Businesses must do more for local sports
Article date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 17:41 GMT
The business community has a responsibility to support local sporting events and should provide the backbone for regional sports development, says awards winning managing director Lawrence Jones. His company UKFast sponsors the Sale Sharks and in addition, Jones funds niche sports that he feels are crucial for the development of communities.
In early February 2007 the Northern Lawn Racquet Club hosted the first UKFast Manchester Squash Open which brought players from across the globe to the North West to take on the region's top players. Local talents got the chance to raise their game onto a world stage and the benefits for spectators were obvious.
In countries like Australia and the US, sport pervades the national infrastructure, says Jones. More than this, the emphasis on sports promotes a healthy lifestyle and cohesive communities. I believe that businesses can make the difference in this country by supporting local events in their areas that might otherwise go without the funding they need.
The area that is most neglected is the space between school sport and professional sport where people with niche talents should be allowed to thrive and reach for the world stage, says Jones. The more encouragement we give our sporting talents to rise to the challenge at a regional level, the more likely we are to start seeing sporting success nationally and internationally.
Jones uses his sponsorship with the Sale Sharks to inspire at a grass roots level across the North West. As well as funding Sharks in the Community schemes, he also runs competitions to take young sports people along to meet their heroes and experience top quality action first hand.
Even on a basic level there are obvious plusses for the business community, he says. Encouraging healthy lifestyles promotes a stronger workforce and a greater sense of competition, which has to be a positive benefit.
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