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COMMUNITY: Local young people rise to the Premier League Inspires Challenge!

28 June 2023


COMMUNITY: Local young people rise to the Premier League Inspires Challenge!

28 June 2023

More than 1,750 young people from across England and Wales have joined forces to help tackle environmental sustainability at their football clubs and in their communities, as part of this year’s Premier League Inspires Challenge.

The Challenge is one element of the Premier League Inspires programme, which clubs run on a weekly basis to support 11–25 year-olds who are at risk of not reaching their potential as they move through the education system and early adulthood.

The Premier League Inspires Challenge empowers participants to take on a social action project and make a difference to the world around them.

This season, young people were tasked with considering what environmental sustainability challenges football clubs might face. Sky Blues in the Community representatives developed a project to encourage the public to recycle and reuse their football boots and trainers to raise awareness of the impact of sport footwear waste has on the planet.

The project was delivered in partnership with Coventry secondary school Sidney Stringer Academy. The challenge idea involved coaches and players from Sky Blues in the Community Player Development Centres along with participants from the SBitC’s PLKicks project donating their old and used football boots to SBitC’s Inspires project.

The project collected the boots and during April half term joined forces with Coventry City Councils HAF programme to deliver a fun activity for the local children who attended. The children filled the boots with soil and planted grass seeds in the boots and placed them in the shape of a heart on the roof top garden. Over the following weeks pictures were taken of the display and placed on social media to promote the initiative.


Head of Community David Busst said “This is our first year delivering PL Inspires and the challenge was an interesting concept. We’re pleased with our challenge, and the fact so much money is spent on football boots in this country makes it important to raise awareness of what happens when we no longer use them. We continue to run a recycle scheme through our player development centres and the boots are used weekly during our Inspires project at President Kennedy school”.

Having come up with their environmental social action ideas, participants joined one of five regional celebration events taking place at football clubs across the country, where they shared details of their activity with teams of their peers representing 44 clubs from across the Premier League and the English Football League.

The Sky Blues in the Community Premier League Inspires Challenge team also explored the positive work Coventry City is already doing to tackle climate change, including an extensive litter picking project which took place in and around the CBS Arena. The initiative, itself a high profile environmental social action, was used as an example to introduce Sidney Stringer pupils to the concept of social actions and highlight the challenges Coventry City has in maintaining the environment and infrastructure in and around the CBS Arena.  

The Premier League became a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework in 2021 and aims to reduce its own emissions by 50% before 2030 and achieve net- zero emissions by 2040, in line with the 1.5 degrees global warming limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement.


Premier League Head of Sustainability, Will Hutton, said: “Environmental sustainability is of great importance to the Premier League and our clubs, and we recognise the need to take action on climate change.

“We must all play our part in this important issue, and through the Premier League Inspires Challenge young people have come up with some brilliant ideas to help build upon the great work already under way at clubs. I hope these young people can continue to build on these ideas to help drive positive environmental sustainability action in school, at home and in their communities.”

Launched in 2019, Premier League Inspires creates life-changing opportunities for young people who have been identified by their schools as needing extra support to engage with activities, helping them to develop the personal skills and positive attitudes needed to succeed in life.

Using the power of football, the programme helps to prepare young people for further education and employment through a series of face-to-face mentoring sessions, workshops and social-action projects.

The Sky Blues in the Community began its Premier League Inspires delivery at the end 2022 and since then has supported 90 young people through 74 sessions in 3 local schools.

This season, 44 professional football club community organisations across the Premier League and English Football League are delivering Premier League Inspires sessions at their stadiums, in local schools and at alternative educational settings, with partnership support from the Professional Footballers’ Association.

More than 25,300 young people from across England and Wales have received more than 104,00 hours of targeted support through the programme to date.

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