hitters from across the sport sector, Beyond Sport Founder and President, Nick Keller, announced the Fund’s first focus area of Ukraine. The ongoing Russian invasion has forced 5.7 million people to flee the country and a further 7.5 million people to become internally displaced inside the war-torn country itself.
"Over two generations back, my grandparents made the perilous escape from Central Europe, fleeing a dictator and the catastrophe of war. Today, the story is being repeated," Keller said.
"Over the last years, we have become more aware of sport's role in the world...We are keen to integrate sports capability to impact people, communities and society into our work. In refugee settings sport has a particular role – rebuilding community, creating a sense of identity and vital psychosocial support."
Guided by an expert advisory panel skilled in trauma and health, conflict resolution, youth sports and social and community cohesion, the Fund will provide resources to vetted sports-based community organisations that are helping Ukrainians, especially children, survive, overcome their trauma and rebuild their lives. Support will be given through cash grants and capacity-building tools based on the specific needs of the communities.
Beyond Sport would especially like to thank its initial Fund supporters, including Sport Industry Group, Cake Group, Nimble Productions, Octagon and OPUS.
Beyond Sport has also shared the news that the Fund is a beneficiary an online charity auction currently being run by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and luxury book company OPUS. On 20th April, bidding launched on the ‘The WBC Greatest Fights Opus – Ukraine Peace Special Edition’. Proceeds from the one-off publication and accompanying bespoke package staged by renowned auction house Bonhams – will be donated to The Sport Together Fund and WithUkraine, the Official Ukraine Fund. The auction is open through June 5, and you can register to bid HERE.
For more information on how to become a partner of the Fund, please contact Fred Turner, Executive Director of Beyond Sport, at [email protected]