It’s not about the bike, it’s not even about me this week. And it’s definitely not about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and his biography of the same name.
It’s about the Saints Foundation and the excellent work that they do in the local community and afar through their association with Southampton FC.
- Health and wellbeing
- Employability and learning
- Schools and the community
- Football and sports development
It’s about looking after the mascots on match days and creating a day to remember. A memory that will stay with them for life. It’s about hosting your kids birthday parties.
It’s aboutPaul Hedges and Marion Gealer, the project officers leading the Saints Fans In Training (SFIT) course I’ve had the great fortune to participate in. They motivate and educate and they’ve played a huge part in laying the foundations of change in my personal journey as well my colleagues on the course. They’ve introduced me to a brilliant bunch of blokes, all focused and doing well on their individual journeys.
It’s about getting the likes of Nathan Redmond, Manolo Gabbiadini and Florin Gardos joining Big Issue vendors to sell a special Saints edition of the magazine, as part of the launch of a unique partnership between the two organisations. Getting extremely highly paid footballers onto the streets and seeing, helping and inspiring those in our community in dire need.
But all those things above happen because of the true heroes of my club. Football players come and go and some we’ll look back with the odd favourable memory of a great goal or remember a howler but these are only moments in time. People such as Lisa Latona, a Saints4Sport Project Officer, do more than create the odd great memory, they lay the foundations of change for life by helping people in the community learn the skills they need to do well. They help them through sport, they help them achieve accreditations and they help them find jobs. They give a helping hand to those that have suffered hardship through injury, disability or bad luck in life. Everyone deserves a chance in life and my club, through Lisa achieves that. The video below describes it far better than the words I can write.
They do all this great work in the community, in the name of Southampton FC but they’re a charity which is why, now that the Foundation has played a major part in changing my life I’m paying it back by partaking in the Big Bike Ride, a cycle ride from the Etihad, home of Manchester City, to St Mary’s for the last home game of the season.
This is where I need your help. I’m desperate to prove to myself that I can do the whole ride. If I raise £350 I can cycle from Swindon; raise £500 I can cycle from Tamworth and raise £750 and I do the whole ride. All I ask is that you click on the JustGiving link below and donate what you can.
So the bike? It’s a small part of it but this article isn’t about it.
It’s about connecting to young people and people with disabilities enabling them to access sport. It’s about inspiring and developing the leadership and well being and empowerment. It’s giving hope to people who otherwise have no aspirations in life to achieve and gaining a purpose.
It’s about Lisa, Jordan, Marion, Paul. It’s about Our Community. Our Club. Our Foundation.
You’d love to see a fat bloke ride 200 miles wouldn’t you? You with me?
A warm and heartfelt appreciation to the following people for their kind sponsorship!
|Adrian Litchfield||Glen Jones||Michele Govier||Tim Young|
|Alex Anderson||Graham Jenkins||Michelle Webster||Tina Havis|
|Andy Good||Guy Rowles||MMaton||Trish Henners|
|Andy of Andrew||Hannah Ayala||P Paige||Vicki Codling|
|Andy Philpin||Innocent Anigbo||Paul Smith||Ian Frampton|
|Beccy L||James Mansfield||Paul Wilson||Sue Smith|
|Carrie Tustin||Jim Bee||Pete Bennet||Emma Lilly|
|Chris Pendreigh||Jo Hartley||Richard Loader||Steve Green|
|Claire Moo||Joe Smith||Robbie Saint||Nick Davey|
|Clive Mills||Jon Smith||Royston Smith||Anna Vanner|
|Colin Moffat||Karen Bailey||Sarah Streets||Daryn Hyland|
|Collette Willis||Kerry Whitfield||Sharon Lowndes||John Coughlan|
|Craig Hummer||Laura Robbins||Simon Arnold||Olivia O’Neil|
|Craig Petrie||Lauren Rogers||Simon Burt||Steve Croxford|
|Darren Cullimore||Leigh Morgan||Stephen Croft||Simon Best|
|David Spencer||Lisa Cusack||Steve Miell||Ash Bishop|
|Dodie W||Lisa Smith||The Spacers||Ian Officer|
|Donna Wilkins||Mark Piper||Tim Dibben||David Smith|
|Fiona Fairley||Matt Goss||Tim Ingle||Trevor Cook|
|Geoff Butler||Matt Shotter||Tim Oliver||Daniel White|