Local sports organisation wins international recognition

James Mapstone

At the Bristol Post awards. L-R: Montell Ferguson, Becca Owen (Access Sport), Maggy Blagrove and James Mapstone. Photo: James Mapstone.

By Community Reporter Rebeca Castineira

A Knowle West company that uses sports to increase job opportunities has won a string of awards in the past few months – as well as international acclaim.

Staff from 2nd Chance Project, based at The Park in Daventry Road, have just returned from Philadelphia in America where they were a finalist for the Beyond Sports Awards.

This award is international recognition for companies working for social change through sport.

Director James Mapstone explains: “We were a finalist in the category of ‘Sports for Conflict Resolution’ for our work in prisons. It seems that we are getting recognition for the hard work we’ve done.”

The company also launched their ‘Beyond the Bars’ initiative in America and are now trying to expand this model in 100 prisons worldwide.

In July the company also won Bristol Post ‘Training Provider of the Year’ Award which Mr Mapstone feels is ‘because as a small training provider we are passionate about the progression of young people.’

And he says: “We are also proud that one of our employers, Access Sport, won Small Employer of the Year and one of our apprentices, Montell Ferguson, was a finalist for Apprentice of the Year.”

The team has been working since 2008 with offenders and isolated communities, people who Mr Mapstone explains ‘may not traditionally have been seen as employable’.

He says: “But we are helping them to find an opportunity and our progression rate into employment is higher than the national rate. This is one of the things that helped us to win the Training Provider award.”