The England national team’s participation at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ may have concluded at the group stage, but an organisation of selfless and committed supporters are ensuring that the country’s contribution to Brazil and its people leaves an important, lasting legacy.
Lionsraw is a charitable movement, born in the north east of England a decade ago, that seeks to mobilise passionate football fans from every corner of the globe to provide time, money and resources to local and overseas communities and social projects.
A cornerstone of their work is Legacy Tours, which began at South Africa 2010, when 150 self-funded supporters travelled to Durban. There they delivered four building projects and seven football schools, harnessing the power of the game to help more than 1,000 children.
Four years on, 300 fans representing Lionsraw are based in Brazil 2014 Host City Curitiba, where in addition to leading coaching sessions in grass football, street football and more for hundreds of local kids interested in football, building and development work is again on the charity’s agenda.
As the bricks and mortar of an education centre stack up to provide tangible proof of the crucial work being carried out by volunteers – both local and those that have journeyed from afar – so does the sense of stamping a legacy that could inspire the area for years to come.
“It’s commitment to 600 amazing children that we work with every week across six projects,” explains Kev Clark, national director of Lionsraw Brasil. “Commitment to them in the form of financial support, equipment and bringing confidence through our coaches, giving them an area for safe play and to be involved with sport.
“Football is perhaps the single greatest component of this centre; street football, grass football, foot volley – all of the separate components using the football are actually the hook to bring children in to do stuff that they might not ordinarily put their hands up as wanting to do. Hopefully, this building will have 500-600 children through its doors every single week.”