Right To Play/United Kingdom/news and media
Monday, April 21, 2014

As Chelsea FC gears up to play in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg tonight, our National Director, Meryl Davies, reflects on why for children around the world, sport forms a vital lifeline every day.

For Chelsea fans, today is a day they’ve been eagerly hoping for the whole football season. But as Oscar, Luiz, Cech and the rest of the team step out onto the pitch, how many of those fans will know why they have Right To Play written on the back of their shirts?

While a lot of sports are played and watched purely for enjoyment, for millions of children around the world games can teach them serious lessons, enabling them to become change makers in their own communities. 

Children find little space or time to play in times of conflict, upheaval or fear.  But play, including sport, is a powerful tool for building peaceful communities and helping children develop the essential life skills needed for brighter futures. Play is positive and creates the opportunity for real difference. And it is already making a huge difference in some of the most frightening places in the world, thanks to Right To Play Coaches.

Right To Play’s work is unique and ensures that children and communities are able to put into practice the skills and attitudes they learn during the games. Games that are familiar to us all, like tag or football which we probably all played in PE have been adapted around the principle of ‘reflect, connect and apply’ – children reflect on the experience of the game, connect this to their wider experience, and finally think about how they can apply what they have learnt in similar situations or to benefit others.

As Chelsea takes on Atletico Madrid, the players will be wearing the words Right To Play on their shirts to remember that to play is a right, not a luxury. They will be showing their support for one million children around the world who are playing Right To Play games every week and who hold in their hands the chance to make a real and lasting change.

Chelsea player Oscar said ‘All of us at Chelsea Football Club believe sport and play have the power to change a child’s life.’

Chelsea FC has been an official partner of Right To Play since 2007. To find out more about this partnership please visit our partnerships page.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Former Cambridge Blue Rower, Olympic Rower and Right To Play UK Chairman, John Pritchard is to row the length of The Mississippi River to raise $1,000,000 for Right To Play.

Five years ago John, his wife Julie and their 10-year-old son Charlie visited Ghana with Right To Play. They arrived at Three Kings School in Battor, a school for children with learning and physical disabilities which is integrating Right To Play’s sport and play-based learning into its teaching methods.

“It was a truly humbling experience” says John. “There is nowhere else for these kids. In a society where there are a lot of plantains to pick, if you can’t pick plantains then plan B is not attractive. This school is the one hope for them.”

John and his family were in the school, playing with the kids and John noticed Richmond. “I now know he was 10, the same age as my son, but Richmond was half Charlie’s size,” says John. “Richmond has down’s syndrome and he was too small to play with the big kids, but he was clearly something of a character. He was bouncing around like a little jumping bean.” John was amazed by Richmond’s friendliness and confidence, and over the course of that short visit, developed a close personal connection with him. Richmond had overcome many aspects of his disability through the play-based learning delivered by Right To Play at the school.

“It was at that point I decided to do this thing. So the boat is going to be called Richmond. It was unquestionably a trigger point,” says John. “Whereas before it had always been my right to support, from then it became my duty.”

John will row up to 30 miles per day to complete the 2320-mile distance in approximately 80 days. He will be joined on his formidable challenge by individuals who sign up to row a stage or more alongside John in the traditional skiff boats. These individuals will make a donation to contribute to the $1M fundraising target John has set for the challenge.

John is now focusing on a strenuous training regime, as well as recruiting more fellow rowers to help reach the fundraising target. The challenge will begin on 2nd August and is due to finish in New Orleans on 25th October.

Find out more about John’s Mississippi Million Challenge. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dan and Right To Play are encouraging everyone in London to come together and take part in a Friday evening 5k run in Battersea Park, London on 16th May.

Fun runners aiming for a sprint finish should look no further for inspiration than Right To Play Athlete Ambassador Dan, whose personal best time over 20m is faster than 100m world record holder Usain Bolt's! Dan will be in Battersea Park to cheer on Right To Play’s fundraisers and take part in the run himself too.
He commented: “Running is a big part of my rugby game so I do a lot of practice in training, but I’ve never had hundreds of people running along together with me before, so this will be a first!”

He continued: “After a hard week’s work it’s tempting to spend Friday evening relaxing with a few drinks, but on the 16th May I’m encouraging everyone in London to change their plans for one day and head down to Battersea to run the Right To Play 5K with me. It’s sure to be a really fun evening and we’ll be raising money for a great charity that I care very much about.”

This year’s Right To Play 5k – the third annual edition – will also feature a variety of football-themed activities with the support of global partner Chelsea FC, including coaching sessions with the Chelsea FC Foundation.

Last year's 5k raised £60,000 and hopefully this year will raise even more to help fund Right To Play's sport and play programmes around the world.

Standard entry costs £30, and children under 15 can enter for just £15.

Find out more about the Right To Play 5k and register today.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Right To Play supporter Barry Karacostas successfully completed his Arctic challenge for the second year running, raising over £6,000 for Right To Play.

Barry and his husky travelled 300km in just seven days through forests and across frozen lakes to the northern most part of Europe - Cape North - using cross-country skis.  

He said: 'It was an epic trip for me and I'm so happy we raised so much to help thousands of children through Right To Play projects worldwide. When the going got tough all I had to think of was the struggles these children go through every day. Thank you for all of your support.'


Find out more about Barry’s challenge and sponsor him.


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Playing – it is what children do.  And as we all know, children who have fled conflict, suffer from a disability, or grow up in impoverished communities, don’t always get the chance to play. At Right To Play we work to ensure that play is not viewed as a luxury but as an essential human right. Our relevant and structured games empower children with useful life and we put children and play at the centre of development.

Alongside the United Nations we have worked for play to be recognized as a development goal in its own right.  Right To Play’s core philosophy of Sport for Development and Peace is a key part of improving quality in education.

Now all of this work will be marked with an internationally recognized day - the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace - and a global initiative celebrated annually on 6th April.  The Sport for Development and Peace movement has evolved from our belief that play has the power to transform the world and is an effective tool in humanitarian, development and peace building efforts.  And it works.

Sport for Development and Peace programmes have contributed to addressing critical issues in global development agendas. Children in Thailand, after six months of participation in Right To Play’s programmes, were more motivated and more likely to participate in school. 92% of children in Uganda in Right To Play’s programmes knew ways of preventing HIV transmission compared to 50% among children not in the programmes. Finally, there was a considerable reduction in the incidence of violence among children in Liberia, as they learnt, through Right To Play’s games, to manage conflict through dialogue, reasoning and avoidance.

Right To Play is a global movement that is recognizing that play is key to learning, to health and to changing entrenched and destructive views.

Please be part of this movement and join us in celebrating this important milestone in celebrating the future.

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