Alumnus helps children succeed through sport
A centre founded by a former pupil of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire to help children succeed in life through sport is launching a major expansion programme for 2016 that will benefit thousands of disadvantaged young people across London.
Mike de Giorgio co-founded Greenhouse Sports in 2002 after studying at Stonyhurst in the 1970s. He went on to get a BSC in Politics at Bristol University, and then worked for 19 years as an accountant. Thirteen years ago, he set up the private sporting facilities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds with Justin Byam Shaw. But they soon realised that an ability to travel created a barrier for many youngsters, so they started bringing quality sports coaching and opportunities to schools in areas of deprivation.
Greenhouse Sports now works full time in schools and in the community, where its coaches help children to improve their health and fitness while mentoring them to improve how they engage with their education, their families and their community. It currently operates 50 sports coaching programmes across 36 mainstream secondary schools, 10 Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools and four community clubs across London. It is also actively looking to increase the numbers of young people who benefit from the provision of inspirational sports coaching and mentoring.
Harnessing the power of sport
Mike de Giorgio (pictured right) continued to play sport after leaving Stonyhurst College in 1975, but says he picks up tips from Greenhouse Sports coaches and players all the time. In 2011, he chaired the Centre for Social Justice Report on how best to harness the power of sport to transform the lives of young people.
Earlier this month, Greenhouse Sports moved to new office where, over the course of 2016, they will transform the building near Baker Street into a multi-use sports hub that will provide life-changing coaching and support to thousands of young Londoners. Mike recently stepped aside as the charity’s Chief Executive so that he can focus on fundraising and on playing an ambassadorial role for its work.
“Looking back to where we started 13 years ago, I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved,” he says. “Greenhouse Sports has grown from strength to strength in its delivery of programmes to give every child a fair chance to succeed. Recruiting a new CEO with a fresh perspective is a real opportunity for us and reflects the charity’s rapid expansion in recent years. Moving forwards I will still be very much involved at Greenhouse Sports focussing more on my role as a Trustee and I look forward to the new challenges this will bring.”