Post by Everton News. on Sept 11, 2016 10:30:09 GMT
EITC Get Papal Conference Invite
Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Executive Chair at Everton in the Community, will join leaders from the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, and a number of the world’s top athletes in participating in the Papal Conference on Sport at the Service of Humanity later this year.
The inaugural conference, to be held in the Vatican on October 5-7, is an ecumenical conference initiated by Pope Francis with the aim of encouraging more people across the globe to take part in sports programmes.
This global conference will bring together leaders and influencers from business, sport and faith with the aim of developing partnerships and strategies between stakeholders with the capacity to positively affect communities.
The concept for the conference was developed by a 30-strong advisory committee in 2015 during a two-day workshop held at the Vatican, with the aim of supporting Sport at the Service of Humanity’s mission to validate and endorse the “Sport at the Service of Humanity Declaration of Principles” – a set of guiding values that articulate how sport and faith can harness their combined influence to serve the greater good – developing partnerships to put the Principles into action.
Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, described the conference as: “an occasion to come together to face up to the great challenges of contemporary society, which are shared interests for the world’s sporting and religious communities: how to live with respect for all, with increased understanding of each other’s traditions and values, fuller and healthier lives and more integrated communities. Sport is also of such fundamental importance for education, allowing young people especially to open up to the trials of life, putting themselves to the test, crossing boundaries, meeting opponents on a fair playing field while striving to be the best they can be - in some sense aiming for the Transcendent.”
Dr Bernard Mullin, Founder and Chairman at The Aspire Sports Group and a member of the Leadership and Management committee behind the event said: “With Everton in the Community’s track record and reputation in using sport as a force for good, they were a natural choice to play a significant role in our first conference. The life-changing and life-saving work of the Charity is something I know will be inspirational to all of our delegates and I’m sure will provide them with examples of good practice that they can take back to their own communities or organisations.”
Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Executive Chair of Everton in the Community and Deputy Chief Executive and Director at Everton Football Club, said: “It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be invited to share the story of Everton in the Community with some of the world’s most prominent business and faith leaders. It’s testament to the dedication and commitment of all of our staff, volunteers and participants that we have been invited to take part in such a prestigious event to do this. The Vision, Mission and Values of Sport at the Service of Humanity are very closely aligned to what we believe in at our Charity, so I am certain that there will be lots of synergy between us at the conference and in the future.”
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale hailed the staff and volunteers of Everton in the Community as “absolute heroes” after she was invited to represent the charity at an audience with the Pope.
Denise, the charity’s Executive Chair and Deputy CEO of the football club, travelled to Vatican City last month to join representatives from the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee and a number of the world’s top athletes at the inaugural Papal Conference on Sport at the Service of Humanity.
Bringing together leaders and influencers from business, sport and faith with the aim of developing partnerships and strategies to positively affect communities through sport and the provision of sport, the aim of the conference was to establish a Declaration of Principles – a set of guiding values that articulate how sport and faith can harness their combined influence to serve the greater good.
Denise described it as “an honour and a privilege” to be part of the three-day event, heaping praise on those who have worked tirelessly to grow Everton in the Community into one of the UK’s - and now the world’s - blueprint football community programmes.
“I had to take a couple of glances at the letter when it first arrived just to make sure that it was authentic. I was just thrilled - really, really thrilled,” she said. “What a fantastic accolade and reflection on the work of our staff to be invited to represent Everton in the Community and Everton Football Club at such a prestigious event. It means we’re doing things well, it means that people want to hear our story and people want us to be involved in developing strategies and principles that can be applied globally.”
Denise and her staff will now trial the Declaration of Principles over the next two years by adopting them across Everton in the Community’s vast array of programmes - before feeding back to the Vatican on its success.
“It’s really rewarding when you’re sitting there thinking I can give evidence right now against every single one of those principles and what Everton is doing in the community, so we have a bit of a head start I think,” she explains. “We never slow down at Everton in the Community, we never think, ‘Isn’t it great we’ve been asked to represent?’
“Instead we feel very honoured because there are people doing magnificent things in the community in different charities, in different football clubs and in different sporting organisations. To have been selected to attend is very special for the staff - and an opportunity for me, when I accept an invitation like that, to show it as a gift of thanks to those staff and to say, ‘thank you very much, you are absolute heroes, every day you are out there working in the most difficult situations in the community’.
“People are watching and they’re noticing, and it’s not Everton saying, ‘aren’t we great at what we’re doing in the community?’, it’s external people saying what Everton are doing needs to be watched because it’s having an impact and it’s working.”
Denise believes the project can have a telling impact across the world, as well as highlighting ways in which the charity’s award-winning work can be enhanced closer to home.
Everton in the Community engages with thousands of people across Merseyside and beyond each year, through a total of 60 programmes addressing social issues such as health, employability, anti-social behaviour, crime, education, dementia, poverty, youth engagement, youth justice and disability.
“Over the next two years the Pope wants us to work on how we could use sport as a real catalyst to engage people for social good,” Denise added. “It’s really exciting to be at the forefront of those developments and to play an integral part in debating and discussing those principles and looking at how we could formulate a response for the papal office.
“Sitting there on behalf of Everton Football Club as a fan, it was a once in a life time opportunity. I really treasure the opportunity to have been given the chance to contribute - and to do so because of all the outstanding work everybody here has done to earn that recognition.”