Bristol Sport Foundation celebrates success of virtual campaigns

Bristol Sport Foundation (BSF) is celebrating the success of several of its virtual campaigns, raising money and supporting social mobility and learning across the Greater Bristol area.  

Break the Cycle is BSF and Bristol Bears Community Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser and sees cyclists from across the city get on their bikes to raise money to help fund projects and activities for the organisation. The event was held virtually this year, due to the pandemic, with hundreds of supporters pedalling their way to a whopping £31.5k fundraising total over the last few months.   

One of these was Guy Turner, an Associate Partner at EY in Bristol, who joined members of the BSF team for a 110-mile socially distanced bike ride in support of the campaign. 

He said: “BSF does a fantastic job supporting communities in Bristol and as a firm we’re incredibly proud of the work we do to support their activities, whether that’s volunteering, taking part in campaigns such as Break the Cycle, or supporting them in other ways. Sport is vital in helping to maintain and improve physical and mental health, yet during the pandemic many activities have had to be cancelled or postponed. BSF found a way to encourage its supporters to take part in a virtual cycle event, and when possible, as I’m a keen cyclist, I was more than happy to hop on my bike and ride alongside the BSF team.

“Break the Cycle is a fantastic initiative, raising much needed funds for worthy causes. I’m already looking forward to next year, when hopefully more people will be able to come together and take part in this and other BSF activities.” 

Improving literacy skills through Reading Recovery

EY are also a supporter of BSF’s Nascence Project, a business and community engagement programme that works to deliver important social impact activities across the Greater Bristol area. 

One such activity is the Reading Recovery programme, which has taken place over the last three school terms and involved volunteers from EY’s Bristol office. 

The programme helps primary school children aged between 7 and 11 improve their literacy skills and offers one to one practice reading session with a volunteer adult or ‘Buddy’ using the power of technology to enable virtual volunteering. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the reading and literacy levels of young people throughout the country so by joining schools with corporate volunteers, Reading Recovery aims to get these young people back on a level footing with their peers. So far, eight volunteers from EY have pledged their time to help boost the children’s reading skills.

Pip Eyles, Executive Assistant at EY volunteered to take part. She said: “BSF do amazing work in the local community and we are proud to join them, volunteering and raising much-needed funds. Literacy and maths are fundamental skills that all children need, regardless of their background, and the Reading Recovery programme provides crucial opportunities to support those that need it most, so they can aspire to and achieve great things.” 

Clair Thomson, a teacher at St. Werburghs Primary School, said: “Since the programme began, staff have noticed that the children are more engaged with reading in the classroom. The sessions have impacted their learning in many ways. They have really enjoyed the books and have found them hard to put down. As the theme of the text corresponded with their learning, it had real meaning for them. They are more confident to read with an adult now and the children who have taken part have a renewed love for reading. They were really excited to receive the books at the end of the term and some couldn’t believe that they were able to take them home.

“There has been an increase in confidence to ask questions about any text or vocabulary they may not understand. It has also improved their use of vocabulary in class during writing. Some of our children have found the interactions with the adults highly supportive and this has enabled some of them to  overcome some social anxiety around meeting new people.

“Having a consistent , smiling, friendly face has improved their social skills by being able to talk and have a reciprocal conversation with their volunteer every week. The volunteers have been brilliant. They have all been so open and encouraging with their support of our children. They have been generous with their time and energy in this project. A huge thank you to them.”

Over the years, volunteers from EY have been involved in several activities in support of the BSF, including its Celebration of Sport – running coaching and sports activities, including wheelchair rugby, football, gymnastics and basketball – and taking part in a corporate netball tournament involving businesses from across the city. Additionally, EY has supported the Christmas presence campaign, giving out Christmas cards and spending time with older members of the Bristol community, singing carols, playing games, and eating mince pies. And aligning with EY’s ambitions to increase social mobility, volunteers have acted as mentors in support of BSF staff. 

Paul Glanville, Corporate Partnerships Manager at BSF, said: “The relationship between EY and BSF, facilitated by the Nascence project, has gone from strength to strength in recent years, we are learning together about how best to deliver highly relevant corporate social responsibility initiatives. We are proud of our work and the positive social impact we are making together.”

To learn more about the Nascence project or to find out how to get involved, please contact Paul Glanville.

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