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Foundation 92 & HYPE Merseyside Supporting Youth in North West England

Beyond Sport X Under Armour Participant Spotlight

July 14, 2023 

In celebration of our new #SportForSocialChange retail donation campaign in partnership with Under Armour which kicked off in stores in the UK last month and will ultimately expand across Europe, this month we’re highlighting the eight participating UK charities that are using sport to inspire and teach valuable life lessons to youth. Today, meet Foundation 92, which is improving lives through sport and education with an emphasis on positive wellbeing in Manchester, and HYPE Merseyside, which is creating opportunities for disadvantaged youth and strengthening local communities in Liverpool. 

There are many challenges facing young people in North West England, particularly around employment and gang violence. In Manchester, 20% of youth aged 17 to 25 are struggling to find meaningful employment and 38% of young people in the region are disadvantaged by their financial status and involvement or risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. 

Liverpool has long been one of the regions in the UK worst hit by unemployment with over 1,600 long-term unemployed 18-24-year-olds. Firearm offences last year were up 51% in the region and crime experts explain that a growing power vacuum amongst organised crime networks is spilling into violence as youth fight over status and become more involved with gangs. 

Foundation 92 

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Based in the heart of Salford - a borough in Greater Manchester, England - Foundation 92 supports people across the city to improve their lives through sport and education, with an emphasis on positive physical and mental wellbeing. As the official charity partner of Salford City FC, it works with kids as young as three years old to 101-year-old seniors, providing a safe space whilst helping the most vulnerable – homeless people, at-risk youth, people with disabilities and more.

“The main challenge of young people residing in some of Greater Manchester’s most disadvantaged communities is a lack of aspiration. A high percentage of young people who access our services often feel that they are unable to achieve their full potential. Through the power of mentoring, sport and physical activity and empowerment we can motivate and support young people to dream big and exceed their expectations,” said Head of the Foundation, Tom Hutton

Hutton also shared that other prevalent barriers for young people in the area relate to mental wellbeing and connectivity. The charity therefore uses programmes focused on health and wellbeing, education and employability skills, community inclusion and youth outreach and empowerment to help communities thrive.

The Foundation recognises sport's power to engage youth, bring communities together, increase confidence and raise awareness of the challenges, disadvantages and inequalities faced by many Manchester residents. Programming is therefore underpinned by physical activity. “Without the hook of sport, many young people simply would not engage as there would be no motivation for them to do so,” explained Hutton. 

Through football, dodgeball, netball, athletics, cricket, lacrosse and many more sports, the Foundation attracts youth and the wider community. Additionally, its half-term and summer football and activity programmes allow seven to 16-year-olds to take part in enjoyable, relaxed sessions focused on team bulding, technical and communication skills, whilst also making new friends. With tailored programming in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), disability awareness, education and employment, social inclusion and environmental awareness, it supports the aspirations and ambitions of each individual.

One such individual came to Foundation 92 after passing through many services that were supposed to support him, but didn't really do so. Over the past two years, the 19-year-old, who has complex needs that limit his mobility and ability to lead an independent lifestyle, has been able to flourish with help from the Foundation. Through sports-based mentoring and having a safe space to interact, his confidence grew, ultimately allowing him to mentor others living with similar needs and better manage his personal wellbeing. 

With funds raised from the Beyond Sport X Under Armour campaign and seed funding provided by the retailer, Foundation 92 will expand on its community support with new and innovative engagement opportunities for more youth to thrive. It will empower those who are marginalised and excluded from society by helping them to develop their life skills and by providing access to spaces for them to take part in sports and youth work. “We believe the community should be at the centre of everything we do we strive to provide a sustainable, successful and reliable service for those most in need,” said Hutton. 

HYPE Merseyside 

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Based in Merseyside, in the centre of Liverpool, HYPE - ‘Helping Young People Everywhere’ - Merseyside is transforming the landscape of opportunity for young people. HYPE was founded in 2007 with an initial concept of delivering workshops for teens in deprived areas during school holidays when anti-social behaviour is at its highest. Over the years, this grew to providing holiday workshops and sports activities in community centres, empty shops and in schools. All of its projects and workshops are designed to promote a healthy and cohesive community that is built on kindness and respect. 

Since its inception, HYPE has been working with disadvantaged children and young people in the region, empowering them, introducing them to new opportunities and mindsets, and helping support their development to reach their full potential. It uses experience, networking and programming that supports learning regardless of social background. The charity intends to be a catalyst for social change by inspiring and nurturing the next generation and engaging them to be an instrumental part of looking after their local communities. 

HYPE supports youth aged 7 to 24 who are living in highly deprived neighbourhoods where opportunities are limited, tailoring its activities to the variety of barriers they face. According to the organisation, top challenges for youth in Merseyside include the risk of exploitation by OCGs (Organised Crime Gangs) through drug dealing and robberies, as well as drug and alcohol abuse and gang violence. Primarily using football and basketball, sports coaching and leadership development, the charity provides chances for young people to grow personally and develop as role models to influence the next generation. 

“I’ve seen sports have a huge impact on the young people we have worked with. Not only does it increase their health and wellbeing but being around positive role models can really improve their mindset and create more pathways for positive engagement/interaction. When I was young, football really took me away from my group of friends at the right time, many of my friends got seriously involved with drugs and crime and ended up in jail,” said Chief Executive and Founder Matthew Houghton

HYPE focuses on nurturing development by providing young people with skills that will set them up for the future. One of its employment and development programmes is a successful bike enterprise which will grow to four bike workshops across Merseyside this year. Through the project, 14 to 24-year-olds gain bike mechanic skills and learning on the importance of recycling. The enterprise will become the largest recycle bike project in the north west of England, providing affordable bikes to those who need them the most. 

“I’m always grateful for the opportunities HYPE gave me because they put me on the road to where I am now... [HYPE’s activities] are fun but they are also a much bigger opportunity than you think, you’ll meet like-minded people and learn skills that could change your life completely, like I did,” said Thea who joined HYPE when she was 14 and has since developed an interest in coaching. Now 29, she owns her own gym and is a nutritionist and personal trainer. 

HYPE wants to increase the number of young people it reaches year on year, by working within more schools, community centres, parks and green spaces, locally and internationally. The funds raised from the Beyond Sport X Under Armour partnership will help it to hold more community events in parks that will reach hundreds of children and support youth aged 14 years and above to become coaches and coordinators. During the events, the coaches will gain experience and learn how to be role models. 

Learn more about the incredible organisations we're working to support in the UK HERE. If you live in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Liverpool and York in England or Edinburgh in Scotland, please consider visiting your local Under Armour store to support #SportforSocialChange! 


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