SHP clients and staff came together last Friday for some sporting fun at our first ever summer Sports Day.

Despite the gloomy weather, more than 150 people took part in the event at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, coming from our services all across London.  

Participants relived their school days by taking on a number of sporting challenges; ranging from sports day classics such as egg-and-spoon, sack race and tug of war to athletic pursuits like the high jump, javelin and 110m hurdles.

The event was organised to mark the success of SHP’s award-winning Sports and Health Project, which aims to engage homeless and vulnerable Londoners to tap into the power of sport and physical activity to help transform their life.

Eloise Moller, Sports and Health Project Manager, said “It was a truly amazing day seeing all the clients getting involved in the activities and, most importantly, having fun.

“For many clients, it will be the first chance they have had to participate in sports in years – so we wanted to show people that sport doesn’t have to be competitive or scary, but can be fun, enjoyable and spark positive change.  We hope that after today’s experiences many more clients will be keen to be more involved in physical activity and our Sports and Health project.

“We want to make sure that sports and physical activity are accessible for all homeless Londoners – not just our clients.”

Athletes in attendance
The day also included the chance to meet world class athletes, joined by former British Paralympic gold medallist Danny Crates. Danny, who now spends his time as a keynote speaker, inspired and motivated all the participants by speaking about his life and sporting achievements.

Speaking during the event, he said: “Homelessness often means people have limited opportunities to engage with physical activity. Knowing how much sport helped me to transform my life, I feel passionate about its ability to help people to overcome challenges. I am so proud to be involved in today’s event and promote the amazing work SHP is doing in this area”

Team GB 400m runner Dwayne Cowan also joined the day’s activities, getting involved (unsurprisingly winning?) in the 100m, assisting other runners in the relay and encouraging participants throughout the day.

Both athletes also spoke to clients about their sporting achievements, posed for photographs and handed out awards – with every participant receiving a medal.

The Winners
Despite the focus of the day being around participation and fun, there was a competitive element with trophies handed out to the three winning teams as well recognition for the best male and female athlete, best team spirit and sportsmanship.

A big thank you SHP’s corporate partners and volunteers, who got involved in the day, competing and volunteering to make it a success for all involved.