A major success was hailed last Thursday as the great and good of the City of London and beyond descended on Threadneedle Street’s M Restaurant for the annual School of Hard Knocks Long Lunch.
Rugby World Cup winners, international sports players, broadcasters and brokers all played their part in raising over £100,000 for the School of Hard Knocks.
The charity aims to empower and support individuals who are living in complex and challenging circumstances through sport and group activities.
The dulcet tones of TV commentator and charity auctioneer Jonny Gould not only handled the excitable room with ease (who wouldn’t be excited about a possible trip to the Alps or signed 2003 Rugby World Cup merchandise?) but he too explained, as a minis rugby coach, how young people can benefit from group inclusion in a sports environment.
The message is clear: the School of Hard Knocks’ aim to develop confidence, commitment, communication, control and cohesion in young people received overwhelming backing on the streets of the Square Mile.
“In every sense this was our best ‘Long Lunch’ to date,” chief executive and founder of the charity Ken Cowen told City A.M. “As usual the team at M Restaurant were amazing and crucially, lots of new friends were made.
“Above all, it was a day when so many supporters from the City came together and raised enough money to pay for 170 young people to go through the ‘School of Hard Knocks for schools’ programme for an entire year.
“That is an incredible act of generosity for just one lunch time! Without this kind of corporate partnership and support, we simply could not sustain our work.”
Among those with tables were Investec and Coutts, while Falko and Two Circles were also present.
The electric atmosphere was only softened when guests were asked to look for placards on their tables marking the journey of some of those who have gone through the programme.
Charity aids success
Table 10’s story was of a youngster who once surrounded himself with people who brought out negative behaviours. They struggled to converse and would regularly get into trouble inside and outside of school.
After his time with the School of Hard Knocks the youngster was able to speak openly about his challenges and problems, helping him see things in a new, positive light.
A theme of not wanting to let the next generation down seemed to be at the heart of the motive to attend, pledge and bid throughout the event.
Sport can often be the key to unlocking potential: we have seen this with countless stories of how rugby, football, cricket, athletics and others give kids the chance to try something new and escape.
The School of Hard Knocks states that their use of physical activity works in tandem with the application of group and one-to-one mentoring whereby individuals are able to understand their lived experiences and how to develop going forward.
The data doesn’t lie. With 90 per cent of course participants stating that they’re more confident after working with School of Hard Knocks, 91 per cent feeling more engaged at school and 89 per cent feeling more hopeful for the future; the incredible generosity on Thursday represents a day the City of London can be extremely proud of.
If you would like to learn more about SOHK’s Corporate Partnership opportunities please visit www.sohk.org.uk/corporate-partnerships