BT Sport and the Supporters Club announce grant beneficiaries and documentary, the supporters club: street child to soccer star

The work of a charity in Tanzania, Caretakers of the Environment, is to feature in an upcoming BT Sport documentary, The Supporters Club: Street Child to Soccer Star, which premieres on Monday September 23 on BT Sport 1 at 8pm. 

The charity helps street children living in Mwanza, Tanzania, and is revealed as the latest of several new beneficiaries of The Supporters Club, set up by BT to help young people facing some of life’s toughest challenges – supporting charities in the UK and overseas. 

The documentary sees Queens Park Rangers and Cameroon defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto and TV star Nick Hancock travel to Mwanza in Tanzania where they witness the work of the charity in action – helping street children escape a life of extreme poverty, abuse and hunger. Nick and Benoit were also tasked with helping select a team of children and young people to represent Tanzania in the 2014 Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, a football tournament set up to challenge and highlight the struggles these children face 
every day. 

The programme follows the journey that Benoit and Nick make, as they meet and talk to the children, listen to their stories and discover how they ended up on the streets. Viewers see Benoit running an impromptu training session, challenging the kids to a series of football drills and inspiring and supporting the children by giving advice and tips. Away from the tournament, the two stars see how the money raised by The Supporters Club is providing long-term and invaluable support services to help turn around the lives of these vulnerable children, such as an emergency drop-in centre and providing access to education. 

The 2014 Street Child World Cup tournament, that the children in the documentary will go to, not only provides children with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play football with people from all over the world, it is an important platform that draws the world’s attention to the struggles of street children. Money raised through The Supporters Club is also supporting two other charities that will be sending teams to the 10-day tournament – one in Brazil itself (IBISS) and the other in India (Karunalaya). 

As well as supporting Caretakers of the Environment, The Supporters Club is also supporting:
• Riding for the Disabled which provides therapeutic support for disabled children and young people across the UK through horse-riding. This life-changing support relies on the exceptional standard and commitment of their volunteers and staff who provide services for any age group, with any disability. Money raised through The Supporters Club will mean front-line staff are supported and specialist equipment can be bought – meaning more disabled children and young people can take part. 
• IBISS, a charity working in the toughest 60 slum communities in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), where many children’s lives are affected by violence and drug gangs. Money raised by The Supporters Club will be used to deliver football schools to mentor children and help them see a positive future for themselves, away from a life of fear and intimidation. 
• Karunalaya, a charity working on the streets of Chennai (India). It supports hundreds of children living around the railway station and seven slum areas. It will enable access to education, medical care, health education and the support they need to feel safe. Sport plays a major role in reaching these children and helping them have stability and feel part of a team. 

Details of other charities being supported in the UK and overseas will be revealed in the coming months, as well as those projects being featured as a documentary on BT Sport.BT Sport customers can simply add £1, £3 or £5 to their monthly bill and BT will match it pound for pound – doubling the donation.* BT is also covering the costs of the fund, which is managed by Comic Relief. This means every pound will be working as hard as possible to make a real difference. BT is also creating TV programming which will be broadcast on BT Sport to show customers the difference their donations are making. For more information please go to www.thesupportersclub.org or follow us on twitter @supporters. 

*Up to a total of £1 million. The Supporters Club fund is managed by Comic Relief, registered charity No. 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland).