[Source: ESPN] Community leaders, local residents, and youth gathered in Mount Druitt, Sydney on February 28 to participate in the opening of a new, multifunctional sports space dedicated to the local community and its residents. Built to Play is a global project, led by ESPN. This is the first Built to Play project undertaken by ESPN in Sydney and the eighth globally.
The courts and surrounding area, refurbished with the help of community residents and ESPN and Disney employees, will provide a safe place to play for the surrounding community, as well as offer ongoing programming using the power of sports to educate young people on key local issues. Sport for development organizations, Coaches Across Continents and Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) NSW will deliver programs on the new space.
Hosted by ESPN sports reporter and commentator, Stephanie Brantz, the event was attended by Haydn Arndt, General Manager, ESPN ANZ and Disney Media Distribution, along with ESPN and Disney employees and community volunteers who helped build the space, as well as local residents and their families. The celebration was comprised of cultural performances, special recognition of community leaders who volunteered their time, as well as sports matches open to the community.
“At ESPN, we believe that sport has the ability to transform lives, and we are committed to providing resources to enable kids in Sydney to play sports,” said Haydn Arndt. “We’re pleased to bring this global project to Mt. Druitt and to collaborate with love.fútbol, PCYC NSW, and Coaches Across Continents, to create this space in a community where there is a need, as it can truly make a difference.”
love.fútbol, which is known for building community sports facilities all over the world, played a key role in selecting Mount Druitt, Sydney, for the new space based on need, population served and socio-economic status. The unemployment rate is over 13% higher than the Greater Sydney average, alongside a number of social challenges in the area including drugs and alcohol abuse, high crime levels, insufficient transportation and limited services for youth.
“We are fortunate to have such significant support from ESPN, Disney, love.fútbol and Coaches Across Continents who share our vision of empowering young people,” said Dominic Teakle, CEO, PCYC NSW. “Participation in sport is a powerful tool for change. It allows young people to feel part of a team and that sense of belonging gives them the support to face their challenges both physical and mental. PCYC sits at the heart of most NSW communities and this facility will enable us to better serve the community of Mount Druitt.”