fbpx

A Year
like No Other

GH logo

A Charity developing young people through sport

Start Reading

Thank You!

To Coach Thomas (my favourite teacher/coach),

Thank you for everything. I would rather say this in person but I couldn’t find you at the end of the day and I know if I did I wouldn’t be able to finish my sentence without crying. Thank you for encouraging me to join your team at the start of Year 7. I wouldn’t have been the person I am today if it wasn’t for your amazing coaching skills. Before, I wouldn’t even have thought of playing basketball but now I know I can do anything I want to if I put my mind to it. Thank you so much Coach. I wish you and the team success in future games etc.

I will miss your humour and understanding of students.

From Stacey

Name and image do not relate to the participant quoted

Thank you

To Coach Thomas (my favourite teacher/coach),

Thank you for everything, I would rather say this in person but I couldn’t find you at the end of the day and I know if I did I wouldn’t be able to finish my sentence without crying. Thank you for encouraging me to join your team at the start of Year 7. I wouldn’t have been the person I am today if it wasn’t for your amazing coaching skills. Before, I wouldn’t even have thought of playing basketball but now I know I can do anything I want to if I put my mind to it. Thank you so much Coach. I wish you and the team success in future games etc.

I will miss your humour and understanding of students.

From Stacey

Name and image do not relate to the participant quoted

From Our Chair

To reflect now in the early part of 2021, with all lives still restricted by the pandemic, the impact of Covid 19 is still not fully realised.

What is clear is that the disease itself, and the continuing recessionary toll of extensive lockdowns, is hardest on the least fortunate in society. It is hardest on the poorest and it is hardest on Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities. The need to provide help to the least fortunate in London has never been clearer and the use of sport to provide a vehicle for that help never more appropriate. This is what Greenhouse Sports delivers.

I believe that this is represented in the evidence provided by the impact data and in the reports we receive nearly every week from parents, headteachers and the young people themselves, a selection of which is detailed through the pages of this Annual Review. As you will read through this report, in viewing the films, in hearing directly from the families whose children are mentored by Greenhouse coaches; you’ll understand the pride the Trustees and I feel in how Greenhouse Sports has delivered in this unprecedented year.

I was honoured to be appointed as Chairman in November 2019 – Mike Sherwood is still incredibly involved with the Charity but board tenure rules required a change in his status and we are hugely grateful for everything he has done and his ongoing commitment to the charity.

One of my first tasks as Chairman with the board was to appoint a new CEO. To have attracted someone of Béatrice Butsana-Sita’s calibre and experience to leave behind a lucrative and successful career in the business world to join Greenhouse Sports speaks volumes of both who she is but also of the strength and quality of the Greenhouse Sports impact on society. 

Covid 19 makes the need to address inequality even more urgent than ever and while there is a lot of good talk about ‘levelling up’ and a priority to reduce obesity, there is still very little government money available for the type of work we do. So I wish to thank all of our funders for continuing to support us, year on year. Your help really is needed, now more than ever.

It is a very exciting period that I believe the charity now has ahead of it, despite the huge challenges which we face, and Béatrice leads a very strong, dedicated and experienced team.

Every child really does deserve a fair chance to succeed and together we can create those life changing chances for thousands more young people growing up in poverty in London. 

Luke Ellis,
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Vision

Every child has a fair chance to succeed

Mission

Using the power of sport and mentoring to develop the life skills of children and young people

Vision

Every child has a fair chance to succeed

Mission

Using the power of sport and mentoring to develop the life skills of children and young people

From our CEO

Joining Greenhouse Sports as the new CEO in January 2020, I was inspired by one simple message:  ‘Every child deserves a fair chance to succeed’. 

This charity’s mission resonates with me deeply, both personally and professionally. The challenge of inequality that our young people face now, particularly in the Covid and post-Covid world, has never been more stark, and the opportunity to make a difference has never been greater.

My first year hasn’t quite gone to plan, thanks to COVID 19. However we’ve reacted quickly, establishing a foodbank at the Centre in partnership with the North Paddington Foodbank, launching our #HomeCoach campaign to keep kids active during lockdown and providing over 850 young people with summer activities in parks and schools. I was amazed by the incredible response to our Life After Lockdown campaign, and, in the autumn we launched a bold new strategy for the charity that will enable us to support our young people earlier in their lives, more often and with deeper engagement.

Our new-look digital Annual Review captures and details the challenges and successes of the past year. Scrolling through the reports, data, moving stories and films of the lives of our young people and their families, I’m incredibly proud of how our coaches have responded and continued to deliver for our young people in spite of the barriers that the pandemic continues to place on their work.

It is thanks to the commitment of our supporters that Greenhouse Sports coaches were able to support nearly 7,500 young Londoners throughout 2020, from some of the most disadvantaged postcodes, on a daily basis. Our supporters; the donors, corporate partners and volunteers, really are making a difference and that drives us to keep aiming higher and further, engaging more youngsters with our coaches and programmes.

Despite the challenges, I am optimistic for the future. There has never been a greater need for us to raise our game and do all we can to level the playing field for young Londoners. 

