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3 Dec 2020 | 15:15

Greenhouse Sports has launched a range of new programmes designed to help more young people living in poverty reach their full potential at school and into employment.

The new strategy, ‘Greenhouse Sports 2.0’, seeks to respond to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and will also see the London-based charity start working with children at an earlier age in order to have a bigger impact. A new affordable offer for primary schools has been developed.

The pandemic has exacerbated the challenge for children in poverty, with many experiencing more mental health issues and lower engagement in schoolwork. There are four million children living in poverty in the UK and, even before the pandemic, they were 37% more likely to leave school without any GCSEs than their peers.

Greenhouse Sports works in schools where at least 67% of pupils live in areas of high deprivation. The charity partners with schools to embed full-time coaches who become trusted mentors and inspire children to aim higher.

Sport is used to help combat a lack of opportunity for less fortunate children and it has been proven that Greenhouse’s model enhances educational attainment, keeps young people engaged with school, and improves mental health, reducing depression and anxiety and increasing self-esteem.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Béatrice Butsana-Sita, said: “Greenhouse Sports 2.0 has the same core values as our previous offering, but with the aim of reaching more children and reaching them at a younger age.

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“It is a sad reality that poor and working-poor children are less likely to leave school with any qualifications, meaning they will find it harder to get a job. At Greenhouse Sports we want to stop that pattern and enable children in poverty to reach their full potential.

“Our coaches are full-time figures in these children’s lives before school, at school, and after school, and really do become mentors. Our new offering will mean we can help more children living in poverty and more children can benefit from the magic that is Greenhouse Sports.”

She added: “Our results are proven; on average Greenhouse Sports children outperform their peers by up to a third of a grade in English and 40% of a grade in Maths. We have helped more than 42,000 children since we began and it’s incredible to see these kids develop confidence and trust in themselves and their peers. The skills, bonds and resilience they learn through sport carry forward into the classroom.

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“We’re now rolling that out to more kids and having an impact on more kids’ lives, giving them a better chance of success and achieving their goals.”

To mark the launch of the new strategy, Greenhouse Sports held two events. The first featured Lord Sebastian Coe and England netball star Ama Agbeze, and the second was a virtual roundtable and Q&A which was chaired by Béatrice and featured former M People singer Heather Small and lawyer David Nieta.