Sport has a unique ability to improve the lives and living conditions of local communities and I genuinely believe that it has the power to address a wide range of social challenges.
Helping to provide those genuine and meaningful opportunities for Londoners to engage with major sports events is exactly what my new role, Engagement Manager, is all about.
My job is to partner with event organisers and ensure that they provide wide-ranging and accessible opportunities for Londoners to engage with the event.
As such, I was very excited by the recent announcement that the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) will once again be coming to London.
After Wembley held the semi-finals in 2013, it is fantastic that the Emirates Stadium will continue the tradition and play host to one of the men’s semi-finals in 2021.
It is amazing to think that the 2021 RLWC will be one of the most inclusive and diverse events ever held in England by hosting three simultaneous disciplines of the sport: the men’s, women’s and wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.
For the first time ever, the wheelchair competition will be part of the Rugby League World Cup main event with The Copperbox Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park playing host to England’s group games.
Importantly, both the women’s rugby and wheelchair rugby games will share the same billing as the men’s fixtures, and all three tournaments will culminate in an epic ‘Finals Weekend’.
Any community engagement programme that runs alongside a major sport event, such as the Rugby League World Cup, will align with Sport Unites; the Mayor’s flagship community sports programme.
And the Greater London Authority (GLA) continues to invest in projects that will improve social integration in London and use sport as a tool for wider social change.
The Mayor defines ‘social integration’ as the extent to which people positively interact and connect with others who are different to themselves and I look forward to supporting programmes that will lead to positive change in individuals and wider communities.
For more about community engagement opportunities through Major Sports Events contact Gareth