How we’re supporting youth in the community with Celebration of Sport

The Bristol Bears Community Foundation is a terrific organisation that uses sports to promote a range of charitable endeavours in the Bristol area. At Aspire, we’re incredibly proud to have supported the Bristol Bears’ various programmes and events over the past few years.

Previously, you might have read about our efforts at the annual Break the Cycle event or our ongoing involvement with the Bright Sparks programme for underprivileged youth.

Most recently, we lent our support to the foundation’s Celebration of Sport. The annual event takes place at Ashton Gate stadium and offers exciting opportunities to the children involved with Bright Sparks. Read on to learn what the day entailed and how our team got involved.

The Celebration of Sport is an annual event, this year involving over 100 Bright Sparks students

On 2 May 2023, this year’s Celebration of Sport took place with more than 700 children from 21 schools in the Bristol and greater Somerset region attending – including over 100 pupils from the Bright Sparks programme.

The day is an opportunity to showcase some excellent programmes that benefit the local community, while rewarding students for their continued dedication and efforts to the foundation’s goals throughout the year.

The 2023 theme for Bright Sparks students was “Inspiring the students to unlock their full potential by opening up a pathway of education and employment opportunities”.

The day allowed students the opportunity to engage in insightful, fun, and creative workshops with a range of potential employers, as well as some exciting sporting activities.

Workshops were designed to better prepare young people for their futures in the workplace

The workshops provided useful insights and skills to better prepare students for when they eventually venture out into the working world.

Bristol Bears senior academy player, Pete Carter – who works part time at Aspire – shared his personal experiences with the students. The pupils received insights into the importance of budgeting for life and managing finances, as well as how to manage training volume as a professional player.

Ken Hall, an associate partner at Aspire, delivered an engaging and practical budgeting challenge that really got students thinking about the future and their own financial awareness.

Simon Weaver, Bright Sparks programme manager, said of the Aspire workshops: “Many thanks for your brilliantly engaging delivery, your understanding that some of these students are finding education quite difficult, and your first-class content. The students took so much from your lesson”.

The Bright Sparks students gave overwhelmingly positive feedback after the event with:

  • 100% of students saying they enjoyed the workshop and agreed that it gave them a better understanding of the working world
  • 81% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop provided them with key skills they’d need in a future job.

Some of the students put their reactions into their own words, saying of the event:

  • “It really hit me how important budgeting is for people and for me to look after money”
  • “I learnt lots about money. I like the idea of helping others with their money too”.
  • “The talks helped me picture what I could do next. I am going into year 11 next year and this has given me something to push my studies further.”
  • “I can now see myself finishing school and doing an apprenticeship and it sounds really good.”

Following the workshops, students took part in an open day with education and training providers from the local area, allowing students to ask questions about roles, courses, entry grades, and what to expect.

Finally, they were treated to a sports session on the Ashton Gate pitch with Bristol Bears player Joe Joyce on hand to give advice and coaching tips.

Ryan Kent, a member of our support team at Aspire, said of the day: “Having grown up a stone’s throw from Ashton Gate and now pursuing my own career in financial planning, I can really appreciate the brilliant work that the Bright Sparks programme is doing with Bristol’s schools and communities”.

Our ongoing collaboration with the Bristol Bears Community Foundation has been a big success

Since it’s early inception, we have been avid supporters of the Bright Sparks programme.

Ian Larthe de Langladure, partner at Aspire, had plenty to share about the initiative’s positive effects, saying: “The young people that the Bright Sparks programme is looking to engage with are in the formative years of their school career, and already on the cusp of making poor choices and suffering the consequences of these decisions.

“Intervening at this point to help them gain confidence and achieve a qualification could be the making of them.

“The values of the programme – teamwork, communication, perseverance – sit well with our values. In years to come, they could be successful in business and that’s exciting. That’s why Aspire supports the Bright Sparks programme.”

Over the past three years, more than 250 students have completed the programme with:

  • 90% of students believing it helped improve their teamwork skills
  • 85% of students who finish the year emerging with a recognised Sport and Fitness award
  • 80% of students decreasing negative behaviour points by the end of the academic year.

At Aspire, we hope all the wonderful children involved with Bright Sparks took something positive away from the Celebration of Sport, and we look forward to continuing to support the programme in the future.

Visit our community page to learn more about our ongoing efforts and charitable endeavours.

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