Millfield pilots sports programme to drive social change

Millfield pilots sports programme to drive social change

Millfield athletes are being educated on how to use sport as a force for good in a new pilot.  

Thirty-one sport captains, who are selected annually to lead their chosen sport, are working with the True Athlete Project to bring people together through sport and recognise its potential to change lives. 

The charity aims to change the culture of sport and develop "true" athletes, who understand sport is an act of mind, body and soul with repercussions far beyond the winning and losing. They blend mindfulness, mental skills training and mentoring, to make sport fun and meaningful. The True Athlete project has previously worked with Sport England, England Cricket and British Fencing. 

The pilot programme encourages students to use their passion and platform to create social change through sport.  

At Millfield, students will be encouraged to use their influence and amplify their voice within the school community.  

The sport captains will be guided through a series of tailored, personal workshops to lead them to explore the power of sport and empower them to become agents for social change. The workshops will be delivered by former British Sailing athlete, Kirstie Unwin and Alpine Skiing Paralympian, Talan Skeels-Piggins. 

Kirstie said, “Sport has the potential to create joyful and transformative experiences, unfortunately over the years sport has been professionalised and we have developed a win-at-all-cost mentality. We want to encourage the students to reimagine what sport can be like when it’s not all about winning and losing, it's more about what can you learn and the transformative experience that you can have.” 

Talan said, “As we have seen through people like Marcus Rashford, athletes have a voice and can be advocates for social change. The captain’s programme is about talking to the “influencers” within schools and empowering them to promote social action inside the school community.” 

The sport captains will plan and present a community impact initiative either for the local area or within the school community. Upper Sixth student, Solomon Arbib, who is the sports captain for football, said, “I have found the programme valuable to me as it aids in the development of my leadership skills. By enhancing my ability to lead, I can positively influence and inspire others within my team. In the long term, the programme's enduring values extend beyond sports, influencing various aspects of my life, fostering personal growth and contributing to success in diverse areas beyond football.”  

The captains will be working with Kirstie and Talan regularly and will showcase their impact initiatives at the Millfield Sports Personality Awards at the end of the academic year.  

Kirstie added, “We are excited to be part of the project with Millfield and to have an opportunity to explore what this programme could look like for young people who are influential in their society. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.” 

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