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Laureus Supporters Lennox Lewis And Alan Hansen Pay Tribute To Inner City Street League Project

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For Immediate Publication
 
LAUREUS SUPPORTERS LENNOX LEWIS AND ALAN HANSEN PAY TRIBUTE TO INNER CITY STREET LEAGUE PROJECT
 
·        ‘Sport enabled me to turn my life around and I hope the kids see what can be achieved’ – says former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis
·        ‘This Laureus project is a perfect example of how you can give hope and opportunities to young people’ – says football legend Alan Hansen
·        Street League Academy helps disadvantaged young people across the UK to get work or return to full time education
·        Pictures of visit available at www.laureusarchive.com
 
LONDON, May 16, 2012Former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis and ex-Liverpool and Scotland footballer Alan Hansen praised the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation on a visit to the Street League community sports project in central London today.
 
The two sporting giants met young people from Street League’s north east London Academy, near King’s Cross, which uses football to help those from challenging backgrounds who are not in education, training or employment.
 
Participants come from a range of backgrounds including homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, displacement, unemployment, crime, learning difficulties and mental health. The eight-week Street League Academy programme delivers employability and life skills, with three out of every four graduates going on to get a job or return to education and training.
Lennox Lewis, who won 41 of his 44 fights, said: “I’ve seen a lot of kids who have had a difficult upbringing. Through my support for Laureus, I’ve witnessed what a huge impact sport can have on communities around the world. I was very impressed by the young people I met at the Academy and it just goes to show that when they are given guidance and support, they can turn their lives around and become positive role models for society. I am testament to that, as sport enabled me to turn my life around and I hope the kids see what can be achieved with dedication to their chosen path."
And Alan Hansen, who played 434 times for English Premier League club Liverpool and is now a respected football analyst, added: “I’ve been involved with football all my life and the Street League project is a perfect example of how you can give hope and opportunities to young people. It was great to see the project in action.”
 
Lennox Lewis and Alan Hansen are both enthusiastic supporters of Laureus and recently attended the Laureus World Sports Awards which were held in London in February.
 
Targeting the most disadvantaged, Street League’s north east London Academy works with 360 young people each year aged 16 or over. It focuses particularly on offering key qualifications and building skills to create better employment opportunities.  Most are put in contact with Street League through referral agents such as job centres, young offending teams, probation teams, drug and alcohol rehabilitation teams, hostels and advice centres.
 
Street League CEO Matt Stevenson-Dodd said: “Street League delivers a unique football and education programme to change the lives of some of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK. Three out of four graduates from our Academy programme get a job or return to education, and it is our supporters, like the Laureus Foundation, who make all of this possible.”
 
The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to utilise the power of sport to address social problems through a global programme of sports related community development initiatives. Laureus currently supports more than 100 projects worldwide. Since its inception Laureus has raised over €55 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of one-and-a-half million young people. A recently commissioned report by Laureus found that, on average, for every £1 invested in sports projects, £5 was saved on costs such as policing and victim compensation.
 
Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good.  Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport to promote social change.
 
The vision of Street League is to transform the lives of disadvantaged men and women in the United Kingdom by using the power of football.  Street League operates in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle and works with 2,300 people annually in partnership with around 70 organisations.  It plans to be in 12 UK cities by the end of 2014. 
 
The Street League mission is to engage individuals who are at risk of social exclusion in a structured ‘sport for development' programme that builds on opportunities for participants to improve physical fitness, develop a better quality of life, acquire life skills and qualifications, and make positive choices to give themselves a better chance of employment and independent living.
 
The project also provides weekly football sessions to engage new participants and pass them through into the Street League Academy. The programme there uses the theme of sport to help individuals progress towards employment, education, training and independence through personal development courses such as CV writing and interview skills. There is also the opportunity to gain qualifications in FA Level 1 and 2 Coaching, and the Community Sports Leadership Award. 
 
The project offers a clear training plan for participants and effectively integrates education and skills-learning into its sporting activities.  Street League has a number of innovative partnerships with key referral agencies, training schemes and research organisations as well as a relationship with the streetfootballworld network, which has been described by world football governing body FIFA as ‘the strongest development through football organisation in the UK.'
 
Laureus is working with Street League to expand its reach across the United Kingdom. Over the next three years, Street League will launch in three new cities with seed funding from Laureus.
 
For further information, please contact:
Gerald Meier,
Head of Global Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 2749
Photo Archive: www.laureusarchive.com
Video Archive: www.laureusdigital.com
Websites: www.laureus.com
 
NOTES TO EDITORS
 
The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela.  At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.
 
Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good.  Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change
 
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.
 
The Laureus Academy members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €55 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people. The mission of the Laureus Foundation is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, landmines awareness and health problems like obesity. The Academy is supported in its work by the members of the Laureus Ambassadors programme, a select group of current and retired sportsmen and sportswomen who have achieved sporting greatness, plus non-sporting personalities who have made significant contributions to the sporting community during their careers. 
 
The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year.  The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today.  The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 120 countries and territories.  
 
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports over 100 community sports projects around the world.  The 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards were held in London on February 6.
 
Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone.
 
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest automaker, can look back on a unique tradition. It is the most valuable automotive premium brand which stands for quality, safety, comfort, design and sustainable mobility. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the field of safety. Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car. The Mercedes-Benz engineers will in the future consistently reinvent the automobile – with the same enthusiasm and innovation as Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz in 1886. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has been actively supporting professional and amateur sport for decades and has become established as a dependable partner in the fields of motor sport, football, golf, horse riding and tennis.  Mercedes-Benz is a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since the beginning of the Foundation's operations in 2000, Mercedes-Benz has shared and supported the goals and values of this worldwide charity programme where sports play the core role in the fight against social issues - Laureus has become a vital element of the corporate social responsibility programme of Mercedes-Benz.
 
IWC Schaffhausen
With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing watches of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of Haute Horlogerie at its finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design.
 
Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 391 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as at 30 September 2011. Vodafone currently has equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and more than 40 partner networks worldwide.  For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com