British High Commission and Heroes Foundation “Conversations on sports and mental-well-being”
9th August 2023 – Port-of-Spain: British High Commission and Heroes Foundation hosted “Conversations on Sports and Mental Health” at Queen’s Hall, which brought together sporting greats from Trinidad and Tobago and Commonwealth Youth Games athletes from Trinidad and Tobago, England, Scotland and Anguilla. The event was
sponsored by Proman, with its brilliant team of 30 volunteers and Angostura.
The Heroes Foundation, which inspires and empowers children and youth to find the hero within themselves and to build a safe and sustainable future brought over 400 youths from 14 organisations throughout Trinidad and Tobago, including rural communities to the sessions. It was one of the largest sessions of this nature in recent times and showed the value of collaboration and coming together in empowering and supporting youth for a better future.
The event opened with welcoming remarks from Her Excellency, British High Commissioner Harriet Cross who said “ Sports can have a profound and positive impact on mental well-being, including improving your mood and fostering discipline. It can bring together communities, help forge lifelong friendships and take you to different places. The athletes will share with you how they have dealt with successes and failures and how sports play a role in their mental well-being.” David Roberts, Permanent Secretary (a.i) of Ministry of Sports and Community Development, in his remarks, reminded the youth that “they were all winners and have much to contribute to wider communities and
PHOTO: Ryan Bachoo, in conversation with Thema Williams; Cleopatra Borel Brown; Jehue Gordon; and Rayad Emrit
The first session was facilitated by multimedia journalist, producer and anchor, Ryan Bachoo, in conversation with Thema Williams, the first gymnast to represent Trinidad and Tobago at a world championship; Cleopatra Borel Brown, shot putter and 2014 Sportswoman of the Year Award recipient; Jehue Gordon, multiple medalled track and field athlete and team leader of the Trinidad and Tobago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games; and Rayad Emrit, West Indies all-rounder, who toured India with the squad, and who was included in Stanford Superstars squad for the Stanford 20/20 for 20.
PHOTO: Chinali Patel, in conversation with multiple medal winners, Nikoli Blackman; Matthew Ward and Holly McGill; Nick Finch and Skye Carter; and Sage Connor
The second session was facilitated by British High Commission Head of Political and Press, Chinali Patel, in conversation with multiple medal winners, Nikoli Blackman from Trinidad and Tobago; Matthew Ward and Holly McGill from Scotland; Nick Finch and Skye Carter from England, who also set new Commonwealth Youth Games records; and Sage Connor from Anguilla who qualified to the semi-final stages in athletics at the Games.
Speaking at the event, Heroes Foundation CEO thanked the athletes for sharing their powerful and inspiring stories and encouraged the young participants to work hard towards their dream.
He noted, “Young people have the power to shape an extraordinary world. It starts by believing in yourself, and then, by collaborating and by being responsible global citizens. The impact of sports goes beyond just the games. You’re building communities, your developing critical skills, and you’re doing it together. Imagine what else you can achieve by working together, learning from one another and those who have gone before you, sharing your diverse perspectives and skills to help solve complex problems.”
The sessions received an overwhelming response. Various questions were put to the athletes from youth on how they dealt with anxiety, daily pressures, leading a happy life, effects of social media and preparing for games to more light hearted questions on music they like listening to get them motivated ahead of a game, diet of a sportsperson and their favourite memories of Trinidad and Tobago.
There was also a short and engaging quiz, testing the youth on what they had learned from the sessions including some fun giveaway prizes. The energy, community spirit and love for sports was felt throughout which made the sessions hugely memorable.
OUR PARTICIPANTS – AUDIENCE
- The Heroes Foundation
- Scouts TT
- Mayaro Past Student’s Association
- No Youth Left Behind
- Ryu Dan Empowerment Foundation
- St. Dominic’s Children’s Home
- D Eastern Cricket Academy
- Birdsong Academy
- Sangre Grande Development Foundation
- NiNa Young Women’s Leadership Programme
- UWI Guild
- St. James Police Youth Club
- Tranquility Secondary School
PHOTO: Nikoli Blackman with PROMAN Foundation
PHOTO: Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards and Nikoli Blackman with D Eastern Cricket Academy