Q&A Dec19

Boys in Mind Meets...

An Interview with Jimmy Deane:

By: Kit Cooper-Harrison

Jimmy Dean, founder of Sporting Family Change

My name is Jimmy Deane, I’m the founder of Sporting Family Change. I’ve worked in sport all my life; rugby was my major sport a long time ago. Five or six years ago, I had this idea. I’d previously worked for a large sports charity in Bath, and from that I met lots of lovely people, so I had a bit of support. I got my laptop and googled “sport”, “family” and “change”. No one had the domain name and that was how it started. Sporting Family Change. A friend designed a logo. I gave her a book that I wrote, and she incorporated the book into the logo so it’s very personal for me and the family. 

There are 8 of us in the team, we’ve been a registered charity for three years. We’ve got primary mentoring, secondary mentoring, the H.O.P.E programme, which are group sessions for families, including gym sessions for adults where a lot of people get to meet, and then alongside that we work with young adults with learning difficulties to help create a social life for them so it’s very broad. I think where Sporting Family Change is unique is that we look to do things across the whole of society, not just certain demographics, we try to incorporate everybody.

Christmas is coming which is an exciting time but it’s good and it’s bad. We’ve got a lot of people with young families who don’t want it to come. The reverse is that we help lots of people, we’ve got 60 hampers going out next week. We just go and deliver to people that need it the most. We’ve done short breaks to Center Parcs for families who have never been away on holiday. We are constantly trying to create life experiences for people. We don’t look at the numbers of people that we see, we look at the quality of the people we find.

For me, charity is about giving and not necessarily money. The biggest thing is giving people time, the most precious thing in this world is time. We’re inundated by calls from secondary schools asking if we can take kids on. We run a tight business model, we’ve always done everything we said we’d do and more. We do what we call pay kindness and pure kindness. Pure kindness is being able to send someone on holiday for free, or just giving our time to listen, paid kindness is the work that we do with schools. It’s about 90% paid, 10% pure kindness at the moment, but we aim to be 50%/50%. Our model works and the need is so vast.

I’m in awe of the people that I meet. When people ask what motivates me, most days the people I meet are amazing. We live in a round world, not a square box, but society is trying to put everyone in boxes. Our mantra is that you need to be unconditionally kind, show people dignity and show them that the world can be better. If you do this for money and prestige, you’re in the wrong place. It’s about empowering people all the time to be themselves and more. Everybody wants to feel that they can go and do something.

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