Respect project offers a positive pathway to skills, learning and optimism for disadvantaged young people
Medical imaging experts, Canon Medical Systems UK has announced its ‘Respect’ project in association with professional basketball team Sheffield Sharks. The unique programme will focus on improving the opportunities for young people to break away from a cycle of disadvantage, giving hope and confidence, plus practical skills to better opportunities in life.
Secondary school exclusion rates in the Sheffield area including Rotherham and Barnsley are some of the highest in the UK1. Each year thousands of children are asked to leave mainstream schools due to behavioural issues that impact on teachers and the learning of other pupils. It is a last resort for schools, but a growing problem.
Working with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Sharks provides an outreach programme with schools that includes a full time teacher and classroom at their training ground. This facility takes 50-60 children each week between the ages of 9-11 years to provide a focused environment to break the negative cycle of behaviour before they reach secondary school age. Its success includes 100% pass rate in pupils achieving City & Guild qualifications and new found philosophies about teamwork and community by playing basketball and cheerleading.
“The children we receive, many from black and minority ethnic groups, have little exposure to purpose or community in their families or in the areas that they live,” states Sarah Backovic, Managing Director at Sheffield Sharks. “Through the culture of basketball and the team spirit it encourages, we can give people boosted purpose to positively overhaul their direction and have beliefs that they can achieve. In our Respect project we teach them that education and academic qualifications are vital; that health & wellbeing in the areas of food nutrition and online safety are key; and that sport can lift spirits and channel energy in a positive direction. Our philosophy has many synergies with the ethics and ethos at Canon Medical Systems and we are hugely excited about their support to power this project further.”
“The community projects that Sheffield Sharks run attracted our interest as they fuse many of our interest areas in the fields of sports, health and working together for common good,” states Ian Watson, Commercial Solutions Director at Canon Medical Systems UK. “Respect is important in all areas of our lives – it helps us aspire, it makes us friends and is a basic life skill. If we can play a part in changing the lives of young people and breaking the cycles that they are sometimes born into, we can feel satisfied that our initiatives and innovations inside and out of the hospital environment, will make a huge contribution to society.”
In addition to exclusion education, the Canon Medical Systems’ Respect project in association with Sheffield Sharks will provide workshops to schools to educate on respect issues such as cyber-bullying, bullying, health and fitness. The community links also promote getting involved in team sports, such as basketball to channel energies in a constructive way.
Work on a community basketball arena for DBL Sheffield Sharks is due to start this year at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
Photo caption: Mark Hitchman, Managing Director, Canon Medical Systems UK (centre) with other members of the Canon Medical management team and Sheffield Sharks management and players.