Thank you

Béatrice Butsana-Sita
CEO

From Our CEO

Joining Greenhouse Sports as the new CEO in January 2020, I was inspired by one simple message:  ‘Every child deserves a fair chance to succeed’. 

This charity’s mission resonates with me deeply, both personally and professionally. The challenge of inequality that our young people face now, particularly in the Covid and post-Covid world, has never been more stark, and the opportunity to make a difference has never been greater.

My first year hasn’t quite gone to plan, thanks to COVID 19. However we’ve reacted quickly, establishing a foodbank at the Centre in partnership with the North Paddington Foodbank, launching our #HomeCoach campaign to keep kids active during lockdown and providing over 850 young people with summer activities in parks and schools. I was amazed by the incredible response to our Life After Lockdown campaign, and, in the autumn we launched a bold new strategy for the charity that will enable us to support our young people earlier in their lives, more often and with deeper engagement.

Our new-look digital Annual Review captures and details the challenges and successes of the past year. Scrolling through the reports, data, moving stories and films of the lives of our young people and their families, I’m incredibly proud of how our coaches have responded and continued to deliver for our young people in spite of the barriers that the pandemic continues to place on their work.

It is thanks to the commitment of our supporters that Greenhouse Sports coaches were able to support nearly 7,500 young Londoners throughout 2020, from some of the most disadvantaged postcodes, on a daily basis. Our supporters; the donors, corporate partners and volunteers, really are making a difference and that drives us to keep aiming higher and further, engaging more youngsters with our coaches and programmes.

Despite the challenges, I am optimistic for the future. There has never been a greater need for us to raise our game and do all we can to level the playing field for young Londoners. 

Thank you, 
Béatrice Butsana-Sita 

Béatrice Butsana-Sita
CEO

Anam's Story

Anam's Story

Anam is sitting in the hot summer sunshine bouncing a ball back and forth to her sports coach without a care in the world. Few onlookers would suspect that just a few months ago the same teenager was subject to panic attacks so crippling they could render her partially unconscious.

Numerous interventions - including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling - were tried and sadly failed until a remedy was finally found in the form of volleyball.

And her new-found confidence in the opportunities being offered by Greenhouse Sports enabled her to take a giant leap towards a trip organised by the charity and her school just before the outbreak of Covid-19 across Europe, in February.
The school team travelled to Conegliano, in Northern Italy, to watch a major volleyball game, and later to Venice to see the sights. Now, when Anam suffers a panic attack it is the photographs of this trip she turns to in order to ground herself and find joy.

And during lockdown, it was volleyball and her coach Luca once again, which helped reduce Anam’s anxiety. “During lockdown Luca kept in touch which really made me feel like I was being acknowledged. She even gave me the responsibility of leading some warm-up drills,” she says.

I love the sport but it is really the coach Luca who I have to thank for making the biggest difference to my life.

According to Anam’s mother Farhat, 46, the emergence of Greenhouse Sports in Anam’s life has made a difference to the wellbeing of the entire family.

A former art teacher who emigrated from Pakistan in 2000, she admits that she and her children have had to face many challenges.

“Before my eldest daughter was born, I lived in Lancashire where my husband’s parents are based. But he lived in London so there was a lot of travelling back and forth on coaches. I had no family here and missed my old life in Pakistan, where I got married outside of my family. My health declined after my marriage which was challenging and I was eventually diagnosed with complex PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) but I was expected to stay in the UK.

“Back in Pakistan I had two jobs and my own identity. I taught Modern Art at the Fatima Jinnah University and at the Army College, both in Rawalpindi. I love all artists from the Old Masters to contemporary Cubists. After my first child was born and we moved to London, I continued to pursue my love of art as a hobby and also opened a costume design shop. Dress-making is another passion.”

Dressed in one of her own stylish creations, Farhat frequently rubs her hands together as she talks about her children’s challenges. 

“Some of my children have been very impacted by the complications in the marriage and taking care of their needs meant I had to give up my shop and begin working from home. 

“My older children have needed a lot of support and, in a way, Anam has suffered because of that – she is the middle child. By 2017, she had started collapsing in school and she was referred to CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) but she refused conventional therapy and continued to struggle.

“Anam has severe panic attacks which can last between 1-2 hours. The attacks are sometimes so severe that she cannot stand afterwards and once I had to call 999.

“She finds social communication really challenging and is easily triggered into panic attacks by loud noises. 
“Despite all these challenges, she is a beautiful, gentle soul and on days when she is feeling well she loves cooking and volunteering at our local city animal farm.”

I just want my daughter to be independent and happy. Greenhouse has filled such a huge void for our family.

When Anam stays active it helps with her anxiety. Volleyball has become one of her coping strategies.

Farhat makes the point that the Greenhouse volleyball coach has also given HER piece of mind on days when she is concerned about Anam’s wellbeing. “I bonded with Luca straight away. She always gets back to me if I need her which gives me peace of mind. She is also very affectionate and insightful in terms of Anam’s needs.

“We tried CBT and it didn’t work. We tried counselling and it didn’t work. Greenhouse is the only thing that works.

