Although SCORE strives to develop ‘centres of sport’ in communities in which it works, and has built scores of outdoor multipurpose courts, few communities are fortunate enough to have proper sports facilities. Our approach is that the availability of facilities should not be an obstacle to sports participation, and we work with what exists. SCORE works at grass roots level – and if there’s no grass, so be it!
The exception to this are two state of the art facilities we manage in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Working as the implementing partner for Hope Through Action (www.hopethroughaction.com), SCORE manages and operates two community sport centres, one in Mbekweni and the other in the Franschhoek Valley. Both centres are situated in poor communities where unemployment, crime and drug use is high, where teenage pregnancy results in girls not being able to reach their potential, and where sexual assault and rape are not uncommon. Young people growing up in these communities have few places to go where they can develop interests and talents, where they can find support and trust, and ask the difficult questions they grapple with during their teenage years. These unique facilities provide a safe alternative to the streets, and a true resource centre for the youth of these communities.
Both centres contain a FIFA standard astroturf futsal pitch, though this arena is used for various sports and activities, including handball, volleyball, tag rugby, hockey, traditional games, various fitness classes and even netball, especially when it’s raining outside. In addition to the arena, there are workshop rooms, meeting rooms, changing rooms, a kitchen, offices, extensive storage space and seating for about 400 people. Both are situated next to other facilities, including netball courts, cricket nets, and sports fields, and both are also located close to schools that use the facilities for their physical education and sports programming.
SCORE has a small team of staff and volunteers working in each centre, with trained SCORE sport leaders coaching and organising leagues and events. Partnerships with local police, health authorities, social workers, and other NGOs further extend our ability to train young people and respond to their needs.
These unique community centres provide a safe space for children and youth to play, to learn, to be involved in sport, games and cultural activities, and to find emotional and psychosocial support.
The first centre in Mbekweni was launched to coincide with the kick off of the FIFA Football World Cup hosted in South Africa in 2010. The second centre in the Franschhoek Valley was opened in January 2015. Both centres are also linked to early learning/educare centres (managed separately by other organisations).
Responding to the growing and changing needs of community youth and exploring the full potential of these community sports centres has led to programming in both centres continuing to grow, in an attempt to provide a wide variety of activities that see the young person developing holistically – as a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. With sport still at the core, activities now include dance, art and drama, tutoring in school subjects, a fellowship group, and the on-going project to develop a library and computer centre.
Meet Emmalene who shares her personal “wow-moment” working as an administrator at Franschhoek Valley Community Sport Centre.
See for yourself what a difference SCORE makes: