Belonging, On and Off the Pitch

November 23, 2023

On Wednesday night, the revered Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground hosted a sold-out fundraising dinner for Behind Every Kick. 200 guests entered the hallowed inner sanctum of English cricket, where they were enthralled by guest speaker Owen Eastwood, who shared his experiences of collaborating with Gareth Southgate to transform the culture and fortunes of the England football team. Owen - only a few weeks removed from Europe's thrilling Ryder Cup victory over the USA - also discussed his work with Europe team captain Luke Donald in the year before the event, which paid off so handsomely on the fairways and greens in Rome. Owen's speech centred on how fostering an environment where people feel they belong, not only in sport but in all walks of life, cultivates success.

Owen's message speaks to the work Behind Every Kick does with young people. In our programme, we support them to develop the skills that will allow them to excel in whichever career they pursue - effective communication, thriving under pressure, adopting a growth mindset, building confidence, understanding motivation and teamwork. We then help them unlock the opportunities to showcase their talent and ultimately belong in their chosen field.

Three young people who have recently graduated from the Behind Every Kick programme, Amira, Emmanuel and John, joined us at Lord's and were in attendance for the premiere of a film they contributed to exploring Behind Every Kick's work, made by young filmmaker Noa Taylor. Following the film's screening, Emmanuel took to the stage to deliver a brilliantly received speech about his experience of Behind Every Kick. He recounted the lessons he learned on the programme, recalling a video his class watched showing the measured way Zinedine Zidane delivered a half-time team talk in a Champions League final. Emmanuel reflected on how he'd learned to think about message, audience and delivery when communicating, which he said: "comes in pretty handy when you have to talk to a room of 200 new people in a place like this!" He also told guests how his participation in Behind Every Kick enabled him to access summer work experience with a film production company. Films, he explained, are his passion. That, in turn, led to Emmanuel getting to work on the production of the Behind Every Kick short film which you can watch here:

Last night's event coincided with the start of the Big Give's 2023 Christmas Challenge. Thanks to the support of The Childhood Trust, donations made to Behind Every Kick between 28 November and 5 December will be match-funded. In other words, your donation will be worth double, allowing even more young people like Emmanuel to fulfil their potential.

From the 28 November, please donate here:

With thanks to key event sponsor OakNorth Bank and also El Pirata of Mayfair and Milestone Publishing for their generosity.