“In March this year, Anam’s CBT sessions finished but she still didn’t want to step outside the house. She would tell me: ‘Mum, I’m feeling sick, I’m vomiting, I’m dizzy but… can I go to my Greenhouse session?’
“The relationship with Luca works because she doesn’t put Anam under any pressure to talk or answer questions but instead goes at her pace. The impact she has had on my daughter is huge. Without Luca and Greenhouse, it would be really difficult for Anam to go to school. Her attendance has shot up since having this charity in her life and it takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

“I just want my daughter to be independent and happy. Greenhouse has filled such a huge void for our family. When Anam stays active it helps with her anxiety. Volleyball has become one of her coping strategies.

“During the lockdown she was taking her fitness ladder out and has even started doing some assistant coaching alongside Luca since returning to school last week (mid June). Without the structure her coach was offering, lockdown would have felt even more gloomy and uncertain.

Coach Luca has been sitting protectively (at an appropriate social distance) beside Anam and Farhat throughout the interview. A caring and modest young woman, it is clear she is both delighted and a little abashed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The coach, who has worked for Greenhouse Sports for two years, says: “Hearing how much sport is helping Anam is incredible and very reassuring. Empathy and kindness are two of the most important things in life. If I work for ten years and manage to change just one life through sport I will be happy.

“I have always loved what Greenhouse stands for and I think it’s one of the best charities in London because I really believe in the power of sport to change and enhance lives. I have had so many opportunities through sport and I want to be able to facilitate those for others. I’m getting married this summer and my three bridesmaids are all girls from my volleyball team when I was Anam’s age – that’s how much sport has meant to me.”

Hungarian-born Luca credits her parents with shaping her life through sport.

Her father Geza is an Olympian who narrowly missed out on a handball bronze medal in a match against Yugoslavia in Seoul and her mother Ildiko has been awarded numerous caps for Hungary.

She adds: “Sport has been in my life for as long as I can remember and before. As a newborn, I was often in my mum’s coach’s arms while she trained and apparently I would be placed in a kart while he handed her balls.”

Eventually, Luca’s passion for sport led her to the UK. “I won a sports scholarship to the University of East London and completed my degree there between 2014 – 2017. During that time, I helped my mum (my family live near London now) to set up the Westminster Volley Ball club and upon graduating, I took a job in sports admin. That’s when the Greenhouse job came up and eventually the opportunity to coach Anam.

“When I first met her she was very, very quiet but nevertheless she showed up in the very first week I started work. Now she is very much part of the team and the sporting community at school. In fact – after the London Youth Games, which took place in March, we can now officially say she is a medallist. Her U15 team took bronze, making them the third best team in London. 
“But for me it’s not about the medals – it’s about knowing I’ve made a small difference to an amazing young woman’s quality of life. It makes my job one of the best in the world.”

How many children did Greenhouse support in 2020?

7,250

Greenhouse worked with 40 schools across 17 London boroughs and in the Greenhouse Centre, supporting 7,250 children and young people during the pandemic.

OUR IMPACT ACROSS LONDON IN 2019-20

The map below shows our work spanning 17 London boroughs. We target the young people who need us most by running our programmes in communities where there are high levels of deprivation (the deep purple areas) working in mainstream and special educational needs schools as well as running community clubs for our key sports.

who we work with

0

Total Participants

0

Programme Participants

0

Centre Participants

0 %

are female

0 %

are living in areas of deprivation

0 %

are of BAME groups

0 %

were previously inactive

our impact during lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic, which brought schools and our delivery almost to a standstill, means that the world is now a different place since our previous year’s review. As a result we decided not to compare our participants’ STEP skills (Social, Thinking, Emotional & Physical) between then and now, and instead saw an exciting opportunity for us to gain feedback on different topics, that are hugely important to Greenhouse. We carried out a survey of 494 respondents.

0 %

said Greenhouse makes them feel
part of a team

0 %

said Greenhouse allowed them to meet different people in their school

0 %

stayed active during lockdown

2020 -ADAPTING
TO A NEW WORLD

March 2020 heralded a crucial week in Greenhouse Sports fundraising, as the calendar fixture point for our annual Dodgeball tournament. This event involves 25 City corporations getting together for a bit of competition and supporting the charity, raising a signature amount of our annual fundraising needs. The event was cancelled amid the rising concerns over coronavirus and the tone was set for our year of responding to and rising to the challenge of an ongoing global crisis.

As the UK government reacted to seriousness of the fast-spreading Coronavirus, locking down the population in March, and the necessary but alarming decision to close schools, this dropped an immediate and resolute roadblock on the work of our charity and coaches.

COVID RESPONSE

Despite the incredibly difficult year 2020 brought us, we were still able to adapt our delivery and continue to be there for our young people when they needed us most.

0

people received food from the foodbank at the Greenhouse Centre throughout lockdown

0

young people and corporate volunteers participated in virtual leadership activities

0

virtual and in person coaching / mentoring sessions took place between lockdown and the start of the summer holidays

0

young people benefitted from these coaching / mentoring sessions

0
#HomeCoach video views

Although isolated from the 7000+ youngsters they mentor, our coaches went to work and re-invented themselves, creating an online coaching platform called #HomeCoach. The few coaches not furloughed delivered daily coaching content, distributed via social media and school online systems to connect across our entire network of programmes and participants.

