The work of Track Academy by Connie Henry in Willesden will be under the national spotlight in an ITV documentary to be aired next Tuesday.
Run For Your Life, which will be broadcast at 10.45pm, highlights the transformative power of sport, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In the documentary, students of Track Academy explain how training at the Willesden Sports Centre influenced them at crucial stages in their lives.
The one-hour programme features contributions from well-known figures including Lord Sebastian Coe, Dame Kelly Holmes and Daley Thompson CBE. As former athletes, they give their personal insight into the importance of sport, particularly set against the modern backdrop of knife crime.
Indeed, the devastating impact of knife crime is highlighted with the contribution of Paul Barnes, whose 15-year-old son Quamari was stabbed to death in 2017. Paul expresses his hope that sport can help prevent further tragedies by steering young people away from crime.
Meanwhile, Connie explains her mission to ensure that every primary school in the country has its own qualified PE teacher in the future.
Connie said: “By watching the documentary, the public and politicians will witness a realistic picture of the challenges faced by today’s youngsters – and charities like Track Academy. My hope is that this can lead to a change in the perception of sport and have an impact on young people across the country.”
Run For Your Life is produced by Steve Boulton and Steve Cockett of Golden Egg Innovation and was commissioned by ITV Director Of Sport Niall Sloane. Steve Boulton said: “At a time when we hear plenty of sound-bite solutions to tackling knife crime, Run For Your Life hopes to shine a light on the challenges faced by today’s youth, viewed through the eyes of a sports charity & its founder, who have more than a decade’s experience making an impact on kids’ lives.”
Track Academy has launched a £24,000 fundraising drive via JustGiving. It costs around £500 annually per student to run athletics, education and mentoring programmes, with more than 1,000 sessions held across the year. To find out more and to donate to the cause, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/getontrack.
Run For Your Life will be available to view on the ITV Hub for 30 days after its television broadcast.