27 Apr 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Community spirit and togetherness in the wake of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire was recognised at the BT Sport Industry Awards on Thursday evening, with London club QPR’s response key to the rebuilding process of a community torn apart by the events of 14th June 2017.

Representatives collecting the Leadership in Sport Award in association with Nolan Partners on stage included co-chairman Tony Fernandes; CEO of QPR in the Community Trust, Andy Evans; Shahin Sadafi, one of the survivors of the disaster; and Marcus Mumford, who lives close to Grenfell Tower and supported the community throughout last year. 

As the fire raged, QPR - just 1.2 miles from Grenfell - acted by opening its doors to aid the relief effort, with thousands of donations arriving within 24 hours, along with volunteers from the local community and QPR fan base.

Throughout the summer, the football club helped lead those impacted by the disaster through difficult times, launching a free summer soccer programme that continues to this day, with a high percentage of participants coming from surviving families or those in neighbouring housing, who due to the fire were homeless and living in hotels or temporary accommodation.

3,346 children registered, not only providing youngsters affected by the fire with an invaluable form of escapism from the reality of everyday life, but also providing parents with a platform to talk and share.

Meanwhile, #Game4Grenfell gave something back to Grenfell and the wider community, creating a lasting legacy that would serve the local community for years and decades to come. Survivors, volunteers and members of the emergency services joined a sell-out crowd in west London, to watch stars from the world of football, entertainment and music contest a 90-minute match.

The award was presented by WBA super middleweight champion George Groves, whose first boxing gym was inside Grenfell Tower.

Speaking on stage, Groves said: “It’s amazing to see all of the incredible work that people have put into their work and the sport industry this evening. But for me, sports starts in the community. I started my career at a community gym near Grenfell Tower. Everybody knows what happened there, but they stuck together, they looked to rebuild, and sport was at the heart of their rebuilding effort.

“Growing up, I remember Grenfell Tower being full of characters and that gym that became a pillar of the community is one of the most successful in the country. In tragic circumstances, that community came together and as they looked to rebuild and help those that were most in need, sport was at the heart of everything they did.”

The Leadership in Sport Award in association with Nolan Partners was created to recognise the significant need for strong, responsible leadership within sport. Previous winners include the likes of Sir Phillip Craven, Kelly Simmons MBE, UNICEF and the Commonwealth Games Federation, and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Nick Keller, chairman, Sport Industry Group, added: “The immediate aftermath of the tragic Grenfell disaster shows the importance, responsibility and impact that sport can and should play in communities. When many had nowhere to go, QPR opened their doors to those in need. Not only that, they helped bring the cause to global attention through #Game4Grenfell, showing urgent and critical community leadership in a time of need. We are privileged they were able to join us this evening.”

The BT Sport Industry Awards are the largest commercial sports awards in the world, and took place at Battersea Evolution in London, on Thursday 26th April 2018. Bringing together sports stars, celebrities, senior decision makers, influencers and global media, the industry’s most anticipated night of the year celebrated the very best work from across the sector.

The famous trophies were awarded on-stage in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,700 guests at the star-studded event, held annually in London.

BT is headline partner of the BT Sport Industry Awards. Coutts, Dow Jones Sports Intelligence, EY and Sela Sport are official partners. Find out more about the BT Sport Industry Awards at www.sportindustry.biz/awards