Midlands community organisation is revolutionised thanks to university initiative

Local community improvement organisation has developed a series of new projects, thanks to National Lottery funding and the use of five Keele University interns since 2018.

Sporting Communities is a Midlands based non-profit organisation who specialise in community and social development. Their holistic approach utilises sport and creative arts to support and connect with communities. Since COVID-19, Sporting Communities have had to adapt to providing their services through alternate methods. With help from National Lottery funding, Sporting Communities have set up a podcast which features young voices discussing their life in lockdown, touching on subjects such as mental health, relationships and fitness.

As of July 2020, Sporting Communities have taken on five interns from Keele University which is funded via Santander Universities. They have aided with developing sport and creative art projects and promotional materials that have been an integral part of helping local communities and boosting Sporting Communities’ general web presence.

Current Law student Simmy Kaur and Media, Communication and Culture graduate Przemyslaw Zatorsky helped to organise and document Paradise of the Potteries which was a creative art event held in Kidsgrove. Simmy continues to work for Sporting Communities as a member of the coaching team.

In the same year, Sociology, Kitty Blake assisted the organisation with projects in North Staffordshire and helped to challenge social issues in the local area.

In 2019 now graduated Business Management and Marketing student, Miguel Montoya Salagre joined the team, working on creative projects such as creating a theme for the annual report and designing infographics. He highlights the benefits that come from learning whilst working:

“This internship helped me to see an overall perspective of a professional organisation’s functions. It also helped me to develop some new applied knowledge related to my area of study”

During the recent pandemic, the company employed current Biomedical Science student Adrija Pal who supported the transition to online services so the company could continue during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Managing Director, Ben Rigby details the importance of hiring interns and what they have done for the company:

“Throughout their time with us, the interns have become valued members of the Sporting Communities team; developing their skill sets, confidence and competencies to contribute to ongoing tasks. Their creativity, capacity, commitment and compassion has helped revolutionise how we operate and assisted us intaking the next steps of our journey into new ventures and communities.

They have brought fresh and inspiring ideas to the team, applying their creative knowledge to enhancing the outcomes of tasks. The interns have demonstrated a pragmatic and committed attitude throughout their time with us”.

Steve Hargreaves, Business Engagement Manager for Internships added:

"We have worked with Sporting Communities for a few years on our internship programmes and they are a shining example of an organisation who have embraced the skillsets of students and graduates and harnessed those skills effectively for business benefits. We are extremely pleased that Sporting Communities are doing so well and that Keele students and graduates have supported this organisation to deliver fantastic work in local communities”.

Santander Logo 2019 ed 200px To find out more about the Santander Universities UK programme at Keele University, please visit keele.ac.uk/santander.

For more information about internships and other support opportunities available to businesses, please visit keele.ac.uk/business.