May 13, 2022
Last night, during the biggest event on the UK sport industry calendar - the Sport Industry Awards - Beyond Sport was proud to launch our 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 was therefore 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 shared.
"When we come together as an industry, we can affect great change upon the world, but we must be unified in our action. When we use sport with intention, we can offer hope, transform lives and rebuild communities from the roots up. Gathered here tonight, surrounded by friends and colleagues, I know that together we have the power to make a difference.”
Although the immediate focus of the Fund is to support the needs of Ukrainian refugees, the long-term aim of the fund is to bring the sport industry together to help communities around the world and to better inform the industry about the positive role it can play in times of crisis.
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 our initial Fund supporters, including: Sport Industry Group, OPUS, Octagon UK, Cake, InCrowd Sports, Tour of Britain, The Women's Tour, thinkBeyond, Verve and Nimble Productions.
"We’re excited to take a collective approach in supporting global efforts in times of humanitarian crisis, providing a range of funding and needs-based capacity building support to sports-based development organisations," stated Beyond Sport Executive Director, Fred Turner. "By collaborating as a sector and being intentional with the support we can offer, placing sport at the heart of community recovery - both now and in the future - becomes that much more effective."
We are also excited to share that the Fund is also a beneficiary of an online charity auction currently being run by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and luxury book company OPUS. On April 20, 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 click here to register to bid.
For more information on how to become a partner of the Fund, please contact Fred Turner, Executive Director of Beyond Sport at [email protected]