We had more reason to feel proud of our coaches and our mission. On the same night as Dodgeball was cancelled, we celebrated the best of Greenhouse at the inaugural Sport Gives Back Awards and paid tribute to the winner of the School Sport for Development Award, St Paul’s Way Trust School, the school and leadership which inspired and pioneered our tennis programme. The film produced to showcase the school’s achievements evidences the best of Greenhouse Sports and our schools’ partnership programme. 

Fundraising took an immediate hit, with cancelled events opening more than a £1m shortfall in our finances. We launched the Life After Lockdown appeal to address this, accessing the Childhood Trust’s, Champions for Children Campaign, matching every donation received. We were overwhelmed by the response to Life After Lockdown, as the response from supporters, both dedicated and new meant we had raised £930,000 through the campaign. Sporting role models such as our ambassadors Sebastian Coe, Greg Rusedski and Ama Agbeze, joined the fundraising taking part in the London Marathon Trust’s 2.6 Challenge, for Greenhouse Sports.

The Greenhouse Centre, our HQ and community sports centre in Marylebone, repurposed itself as a food bank, partnering with North Paddington Food Bank, responding to the growing crisis in our local community of Church Street Ward, one of the most deprived wards in the UK. Over several months in the summer our coaches volunteered to help pack and deliver meals to nearly 1,000 local people through lockdown.

Summer eased some of the most stringent restrictions and the Centre could re-open and welcome our young table tennis groups to reconnect with their coaches again.

Our coaches throughout the schools were able to run socially distanced summer camps for their groups of participants in hubs across London. In proof of the lifeline our coaches often perform, we saw record numbers supported through the camps with more than 850 young people coached and mentored at this vital time.

In September, coaches and participants were reunited and the impact of the lockdown was clear on both the physical and mental health of the children across our schools.

Our CEO Béatrice led the organization in formulating and presenting a bold and vital strategy for the future intervention of Greenhouse Sports – Greenhouse 2.0. This primarily takes our vision of every child deserves a fair chance to succeed, to reach more children, engage even younger children and have a deeper impact. It includes an expanding level of support and expertise including mental health support and employability.

Greenhouse
Sports

Model

Earlier
More
Deeper

Passion
Commitment
Teamwork

Greenhouse 2.0 was launched with two unique ‘virtual’ events hosted in the Greenhouse Centre in November. For the first of these webinar events Sebastian Coe and Ama Agbeze joined Béatrice to introduce the strategy and underline the importance of sport for young people’s development and well-being. Following that Béatrice was joined by two leading and inspirational voices in the fight to reduce inequality and increase diversity, Heather Small and David Neita to present impassioned lived experience of bias and discrimination and inform an audience of corporate leaders and Greenhouse supporters what they could and should do to deliver change.

2020 was a year like no other and a future of even tougher hardships and a widening inequality gap is a stark prospect. Greenhouse Sports is more committed, supported and resolute than ever before that its work does and will make a difference for those that need us most.

I find it hard to push myself and speak up, but straight away Coach felt like someone who was not going to put pressure on me. She has a lovely, calm personality and doesn’t push us to win but just wants us to feel happy and comfortable and work well together.

Greenhouse Sports participant

Maison's
Story

During a crucial pre-match team talk, Maison was desperate to get his coach’s attention. The schoolboy needed his team to score 39 points in order to mark the 39th birthday his mum Erin would be celebrating if she had lived to see the match.

Maison, 13, explains: “Before my mum passed away in January last year, I promised her I would make her proud and I wanted to do that more than ever on her birthday.

“The team was amazing and we went on to beat the opposition 49 – 8 on that day. I really hope my mum was looking down on us to see it. Basketball is helping me a lot with life right now.”
Maison has sought solace in sport ever since losing his beloved mother to a long and exhausting illness which began when she contracted meningitis after having her gall bladder removed in 2015. Complications left her confined to a wheelchair and reliant on a feeding tube.

Memories of his mum are ever present: “My mum was the best mum ever. She always made sure I had everything I needed and everything was perfect. She wanted me to be a good person and try hard at things.”

He pauses – allowing tears to momentarily prick his eyes – before adding poignantly: “She told me she would never leave me.”

Sadly, it was one promise Erin could not keep and Maison and his sisters Taylor, 17, and Harley, 15, now live with their east London-based maternal grandparents Tony and Brenda, also known as ‘Mum 2’.
Maison is full of praise for his 65-year-old grandmother. “She is the exact same as Number 1 mum – always nice and kind. She makes sure I have nice food and lots of fun.

Taner grew up in a tough part of Walthamstow, east London, and admits:

I was the sort of kid we are sometimes supporting at Greenhouse, frequently getting into trouble with the law and rival gangs. I was brought up in a deprived area and basketball saved me from that life.

“She raises us properly, telling us that if we want something, we won’t just get it – we have to work for it. And my sisters are also caring. They help me a lot and never leave me out.”

Brenda spent years caring for her daughter and misses her deeply. She says: “If there was anything Erin could do to help someone else she would do it; if there was one last pound in her pocket she would give it.

