Charity celebrates 25th anniversary at annual conference

The power of sport can make those on the outskirts of society no longer feel alone… this was one of the most resonant messages from yesterday’s Youth Sport Trust 25th Anniversary Conference and Awards Dinner.

The day focused in on the crucial role that social connectedness can play in improving the wellbeing of young people. Terence Mauri, whose key area of interest is the future of leadership, kicked off the keynotes with a thought-provoking talk about the crucial role that human skills will play in a world where AI and machines are becoming ever more dominant. This was immediately followed by Andy Grant, former Royal Marine Commando, who shared his inspirational life-story which so powerfully demonstrates the power of self-belief, sport and teamwork.

Two double-header lunch-time keynotes were devoted to a session from Mel Young, founder of the Homeless World Cup and Chairman of Sportscotland alongside Ed Kirwan, Founder of Empathy Week who talked about the power sport to create change by improving self-esteem and confidence. A session looking at how sport can help boys, in particular those already finding themselves societally disenfranchised, was led by Professor Rosie Meek and Headteacher Steve Howell.

Closing addresses were given by Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.

YST’s CEO, Ali Oliver, also launched the charity’s new ambition to create, hand in hand with a variety of partners, a movement of Well Schools. Very much in its consultation phase, delegates were encouraged via a survey to share their views on a range of questions such as the challenges that young people face in school. 

The awards were a hugely special part of the night celebrating both the theme of this year’s conference, ‘Getting to the Heart of a Well School’ and the 25th Anniversary of the charity.

Full list of awards and winners:

  • YST Outstanding School – 25th Anniversary Award – John Spence Community High School, Tyne & Wear
  • YST Outstanding School – 2020 Award – Midpoint Centre of Lawnswood Campus (Pupil Referral Unit), Wolverhampton
  • YST Outstanding Community Contribution – 25th Anniversary Award - Flixton Girls School, Manchester
  • YST Outstanding Community Contribution – 2020 Award - South Shore Academy, Blackpool
  • YST Outstanding Young Person – 25th Anniversary Award – Lauren Asquith
  • YST Outstanding Young Person – 2020 Award – Brandon Lowe.

The Awards Dinner, hosted by two YST Athlete Mentors, Kate Grey and Janette Kwakye, also featured interviews with Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Will Bayley, Paralympics table-tennis gold medallist, Steve Brown, Paralympian and TV presenter, and Eddie Jones, England Rugby Coach. The latter took part in a half hour question and answer sessions. As well as sharing some hugely interesting insight into his career and coaching techniques, Mr Jones also talked about his time as a PE teacher and the importance of sport to the development of all young people.

See our Wakelet for a round-up of what people were talking about across social media on the day.