You are here

Laureus - Breaking the Cycle of Violence


Laureus - Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative Leader David Cameron give their support to Daley Thompson cycle ride against gun and knife crime

  • Seven-day marathon from Manchester to London ends at 10 Downing Street
  • Laureus report ‘Breaking the Cycle of Violence’ urges more use of sport to keep youngsters away from juvenile crime and gang violence
  • Daley Thompson said:
    "Report shows sport can meet challenge of urban youth violence, I was delighted to explain this to Gordon Brown and David Cameron"
  • LONDON, July 14, 2009

    – In a unique show of unity and support, the leaders of Britain’s principal political parties, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Leader of the Opposition David Cameron, joined Olympic legend Daley Thompson on the final day of his marathon Manchester-London cycle ride which targeted the growing problems of gun and knife crime in the United Kingdom.

    First Conservative leader David Cameron, a keen cyclist, joined Daley on his visit to the London Active Communities Urban Stars project at Lillian Bayliss Old School in Kennington, which uses sport as the means to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble.

    UK leaders, Olympic actors and Laureus members come together
    Prime Minister Gordon Brown then greeted Thompson, and his fellow Laureus Academy members Boris Becker, Gary Player, Hugo Porta and Steve Waugh, as they completed the last few yards of the epic cycle ride to the front door of No.10 Downing Street to present a report to the Government demonstrating the solutions sport can offer to gang violence and juvenile crime. Also present to receive the report were Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and Richard Taylor, father of the murdered Peckham teenager Damilola Taylor, and now the Government’s special advisor on youth violence and knife crime.

    The Prime Minister said:
    "I am pleased to congratulate the team on finishing their epic cycle ride at the doorstep of No 10 today. I'm sure many people have cheered them on their journey and I applaud them for their admirable efforts. While we are making real progress with the 'Tackling Knives Action Programme', it is vital that we continue to do our utmost to combat violent crime which has such a devastating effect on people's lives.”

    Mr Cameron said:
    "I am delighted to support Laureus in this initiative. The number of young people entering the criminal justice system has gone up by a fifth in just five years. What many young people like them need is a positive outlet for their energies and social needs. Sport - especially team sport - offers exactly that, so we have to do whatever we can to make sure sport is more accessible to them."

    Breaking the Cycle of Violence report
    The report ‘Laureus - Breaking the Cycle of Violence’ makes recommendations and calls on all politicians, professional sports clubs and community sports facilities to recognise and invest in sport as an effective mechanism for tackling the growing problem of youth crime and gang violence.

    7-day marathon ride against gun and knife crime
    The 367-mile ride started at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground on July 8 and routed through Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Newbury and Brent before finishing at 10 Downing Street. At each stop, Daley Thompson and his fellow cyclists visited community projects which use sport to keep young people off the streets and provide positive life lessons.

    Support from local and international celebrities
    When the ride left Manchester, joining Daley were Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster, Lee Boardman, who appeared as Murray Priestman in Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Tim Healy from Waterloo Road. They were joined by Scottish football legends Graeme Souness, the former Rangers, Liverpool and Newcastle manager, and Willie Morgan, Manchester United’s charismatic winger from the 1960s and 70s, plus former rugby star Liam Botham and Argentinian rugby union giant Hugo Porta, also a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, who cycled every mile of the route to London with Daley Thompson. They were waved off by British Paralympic great Tanni Grey-Thompson, Vice Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

    On the penultimate stage from Newbury to Brent in North West London, Daley Thompson and Hugo Porta were joined by Sebastian Coe, Sean Fitzpatrick and Matthew Pinsent. Before leaving Newbury, Daley took part in a symposium with Vodafone staff in which he explained why he was undertaking the ride and his hopes for the future.

    He told them:
    “Juvenile crime is a worldwide problem, but in this country in the last few years we have had many tragic examples of young people murdered and maimed, lives ruined and communities scarred. I explained that I felt sport could be used as a means to prevent young people becoming caught up in trouble.”

    The sports-based projects visited were:

    • Manchester Kickz, which is funded by the Manchester United charitable foundation and is one of 39 Kickz projects around the country supported by football clubs.
    • Streetgames in Stoke-on-Trent which has been going for just over a year and now has 1,600 young people registered from parts of the city with poor records for anti-social behaviour. .
    • Sporting Futures (Positive Futures) at the John Gulson School Playing Fields in Coventry.
    • Mathisen Youth Project at the Mathisen Youth Centre in Bradeille, Milton Keynes.
    • TRAX in Oxford is a community outreach programme that uses motor sport to engage with vulnerable young people who are at risk of exclusion from school.
    • Hornstars at the Stonebridge Recreation Ground in Brent, North West London.

    About Daley Thompson

    Daley Thompson has been a member of the Laureus Academy since it was founded ten years ago and he has visited projects all over the world which bear testament to sport as a tool for social change. He was inspired to focus on the issue of gangs by the research report, commissioned by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which demonstrated the similarities between sport and gangs.

    He said:
    “It was an amazing event, the most fantastic seven days. I was overwhelmed by the support I received from people who rode with me, and from the people who cheered me on the way. I was especially delighted that Gordon Brown and David Cameron wanted to support what I was trying to do. What is happening to too many of our young people is a tragedy and we must find a new way to fight this evil. I hope I have been able to show how sport can make an impact.

    “The report really struck a chord with me. A gang is actually not that different from a sports team, both provide you with a sense of belonging, status and excitement. But, while sport also helps you develop control over your emotions and learn to respect certain boundaries, being in a gang can be destructive.”

    Written in collaboration with the research agency Substance, the report draws on research and project experience gained by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation over the past ten years, and articulates how sports initiatives can be designed to meet the challenge of urban youth violence. The report can be downloaded here.

    About Laureus World Sports Academy and Sport for Good Foundation
    Daley Thompson is one of the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 46 of the greatest living sporting legends. The Academy members volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation by using their influence to highlight the plight of disadvantaged children and supporting humanitarian projects around the world.

    The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to utilise the power of sport to address social challenges through a global programme of sports related community development initiatives, using sport as a tool for social change. Laureus supports almost 70 projects worldwide and since its inception has raised €20 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of one million young people.

    About Laureus
    Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.

    In addition to the Global partners Mercedes Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone, Laureus and Daley Thompson would like to thank the following for their invaluable assistance in helping to stage the ride: Mercedes-Benz UK, Evans, IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group), Jarvis Hotel Group, Star Trac, Lucozade and Six Physio.

    [This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Laureus Sport for Good Foundation


Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 23:00


E-Newsletter subscribe