“Her children were everything to her and she always made sure they had so much fun. If she took them to splash around in the park, she would also come home soaking wet. It’s been really hard to come to terms with losing her while continuing to support the kids.”

Brenda still recalls the day she lost her daughter and had to break the news to her grandchildren. Her eyes fill with tears as she explains: “The day Erin passed I got home and was met by Taylor who asked if she and Maison could go and see Mummy. Maison begged me to tell the doctors to turn her machine back on and I had to tell him: ‘No darling, her heart is broken.’ Maison was a mummy’s boy and has been affected deeply. He has cried but not as often as I would like.”

Worryingly, Brenda is now undergoing tests for cancer herself but is stoic about the outcome. “I’m not going anywhere yet. How can I?”

In the background Taner is listening to the conversation. Standing over 6ft tall, he looms large but has a gentle presence which does not overpower.
Along with Brenda, the caring Greenhouse coach has become a lifeline for Maison ever since arriving at the Raine’s Foundation School, in Bethnal Green, east London, 6 months ago.
He says the teenager made a huge impression on him early on: “Maison has been an inspiration to me from the start. Not long after I started working at the school he came into my office and said: ‘Coach, I want you to know something. If I seem down in training, it’s not because of you it’s because my mum passed away.’

When Coach Taner came to school he made a massive difference

“I was just blown away. It was a selfless act where he was putting my feelings above his own. I had never seen this before in a boy this age and if I’m honest I was holding back tears.

“Young people like Maison are the reason I am doing this job but I picked Greenhouse for a reason. A Greenhouse coach is different to a normal coach. We use sport to teach life-skills but more importantly to really get to know our students and form a bond with them. You don’t realise the magic of Greenhouse until you are in it.”

Taner grew up in a tough part of Walthamstow, east London, and admits: “I was the sort of kid we are sometimes supporting at Greenhouse, frequently getting into trouble with the law and rival gangs. I was brought up in a deprived area and basketball saved me from that life.”

The 36-year-old athlete said his love of the game was ignited by a single meeting with the London Towers team who visited his school to give out tickets to an upcoming game. He began engaging with the sport and was eventually offered an academy scholarship.


He recalls: “I was good at lots of sports and started playing semi-pro football but then an offer to play basketball at an academy outside London came up and my mum told me she wanted me to choose that path and get away from all the troubles. She was very wise.”


Taner’s talent eventually took him from shooting at an old school air vent to the University of New Orleans where he played NCAA Div 1 basketball before turning pro for teams in Italy, Portugal and England.
Finally, an injury forced him to re-consider his career path and he found Greenhouse. “Friends told me: ‘You will love it’, and I do,” he says.

It is clear that Maison idolises his coach and hangs on his every word. He explains: “When Coach Taner came to school he made a massive difference.

“Before, it felt like there was more focus on the older and better players and I didn’t feel like anyone noticed me but straight away he made us all feel included. I will never forget him getting the team to sing happy birthday to me not long after he arrived in Jan 2019. It meant a lot to me.

“He is never rude and always encourages us to do bigger and better things. He looks after me and never leaves me out.

“I told him I would like to make my mum proud and ever since then he has made sure I carry on and try my best. He makes me feel like I can’t give up, like nothing can stop me.”

Towards the end of the interview, Maison’s trust in Taner is evident when he tentatively swipes across his phone to reveal a song he would like to share with his coach.

“I wrote it for my mum,” he explains and wonders if Taner would like to hear it? “Yes please!”

Taner sits spellbound as heartfelt lyrics pour out including: ‘Mummy why did you have to go?/ I just want you to be here/ Mummy I love you so much/ Whenever I think of you I just want to hug
It would be the best if you were here today.’ They wrap around a chorus which repeats: ‘I’m gonna be here cheering you on.’

Maison’s precious mum can no longer do this in person but now there is a dedicated coach who is proudly taking up the baton for her at every single match.

Greenhouse Sports participants attended on average 4 more days of school compared to non-Greenhouse peers

JOIN OUR ONLINE COMMUNITY OF #TEAMGREENHOUSE AND BECOME A GAMECHANGER

Winning Gold: People's Postcode Lottery

£ 0
raised by Players to date

2020 marked the 5-year anniversary of our ongoing partnership with People's Postcode Lottery

Since 2016 players of Peoples’ Postcode Lottery have helped transform Greenhouse and the lives of the children we work with. Thanks to their longstanding and exceptional support, over the last 5 years we have grown into the largest sport for development charity in London, enabling exceptional sports coaches to be there every day and develop crucial life skills for young people in our capital city. Since players’ support began, a generation of Greenhouse children have started and finished their secondary schooling under the personal development framework a Greenhouse coach offers. And as we begin our new strategy, working with more children across more areas in London, the support of players is all the more essential – we couldn’t do this without them.

2016

We designed a bespoke way of capturing the impact Greenhouse coaches have on the young people we work with – our STEP framework was launched and we had 35 programmes in schools across London.

2017

Our founder Mike De Giorgio stepped down after 14 years at our helm, making way for our first professional CEO John Herriman. We also set up our Youth Council to ensure our beneficiaries’ voices are always being heard.

