More young people across the West Midlands will be able to improve their life chances through sports-themed programmes as demand for a charity’s services continues to grow.

As part of a plan to reach more beneficiaries aged between 11 and 29 years old, Sport 4 Life UK is to relocate from Ladywood to a new HQ in the Custard Factory in Digbeth in November, subject to coronavirus restrictions.

In the year to June 2020, Sport 4 Life UK supported a total of 926 youngsters with on and offline mentoring, qualifications, and training programmes, in addition to structured sports sessions.

The new offices will be the base for 20 members of staff who work across the West Midlands region, whilst providing space for more workshops, meetings and one-to-one mentoring sessions.

Sport 4 Life UK CEO Tom Clarke-Forrest said the expansion came at a critical time for the West Midlands’ young people.

“It’s well documented that the up and coming generation is tragically bearing the economic brunt of the coronavirus crisis. We’re seeing the effects cascading through our services, as more youngsters find themselves facing a future of diminished opportunity.

“Since our launch in 2006, demand for our services has grown steadily but we are now in uncharted territory and we are witnessing a significant rise in the need for support from people of all backgrounds who are being cut off in their prime.

“Our move to the Custard Factory, thanks to its more central location, will enable us to have a bigger impact on these lives and engage a much wider audience and reach more people. We’ve very much outgrown our Ladywood offices and by being right in the heart of Birmingham city centre, we are certain that we will build our profile across both public and private sectors. Much of our work is being delivered remotely as a result of the pandemic but having an office space is vital for Sport 4 Life UK and I’ve no doubt once the restrictions have been lifted, we’ll enter an exciting new era. Indeed, we’re very keen to forge strong relationships with the creative and business communities in this vibrant part of Birmingham,” he said.

Mr Clarke-Forrest encouraged businesses and policymakers to consider working with his team as part of a society-wide effort to support the next generation through the pandemic.

During the past year, of the 926 people supported by Sport 4 Life UK, 197 improved their life skills, 69 progressed into work, education or training, and 72 gained qualifications. Meanwhile, 319 participated in structured sports sessions and 184 attended employability activities.