Inspiring sports’ next generation with positive role modelling

School children meet & greet with Manchester United first team players part of
Canon Medical’s collaboration with Sheffield Sharks Basketball Club RESPECT initiative

Despite the challenges of coronavirus in 2020, the collaboration between Canon Medical and B-Braun Sheffield Sharks professional basketball team continues to flourish. This partnership highlights the positive issues of community respect and educating about anti-social activity and cyber bullying prevention. Although interaction plans for the RESPECT community outreach initiatives in South Yorkshire, such as citizenship workshops and sports coaching, have altered this year due to the virus pandemic, keeping in touch with vulnerable school children and supporting teachers has continued.

Prior to the pandemic and social distancing measures, a group of year 6 primary school children were rewarded for their energy and determination following a win at an inter-schools basketball tournament arranged by the RESPECT campaign. The winners had a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ visit to Manchester United Football Club for a behind the scenes stadium tour, plus a meet and greet with first team players including Tim Fosu-Mensah, Nemanja Matic and Sergio Romero.

The visit to Manchester United Football Club was arranged by Canon Medical who is the Official Medical Systems Partner’ to the premier league team. The tour included a walk around the stadium and through the player’s tunnel; a visit to the dugout, dressing rooms, museum, press and trophy rooms; and was followed by lunch in the Directors suite.

Positive role modelling in sports and life is part of the philosophy of the RESPECT programme. Sheffield Sharks players and RESPECT leaders have real-life stories to tell of growing up in challenging circumstances and how choosing a path of sport enabled them to gain skills and stay trouble free. The RESPECT programme aims to inspire and engage children from all walks of life with sports, social and citizenship skills and often works in conjunction with local agencies such as South Yorkshire Police and Fire & Rescue Service.

“Understanding the positive principles of team sport and learning directly from role models is a vital part of helping young people believe in themselves and understand the value of community,” states Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK. “Taking the right path in life is not only important to individuals, but also to the areas they live in. A positive sense of community makes our city streets safer and helps to make the world we live in a safer, kinder place.”

“We can’t thank Canon Medical enough as our RESPECT sponsors for being instrumental in giving a once-in-a-lifetime experience to children from one of our outreach schools. It is a day the children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, will never forget and we hope it will give them the inspiration and determination to aim high and be whatever they want to be,” states Marko Backovic, Sheffield Sharks’ Head of Community.