Postcard from Ryan Woodard – United Kingdom

Levelling the playfield field: Giving a Dreamcatcher kid a sporting chance

Ryan Woodard playing with kidsI love sport! It can have numerous benefits including helping to develop confidence, engendering team work and improving fitness. It also brings communities together.
Since I began my involvement with the Dreamcatcher Foundation in 2009, I’ve loved playing sport in the communities across South Africa and seeing what a positive impact sport can have. In the majority of the communities there is nowhere for the kids to buy sports equipment (or where they can its too expensive) so over the past few years we’ve given out football and rugby balls, cricket sets, table football, basketball hoops, table tennis and swing ball sets.

One of my highlights was returning to Stutterheim with new kit for the Dreamcatcher kids. On a previous visit I’d spent 3 hours playing football with 40 kids when all of a sudden the biggest storm I’d ever seen started! On that visit we spent time with the kids and they desperately needed a new kit – so we asked them to design it along with a badge. Working outdoors of necessity through lack of amenities, proved no problem. Everyone joined in. Small children sitting on fences and in the dirt road, showing their interest was inspiring and heart warming.

Stutterheim_kids_singing_dancing_movieA couple of years later we finally made it back and as we drove into Stutterheim about 100 kids and many adults were waiting – the excitement as we gave out the kit and the team ran out into their community is something that I’ll never forget – see for yourself in pictures and the video!
The local school principal shared what an impact the project has had on the youth at school and that our “team” was now inspiring their younger peers to give up hanging about on the streets to form their own team: enthusiastically supported by their very own local coach from the community. We even wore our Brighton Club shirts to take the Seagulls to South Africa!

The atmosphere in the community was one of the most memorable experiences, which will stay with me. It inspires me to go back again and again.

Ryan Woodard
Brighton, United Kingdom

Brighton Football Club season ticket enthusiasts Anthea and Ryan with the Dreamcatcher Kids football team in Stutterheim South Africa.

Brighton Football Club season ticket enthusiasts Anthea and Ryan with the Dreamcatcher Kids football team in Stutterheim South Africa.