2018

We completed the refurbishment of our new home and community sports facility the Greenhouse Centre and opened our doors with the support of HRH’s William and Harry. This move took us from rented, serviced offices around London to a permanent home for our vital work.

2019

We hosted a week long interactive event in Spitalfields Market to showcase our inspirational coaching and our incredible children, and how the public can help support us. It was launched by Commonwealth Gold medal winner Ama Agbeze.

2020

We welcomed our new CEO, Beatrice Butsana-Sita, a global pandemic hit, and we found new ways of working, transitioning all our services online, launching #HomeCoach and transforming our home into a food bank.

It is quite astonishing to look at Greenhouse today, see the change and growth, and know that so much of this is made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Mike de Giorgio, Founder of Greenhouse Sports

If you or your organisation want to know more about partnering with our charity please contact our Director of Fundraising:

Richard's Story

Richard's Story

As a young child with undiagnosed learning difficulties, Richard struggled to shake off teachers’ opinions of him as ‘difficult’ and ‘naughty’.

A school day rarely went by when he wasn’t disciplined for fidgeting and distracting other pupils - a pattern which gradually chipped away at his self-esteem.

A formal diagnosis of ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) eventually explained his behaviour but did nothing to improve it without vital, specialist support.
So Richard’s mum Sarah took matters into her own hands and introduced him to basketball – a sport which has become her son’s saviour along with a Greenhouse Sports coach half his height.

Today, Richard (who already stands 6ft 5ins tall aged just 15) is shooting hoops in 30C sunshine with grandmother and basketball supremo Alexandra Raymond (5ft aged 56). During a break he is keen to talk about how much she means to him.

“Coach Raymond was one of the first teachers who I felt really believed in me. I was surprised when I first met her because she doesn’t look like your typical basketball player but she is an amazing player and coach – strict and firm but fair.

“She is the perfect person for me. She puts out a good name for me and lets people know how I really am,” enthuses Richard.

The pair stayed in touch via video link during the lockdown and now they are overjoyed to be re-united in person. “Seeing ‘Coach’ during lockdown really kept me going and helped me to manage the anxiety around it,” Richard adds.

Meanwhile the teenager from south London, candidly reflects on the painful process of trying to fit into an education system sometimes ill-equipped to deal with special needs.

Now I love basketball so much I want it to be my job. It feels like nothing else matters when I’m playing

He says: “I didn’t have many friends in primary school because I had too much energy for everyone else and people couldn’t handle it so something like a simple game of football would always end in arguments and a fight.

“I get easily distracted in class if lots of people are messing about and get tempted to join in. Then I have a hard time admitting to things when I have been involved.

“Some teachers see me before they actually meet me. They are told about my past behaviour and have perspectives of me which become fixed and that makes it hard for me to change myself when everyone sees me that way.

“One day, a primary school teaching assistant gave me a ball and told me to shoot it in a hoop. I started getting better and better and began watching videos of the Harlem Globe Trotters. I loved them because they just looked like they were having so much fun – always smiling and no arguments.

“Now I love basketball so much I want it to be my job. It feels like nothing else matters when I’m playing and when I’m stressed I just have to do some free throws and it’s a big stress release.
“There just isn’t one thing I could say to sum up what Greenhouse has done for me. They have helped me so much – really opened up my world and made my life so much better.”

Currently a pupil at the Harris Invictus Academy, in Croydon, and a player for the school’s Harris Invictus basketball team, Richard has developed a special bond with Alexandra since she took on the role of head coach in 2017.

He accesses her support on and off the court, where he is allowed to seek sanctuary in her school-based office when the classroom feels too overwhelming.

Richard’s mum Sarah has watched the relationship grow from afar. With a sigh of relief, she explains: “I just don’t know where we’d be without Alex in our lives. She is calm, level, kind and respectful with boundaries. He is now training with her 5 times per week and is allowed to seek her out during lessons if he is feeling triggered.

“Richard would not be in school now if it wasn’t for Alex. She is the second mum and Greenhouse has been a blessing on our whole family.”

Sarah, a 48-year-old nursery nurse, knew there was something different about her son from an early age but struggled to get formal support or an official diagnosis.

She recalls: “I suspected ADHD because it runs in my family. Richard was always very, very energetic. He had a scooter which I kept permanently in the boot of our car and and everyday when I picked him up from school, we would go straight to the park to burn off his pent up energy.

“Before his ADHD diagnosis there were some very difficult periods for him at school with teachers who misunderstood his behaviour and didn’t have the capacity to support his needs. Y3 was a particularly difficult year because he had a strict teacher who didn’t respond well to the fact that Richard could’t sit still in class. I was getting called in more and more.

“In Y4 I approached the school’s SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) and an assessment process was started but she told me her caseload was overwhelming which meant she wouldn’t even get round to focussing on him until Y6. I thought to myself: ‘By then, they will have crushed his spirit’.

“That’s the point where we began to seriously turn to outside activities. We tried karate, but Richard’s anxiety meant he spent the session talking at 100mph and the instructor just told us: ‘Come back next year’.

“Eventually, someone told us about an after-school basketball club and we gave it a try. The coaches were far more accepting and I could see straight away that bouncing the ball gave Richard a much-needed outlet for his frustrations.”

