When the exciting opportunity of carrying the Commonwealth Games baton came up, Tom Clarke-Forrest jumped at the chance.
An Executive MBA student studying within the Business School, Tom is also the founder of charity, Sport 4 Life. He told us more about his charity and the baton bearing experience.
Tell us about your time at BCU
I found out about BCU quite opportunistically actually. I found out about the Executive MBA course through a contact in Birmingham, and I haven't looked back! The first year had its challenges with predominantly virtual delivery and engagement (due to the pandemic), but the second year has included much more in-person collaboration and working alongside my fellow students on the course. I've really enjoyed it. There's been a lot of learning, a lot of research and reading, and broadening my knowledge and understanding of multiple business themes - all linked to the day job at Sport 4 Life UK. It's been hard work, and we're now deep into our final assignment. I look forward to graduating in a few months!
How and why did you set up your charity, Sport 4 Life?
Sport 4 Life UK was founded on the belief that sport, as a tool, has the power to change lives. This was my experience growing up - and combining this with key passions for young people and the region - motivated me to found an organisation built on this vision. The organisation continued to use sport and physical as a tool, combining it with accredited qualifications and structured 1-2-1 mentoring, to support young people (aged 11-29) from across the region to create a better future for themselves. It's been an incredible 16-year journey of growth, learning, development and most importantly - impact. You can find out more about our service, impact and team at www.sport4life.org.uk.
How did you become involved in the Commonwealth Games?
As a sport-for-development charity based in Birmingham and operating across the West Midlands, the Commonwealth Games offered a unique opportunity to enhance and accelerate our provision, partnerships and impact. We are a 'Unity By' partner in recognition of our overall work and values-alignment to the Games, are a key delivery partner on the 'Gen22' initiative, and have secured funding through the 'Bring the Power' initiative. In addition to this, we were also selected by Longines as their charity partner for the Games, and had 30 Baton Bearer places for staff and young people!
Tell us about the experience of being a baton bearer
It was an incredible honour, and genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To share the moment with my family – as well as other inspiring Baton Bearers – was an experience I’ll never forget.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Sport 4 Life UK's ambitions are to grow and expand its services, to drive through transformational improvement in its services, to be one of the best places to work in the West Midlands and to make key contributions to its community and society. You can join the newsletter on our website to keep up-to-date with our exciting developments!
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