SportsCares Partners Grassroots To Change The Lives Of Vulnerable Youth Through Football

18 May 2013

Singapore, 18 May 2013 - The SportCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Singapore Sports Council (SSC), today officially launched a football programme in Jurong to change the lives of underprivileged and at-risk youth, in partnership with local grassroots organisations. Known as Saturday Night Lights (SNL), the programme exemplifies the work being done by SportCares to help people live better through sports. SportCares was the first recommendation to be put into action under the Vision 2030 sports masterplan.

2. Mr Richard Seow, Chairman of the SSC, said: "SportCares was conceived to leverage sport as a force for social good. Through SportCares, we are cultivating strong social values, sport philanthropy and volunteerism across different communities. Saturday Night Lights is a wonderful demonstration that people from all walks of life can come together to help each other live better through sports. Through this joining of hands, we hope to see many more of such programmes sprout all over Singapore."

3. Saturday Night Lights provides a holistic sporting experience for youth where and when they need it most. From 7 to 11 pm, SNL offers a welcoming environment, quality coaching, supportive volunteers, bus services and a nutritious meal at the end of the night - all at no charge to the youth. The coaches and the volunteers from the community, the corporate world, and SportCares and SSC use football to reinforce good values such as respect for team work and leadership, discipline in thinking and action and a commitment to a greater purpose.
Leveraging partnerships with grassroots organisations
4. Over the past eight weeks, three groups of youth from the Beacon of Life Football Academy (BOLA) in Taman Jurong, Henderson Free Kicks Programme and Delta League from Jurong Springs have been participating in a pilot run of the SNL football programme. The teams' involvement was a result of ongoing partnerships between SportCares and grassroots organisations.

5. BOLA for instance, is an initiative by residents of Taman Jurong, with Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam serving as Patron. The recently-formed academy is helmed by a volunteer group comprising ex-offenders and community-minded volunteers who believe in the power of sport and education to transform lives.

6. The academy is helmed by Darren Tan, Kim Whye Kee and Shaiful Nizam - ex-gang members who have turned their lives around with support from the community. During the day, Darren is completing his law degree; Whye Kee is completing his Fine Arts degree at LASALLE College of the Arts; and Shaiful is pursuing his Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management at Republic Polytechnic.

7. The boys from Henderson on the other hand, are participants who have aged out of the Free Kicks programme - an initiative by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) targeted at boys aged 7 to 16. The transition to Saturday Night Lights not only allows the boys to continue pursuing their interest in football, but is also an effort to complement Central CDC's efforts to provide wholesome sporting activities for youth.

8. On Delta League's participation, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police (DAC) Melvin Yong, Commander of Clementi Police Division, said: "The Delta League has shown that football is an effective way of reaching out to youths to positively engage and influence them during the school holidays. We are pleased to be partnering with the SportCares Foundation and the Saturday Night Lights programme, to extend this outreach beyond the school holidays."
SNL pilot effects positive changes in character
9. The SNL pilot may have been running for just eight weeks, but organisers and volunteers are already seeing positive changes in character in the boys.

10. Ms Laura Reid, Assistant Director, SportCares Foundation, Singapore Sports Council, said: "We are seeing flashes of self-belief and confidence from our most vulnerable group of boys who came into SNL with very little of either. We can feel the team spirit emanating from the teams when they cheer each other on during the friendly matches at the end of the night. We know they are more committed to self-improvement, as evidenced by the deeper effort they are putting into their training. We know that for a fact because they are drinking double the amount of water during the night than when they first started eight weeks ago!"
Future plans
11. With the completion of this pilot run, Ms Reid hopes to see SNL grow and reach out to more communities. She said: "We look forward to introducing the programme to other regions in Singapore. In the longer term, we also hope to adapt the programme for other sports such as basketball or floorball."

12. For more information on how to contribute to SportCares as a partner or volunteer, please send an email to

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Siti Nurhidayati 
Senior Executive, Media Relations 
Corporate Communications & Relations 
Tel: 6500 5246

About the Singapore Sports Council
The Singapore Sports Council aims to transform the nation through sport, by inspiring people and uniting communities. As the national sports agency, we work with a vast network of public-private-and people sector partners to create access, opportunities and capabilities for individuals to live better through sports. As detailed in the Vision 2030 Live Better Through Sports recommendations, our mandate goes beyond driving participation and winning medals. At SSC, we use sport to create resilient, tenacious people, an appreciation for teamwork, a commitment to purpose, strong united communities and national pride.

To find out more, visit our websites, and

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