Still lacking any formal special needs support, Richard found the transition to secondary school particularly challenging. Navigating multiple subject teachers rather than one stable attachment figure was hard. But then, in Y8 a lightbulb moment occurred.

Sarah says: “He just came home and said: ‘Mum, there’s basketball at school with someone called Coach Raymond’ and I really love it.”

Within weeks, ‘Coach’ (as she is affectionately known among players) became Richard’s ‘go-to’ person. Previously, well-meaning teachers had told him to seek them out if his anxieties overwhelmed him – but demanding schedules invariably meant they were rarely available.

The game we are playing at Greenhouse is bigger than scoring.

I really believe in the charity’s ethos. The classroom can’t contain all students all the time but sport can help them release pent-up energy and that’s vital. Greenhouse is more than sport – the mentoring aspect is vital.


Sarah adds: “He would end up wandering round the school looking for them and then get told off for doing so. Richard is no angel but his real struggles are just seen as bad behaviour and this has resulted in endless detentions and exclusions.”

Alexandra is aware that she is more than a basketball instructor to many of the young people she teaches – a factor which attracted her to Greenhouse Sports and its core ethos of supporting children through key mentoring relationships.

“The game we are playing at Greenhouse is bigger than scoring,” she says philosophically. “I really believe in the charity’s ethos. The classroom can’t contain all students all the time but sport can help them release pent-up energy and that’s vital. Greenhouse is more than sport – the mentoring aspect is vital.

“Having the space to support Richard outside the classroom has enabled us to have an understanding and I think it’s fair to say I’m now someone who can tell him off without him taking it personally.

“Once we can get him more focused in class and enable his teachers to understand his needs more, there is a real chance he could go to America to play basketball and develop a career in sport.”

Now the proud mother of a 22-year-old daughter and 3-year-old granddaughter, Alexandra reveals that her lived experience has made her a passionate coach. She too was a child who occasionally found school challenging and sought solace in sport.

“I grew up in Brixton, London, as the youngest of 7 children. Our mum had mental health problems so I was sent to live with a family friend when I was around age 5.

 

“School was challenging because I was quiet and occasionally picked on. I was also quite fidgety and – like Richard – found concentrating hard. But then I found sport. In primary school I did everything – netball, rounders and athletics but I didn’t find my true calling until a female basketball teacher joined my secondary school when I was 15. She instilled a real love of the game in me and before long I was a club player.”

Alexandra went on to play for the respected Brixton Top Cats aged 19 and eventually qualified as a coach, passing on her expertise to players in the London Youth Games. She said: “I was just teaching what I knew and it gave me a different thrill to playing because my main passion in life is helping others.”

Outside sport, she has worked as a personal banking advisor for a well-known high street bank – but her love of teaching drew her back to basketball and towards Greenhouse in 2014. She now coaches 120 children aged between 12 – 16 and hasn’t looked back. “It isn’t really a job,” she says grinning, “It’s pure magic.”

Long after our interviews are over the point is proved as Richard and Alexandra continue to shoot hoops and laugh together in the sunshine seemingly oblivious to the sweltering heat.

She now coaches 120 children aged between 12 – 16 and hasn’t looked back. “It isn’t really a job,” she says grinning.
“It’s pure magic”.

She now coaches 120 children aged between 12 – 16 and hasn’t looked back. “It isn’t really a job,” she says grinning.
“It’s pure magic”.

Corporate
Volunteers

Our new corporate volunteering strategy was launched at the start of the year. However with in-person opportunities limited in 2020, we reacted quickly to provide our corporate partners and young people with a first-to-market virtual volunteering experience.

At a time when young people’s careers and work exposure opportunities are on hold, we held an online Leadership Week in August attended by 5 corporate partners, 6 school programmes and 40 young people. We also partnered our corporate supporters with a school programme to deliver a series of online workshops focused around developing leadership and employability skills for our young people while we also introduced mentoring sessions to provide career and life guidance.

Despite the need to completely rework our approach for an online model, we exceeded our pre-Covid targets. We engaged with 10 corporate partners and delivered 15 workshops for over 50 corporate volunteers and 120 young people. The sessions have been incredibly well received by our young people, coaches, school partners and corporate volunteers with these sessions being expanded into 2021. 

It was such an inspiring session and the group were great – I don’t think at that age I would have appeared so professional and forthcoming – they should be proud of themselves.

BNP Paribas volunteer

We were also able to engage many of our corporate and other volunteers in our Christmas Hamper campaign, providing, packing and delivering special food and gift hampers among the local community to the Greenhouse Centre. The support of all of our partner organisations allowed us to provide these hampers to more than 500 families at Christmas time.

Become a volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering with your corporate team, fill in your details below:

The News Agenda

The societal toll of the pandemic lockdown became an underlying national conversation throughout 2020, and created headlines with regularity, on jobs and life prospects, physical and mental health issues, and an equality gap that is becoming a chasm. No-one was immune from the seismic block to the national economy but one thing is clear, those in poverty or low economic status will be hardest hit and the life chances of the generation of children that Greenhouse supports, already in decline, has worsened due to Covid-19. Our media engagement and coverage increased as the charity used the spotlight to expose the issues, but also showcase the work and positive outcomes of our coaching programmes that are needed more than ever across London.

