Official opening Cruyff Court Mechelen - Wednesday 2 April - district Otterbeek
BT and the Johan Cruyff Foundation, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the mental and physical wellbeing of children and young people through sport and play, today announce that the first Belgian Cruyff Court – a proper, safe place for children to play sports – will officially open Wednesday 2 April in the city of Mechelen. Belgian broadband cable services provider Telenet also supports the initiative through its corporate sustainability programme. BT’s partnership with the Cruyff Foundation is aligned to its Better Future thinking and focuses on the Cruyff Foundation’s Community Program, which aims to empower young people to organise their own local sports events and increase the involvement with the neighbourhood.
Together with the City of Mechelen, local youth workers have organised what promises to be a festive, sportive afternoon including a freestyle performance by Soufiane Touzani, a football tournament, capoeira and hockey. In the morning, around 70 BT employees take part in a fundraising relay race from BT’s offices in Brussels to the Cruyff Court in Mechelen. Former Olympian and silver-medallist Kim Gevaert will warm-up the participants and launch the race.
Carole Thate, Director Johan Cruyff Foundation, said: “This is a great example of how we want to work with our partners. Thanks to initiator BT and the commitment of its employees in terms of fundraising we now offer youngsters in Mechelen the opportunity to play sports and play on a nice, safe and high quality facility.”
Joris van Oers, CEO BT Benelux, continued: “This court will make a tangible difference to many children’s lives, and demonstrates our commitment to improve the lives of the communities in which we operate. The Johan Cruyff Foundation’s mission and vision fit extremely well with our own values. We are delighted that the City of Mechelen, a city that has been thriving for many centuries, is hosting the first Belgian Cruyff Court.”
Greet Geypen, Alderman of Youth in Mechelen, commented: “We welcomed BT’s initiative not only because it provides children with a safe area to play, it also gives us the opportunity to address themes such as social responsibility, integration, and the importance of certain values in life.”
Walter Schroons, Alderman of Sports in Mechelen, concluded: “The construction of the court is part of a wider renovation taking place in the Otterbeek district. We are honoured and excited that we will host the first Cruyff Court in Belgium, following many countries elsewhere in the world.”
To further support the Foundation’s international ambitions with the Community Program, BT Learning Solutions upgraded the virtual learning environment eCorner, providing access to a cost-effective e-learning programme, a Coach Corner (now available in Dutch, English and Spanish) and other resources used by youngsters, coaches and community workers. The platform is hosted on BT’s cloud-based virtual data centre service BT Compute. Since the launch of the e-learning platform in 2011, 150 coaches have been trained and 1,100 youngsters participated in the Community Program.
There are already 183 Cruyff Courts worldwide, spread across 15 countries including the Netherlands, England, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Malaysia and Brazil.
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About the Johan Cruyff Foundation
The Johan Cruyff Foundation was established in 1997, building on Johan Cruyff's vision of “the fundamental right of children to sport and play”. By promoting sports and play, the Cruyff Foundation contributes to a better society in a positive and active way. The Johan Cruyff Foundation helps to put young people in motion, and does so by supporting sport projects for youth with disabilities, constructing Cruyff Courts, organising unique sporting events for young people and teaching them how to organise sports activities. On a weekly basis more than 50,000 youngsters with a disability are given the opportunity to play sports through the projects supported by the Foundation. Currently, there are more than 180 Cruyff Courts (public playgrounds) built for children who are living in areas where there is a lack of space for sports and games. More information on: www.cruyff-foundation.org.
About Better Future
The Better Future programme is BT’s promise to use the power of communication to improve lives and ways of doing business. We have set three goals to achieve by 2020 to shape our Better Future vision. They’re built on what we do best – bringing together our networks and technology with the expertise of our people to make a better world. Our goals are underpinned by our commitment to run our business with high ethical, environmental and supply chain standards, adding value and saving costs. The Better Future goals can be tracked on: http://www.btplc.com/Betterfuture/.