Features | 10 May 2024

Vodafone and Sported: A successful first year

May 2024 marks the one-year anniversary of Vodafone’s partnership with Sported. Here’s everything the two organisations have achieved together in that time.

“It is really good for their leadership, communication and team-building skills. It enhances all of those skills, which they can then use in other parts of their lives.”

That’s just one of many similar reactions that sum up the impact that sports.connected has had on young people across the UK over the last 12 months.

Vodafone’s sports.connected campaign is part of the wider everyone.connected initiative to help four million people cross the digital divide before the end of 2025. In support of this, Vodafone works with the charity Sported to aid more than 200 community sports clubs.

By offering free connectivity, digital skills training and grants, the programme helps these clubs to continue providing vital opportunities to thousands of young people. This, in turn, has delivered some amazing results.

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19,493 young people engaged

To date, almost 20,000 young people have benefitted from the sports.connected programme*. That’s across 365 clubs and groups – 49% of which are in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.

This includes local rugby club Tylorstown RFC, from the Rhondda Valley in Wales, which helps young people facing disadvantage in the local community to develop their skills both on and off the pitch.

As a Sported member club, they benefitted from a dedicated rugby camp being run for a full week, targeted at different groups of young people across different days.

The team was also given the opportunity to meet Wales rugby legends Warren Gatland and Louis Rees-Zammit during the Captain’s Run, prior to the 5 August 2023 Vodafone Summer game between Wales and England.

“Giving our members and young people an opportunity to be right at the heart of the build-up to a huge occasion such as Wales v England…[is] an experience they will never forget.”

Sarah Kaye, Chief Executive, Sported

2,589 free SIM cards provided

Of the groups that Sported works with, two-thirds (66%) do not consider themselves well connected when it comes to digital capabilities. As a result, 88% believe digital skills support would be valuable.

That’s why a big part of sports.connected focuses on providing the connectivity and skills these groups need to participate fully in today’s increasingly digital society.

Abraham Moss Warriors – a local sports and activity club in Manchester – is another one of the community groups that has received free SIM cards through the programme, alongside access to Vodafone’s V-Hub and a visit from rugby star Jason Robinson.

V-Hub is a free online advice service that provides Sported groups with webinars, toolkits and training – all of which is geared towards supporting fundraising and engagement efforts.

“The Vodafone and Sported initiative is really important for clubs like ours. The connectivity and digital skills that we have been given as part of this are already making a significant difference to the club and our members.”

June Kelly, Founder, Abraham Moss Warriors

£25,000 in grant funding awarded

Some of what sports.connected has achieved is thanks to the programme’s grant-giving scheme, which has seen 50 grants of £500 awarded to Sported members up and down the UK.

Grant recipients are clubs that work with one or more underrepresented groups, whether that’s young people: in lower socio-economic backgrounds; with disabilities; from racially diverse communities; or those not in education or employment.

Donegal Celtic Ladies FC, in Belfast, used its grant to hire a venue for their football camp in collaboration with UEFA Disney Playmakers. The camp encouraged 4–6-year-old girls to try football out for the first time, with the aim of eventually building a girl’s academy.

All 50 grant recipients have said it has had made a positive difference, with 83% reporting that it had enabled them to engage with new young people as a result.

“The grant had a huge impact and allowed us to launch our new Girl’s Academy…Some of our existing senior ladies team members were [even] able to achieve their Level 1 coaching and safeguarding, so that they could help develop the next generation of girls.”

Lauren Moore, Founder, Donegal Celtic Ladies FC

Play on: What comes next?

Beyond the clubs themselves, this first year of partnership has also produced volunteering opportunities for Vodafone staff. A total of 16 employees have registered their interest in supporting community groups with digital expertise and capabilities.

All of which marks a successful first year, with only more to come across the next twelve months.

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* Based on Sported’s insights of 50 young people per group.