MultiChoice SuperSport Flagship programme Let's Play
Let’s Play is a corporate social responsibility initiative developed by SuperSport and partners in 2005 to stimulate physical activity in the youth market. Almost 20% of the country’s children are overweight and physical education has only recently been reintroduced into the government school curriculum.
According to a study by the University of the Witwatersrand ( www.wits.ac.za/birthto20), the average South African child only exercises for 34 minutes each week; 20% of children at school smoke; and 23% have at least one alcohol binge a week.
Lifestyle diseases like obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are directly related to inactivity and poor nutrition (high-fat foods, too much salt and sugar, and too little fibre, fruits and vegetables), are increasing in young adults.
Results from the SANEP (South African Nutrition Expert Panel) study found modern South African families lack balance, which encourages the formation of these negative lifestyle patterns in children. Tragically, children have forgotten (or have not been taught) how to play. And the issue is not confined to South Africa.
As a result children are growing up without the benefits of regular activity: good health and fitness, physical skills (balance, agility, speed and co-ordination), improved immunity, nutritional awareness, better body image, confidence and self-esteem, social skill development and friendships. It is also well documented that children who participate in regular sports activity produce better academic results, and are less likely to become involved with negative influences such as crime and drugs.
This is where Let’s Play comes in. The aim is to elevate awareness of our social situation and to introduce and encourage play, activity and sport in schools and at home. This is done through advanced media campaigns and close associations with organisations that target children and introduce activities to schools, homes and communities.
Since being established, Let’s Play has developed a formidable network of sponsors, partners and affiliations with national and regional bodies, as well as NGOs. Most recently, Let’s Play was successfully launched in Nigeria.
Let’s Play also facilitated The Sports for Development programme in partnership with the Department of Education and Unicef. This programme aims to promote mass participation in sport through community sporting events, and currently reaches over 236 800 learners in 270 schools across the country. Since its inception in 2007, it has helped train over 1 000 coaches, educators and youth leaders and encouraged the participation of over 200 000 girls and boys through weekly sports activities and quarterly community festivals, as well as the participation of close to 500 000 girls and boys in annual events at provincial level.
Today, Let’s Play actively engages with around 700 000 children every week through coaching clinics supported by 900 coaches, at 1 200 schools in nine provinces across the country. It has become one of South Africa’s most visible and successful CSI programmes, with high awareness across the adult population and – most importantly – making a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of children.
The programme’s continued success is due to a number of factors, not least the support of donors and sponsors. Endorsements from the departments of sport and recreation, education and health, plus a vibrant working relationship with Unicef, give it the muscle to reach its goals, while support from other corporates and media companies gives Let’s Play unrivalled reach across entire populations.
To ensure ongoing support, SuperSport continues to run awareness campaigns. It endeavours to stay in tune with its audience by initiating new campaigns that piggy-back on national and global sporting events and the enthusiasm that surrounds them, such as the 2011 Cricket and Rugby World Cups.
Fast facts about individual campaigns:
- Gear up our Kids has raised 25 000 items of sporting equipment valued at R3 million, and distributed to 850 beneficiary organisations.
- Let’s Play a Million raised over R6,4 million and distributed 215 000 soccer balls
- Department of Education’s Sport for Development project in association with Let’s Play and Unicef improves Free State pass rates from 32.3% in 2007 to 87.8% in 2008
For more details: http://www.supersport.com/letsplay/news/about