The Evening Standard and independent

Joel Archard, father of three, called Greenhouse “a beacon of the community”. His daughter Luna, now 12 years old, plays table tennis with Maria, a coach and mentor. “They didn’t let the lockdown stop them. They do zoom calls, and ask ‘how are you doing?’. It gives the kids a bit of structure to their lives.’

Charities such as Greenhouse Sports… continued to operate through the pandemic, though at a very reduced level when schools were closed, and proved they can provide sports and activity for young people in an engaging and safe way, under the restrictions.

Dailymail

Greenhouse Ambassador Sebastian Coe argued for the reintroduction of youth sport during lockdown as essential for the physical and mental health of the nation’s children, citing the transformative work of Greenhouse Sports

Evening standard

Our CEO Béatrice, presented the stark issues facing London’s youngsters and the positive impact of Greenhouse Sports as the nation returned to increasingly tighter restrictions.

City am

While in City AM she spoke of the mental health epidemic threatening our children.

The Guardian

Ama Agbeze, whom we are proud to call an Ambassador of Greenhouse Sports, in a brave and personal confession to The Guardian  lauded the work of our Coaches in telling of her mental health and fears for disadvantaged groups once the crisis is over.

Some children don’t have access to the internet, some children might not have a phone, might not have a laptop. It might be their parent’s or their caregiver’s phone which they don’t have access to. They might live in a flat and not have a garden. They have all these challenges and it’s only going to be worse. The work that Greenhouse does is really important, but a lot more needs to get done because I think we’re going to have a big crisis on our hands when this is all over.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph  reported on why sport matters so much to inner city children and through a spotlight on detrimental effect of not having the Greenhouse Centre open during November lockdown.

Recognising the crisis in the community around the Greenhouse Centre, on of the most deprived wards in the UK, Greenhouse partners with the North Paddington Food Bank, re-opening to operate as A food bank with coaches working as volunteers through and beyond the summer, serving hundreds of meals daily, even enlisting pop star Ellie Goulding and Chelsea FC’s England star Reece James  to help distribute the tons of food gathered by The Felix Project and Evening Standard/Independent’s campaign for #FoodforLondon

Income and Expenditure 2019-20

Our financial position

£ 0 m

Total operational expenditure

£ 0 m

Total income towards operational costs

£ 0 m

Cash reserves (4 months' operational costs)

Sources of income

Total amount: £4.9m

How we spent your money

Delivery of programmes

79%
Fundraising

12%
Senior Management & Governance

9%

For every £1 we spend on fundraising, we raise £7

Greenhouse Sports reserves policy aims to retain 3-6 months of operational expenditure. With 3 year contractual arrangements with all partner schools in place, the organisation needs to ensure the future funding is available.

Thank

you

Thank you

Every donation is hugely appreciated by Greenhouse Sports.

We respect our donors right to anonymity, but the following have given permission to be recognised. We also extend our gratitude to all individual donors.

Thank you for investing in young Londoners.

29th of May 1961 Charitable Trust

Alan Cristea Gallery

Allen & Overy

Alta Advisers Ltd

Artorius Wealth

Aviva Investors

Management

Baker Street Quarter

Barclays Bank Plc

BBC Children In Need

Belvedere Trust

Berkeley Homes

Bloomberg LP

Blue Water Energy

BNP Paribas

Bordeaux Index Wine

Daily Mail General Trust
d’Angelin & Co.

Garfield Weston Foundation

Goldman Sachs

IHS Markit

James Hambro & Partners

John Lyon’s Charity

JP Morgan

L & Q Housing Foundation

Lawn Tennis Association

London Marathon Events LtdM&G Prudential

Man Group

Markerstudy Group

Mary Kinross Charitable Trust

Meller Education Trust

Milton Damerel Trust

Mint Partners

Neighbourhood Keepers Fund

People’s Postcode Lottery

Peter Harrison Foundation

Royal Mid Surrey GC

Sebastian Coe Charitable Foundation

Sobell Foundation

Sport England

St James’ Place Foundation

Team Archie

The Childhood Trust

The Christopher Laing Foundation

The Desmond Foundation

The Diversity Project Charity

The Dorfman Foundation

The Howard de Walden Estate

The Midnight Club

The Neuberger Berman Foundation

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust

The TOMORO Foundation

Tossed

Tuixen Foundation

Unum Insurance

Westminster Adult

Education Services

Westminster Foundation

We are also incredibly grateful to the following for sharing their time, skills and resources with us as part of the Board of Trustees.

Sarah Chambers
Michael de Giorgio
Luke Ellis (Chairman)
Lynn Gadd
Andrew Lowenthal
Nicholas Prempeh
James Reynolds
Jill Sherman (resigned 30th June 2020)
Michael Sherwood
Alexandra Willis
Hilda Worth

Along with other friends of the charity

Penny Linnett
Jeff Berman
Alexandra Vincenzi
Gunner Burkhart
Frazer Blyth

Don't leave before joining!

Join for free to learn how sports and amazing people like you are changing young lives in London!