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Rafael Nadal launches initiative to inspire next generation of tennis fans

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Tennis Player Rafael Nadal launching Kia Clubhouse
Going strong: the 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal (center) has been partnering with Kia for over 15 years

Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal has collaborated with South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer Kia to launch a new initiative aimed at making tennis more accessible and inspiring the next generation of tennis fans.

The inaugural event to kick-start ‘Kia Clubhouse’ took place in Paris, this week, with 18 children from Fête le Mur, a non-profit organization based in Paris that supports over 13,000 disadvantaged children in more than 76 venues with a focus on sports, and six children from the grassroots tennis club Gennevillois, who were presented with a welcome pack that includes tennis equipment from Babolat as a special keepsake to empower a lifelong love for the game. Nadal made a surprise appearance to personally welcome the children and share what inspired him to play tennis and rank world No. 5 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

“The Rafa Nadal Foundation has done a lot of work to support children who need it the most, and we have witnessed the impact that tennis and sports can have on children’s education. So, I’m really happy to partner with Kia on Kia Clubhouse to make tennis more accessible to more children around the world. I truly hope this initiative will inspire others to do the same.” – celebrates the 21-time Grand Slam champion and Kia global brand ambassador.

Since 2004 the 35-years old tennis player has been acting as a brand ambassador for Kia and has featured in a series of campaigns over the years. In 2020 Nadal announced a five-year partnership renewal with the brand and, during the first year of the global banded Kia brought children together with the player as part of its #TakeOn20 campaign. The initiative, which launched in October 2020, galvanized fans from around the world to support Rafael to his record-equaling 20th Grand Slam victory, despite being unable to physically travel to Paris to watch him, due travel restrictions.

“At Kia, we believe in empowering people to make the most out of their lives. Kia Clubhouse was developed to provide a space for children who may otherwise have been unable to access the game of tennis. Together with Rafa Nadal, we hope to inspire children from all walks of life to get out there and play.” – says Artur Martins, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia’s Global Brand and Customer Experience Division.

The ‘Kia Clubhouse’ initiative will tour major cities around the world ahead of upcoming tennis tournaments.

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Thousands of free travel passes available to travel around Europe

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A solo traveler in Europe
Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days

Starting this summer, thousands of young people will once again travel around Europe by train for free thanks to the latest call of the DiscoverEU programme. Today at 12:00 CET during the European Youth Week buzzing with activities, the Commission launched the latest DiscoverEU application round. It will end on Tuesday 30 April at 12:00 CET.

In total, 35,500 travel passes are available. To get one, young people born between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006 can do a quiz with five questions about the EU and one additional question on the European Youth Portal. Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days between 1 July 2024 and 30 September 2025.

The call is open to applicants from the European Union and countries associated to the Erasmus+ programme including Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Türkiye. Ticket holders can plan their own routes or be inspired by existing ones. For example, they can discover a route launched last year, which focuses on cities and places making the European Union ‘beautiful, sustainable and inclusive’ in line with the principles of the New European Bauhaus.

Participants can also benefit from the DiscoverEU Culture Route an initiative of the 2022 European Year of Youth that combines various cultural destinations including architecture, music, fine art, theatre, fashion and design. Participants can visit the European Capitals of Culture which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List,  European Heritage Label sites, or Access City Award label locations, which are cities that have gone above and beyond to become more accessible to everyone.

Participants will also receive a discount card with over 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services in eligible countries. Additionally, Erasmus+ National Agencies organise pre-departure information meetings, and national agencies across all Erasmus+ countries prepare DiscoverEU Meet-ups, learning programmes lasting from one to three days.

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£50,000 prize to be split between female racers and soccer tournaments

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£50,000 prize fund to be split between female racers and soccer tournaments in the UK
Danielle Udogaranya (Ebonix), Harrie Silver (Harrie) and Shauna Ward (Shauna Games) announce the launch of a series of women’s esports tournaments

A women’s only esports initiative has been announced as the first-of-its-kind in the UK, in a bid to improve diversity and inclusion in the gaming world.

The series of tournaments provide a platform for talented women gamers to showcase their skills. It is the first women’s esports tournament to award professional contracts as well as cash prizes to winners. This follows research that revealed out of all esports pros, only 5% are women despite women making up 47% of all gamers in the UK.

The women’s esports initiative is being brought to life by Sky Broadband in partnership with the Guild Esports company, co-owned by football legend David Beckham. Both Sky Broadband and Guild share the mission to create a more inclusive esports industry.

The initiative is made up of two tournaments: Racers Eseries, a SIM racing-based competition, and the Soccer Eseries, an esports football tournament, culminating in the Women’s Esports Finals. With a total prize pot of £50,000 split between the tournaments, all competitors at the Women’s Esports Finals will receive a cash prize, with the two ultimate winners of the Racers Eseries and Soccer Eseries also awarded a pro contract each and free Sky Broadband for 18 months.

  • Racers Eseries – taking place from the 26th April to 19th May in person and online: SIM racing-based competition – ten gamers will make it through to the Women’s Esports Finals
  • Soccer Eseries – date to be announced later this year: an esports football tournament, the top four gamers will make it through to the Women’s Esports Finals
  • Women’s Esports Finals – date to be announced later this year: The UK’s first-of-its-kind Women’s Esports Final hosted LIVE and streamed from Sky headquarters

As part of the coveted esports pro contracts, winners will receive bootcamp training, access to top-class facilities and experts including nutritionists to help them keep at the top of their game.

Amber Pine, MD, Sky Connectivity said: “At Sky Broadband we’re committed to powering the gaming community, and we want to help ensure it’s an equal playing field for all. We’re creating new, safe and equal opportunities for woman gamers, working with Guild Esports for the past two years to achieve this ambition. This first-of-its-kind initiative opens up new avenues to help women go pro, with contracts and cash prizes up for grabs.”

Despite the growing popularity of esports and large prize funds, research by Bryter revealed over half (56%) of women feel that there is a great lack of women gamers in esports, and similarly 54% agree that the gaming community isn’t doing enough to encourage women gamers.

However, the report also found that 36% of women gamers would consider entering an esports tournament.

Those looking to take part in the tournaments can visit https://www.sky.com/broadband/gaming for more information on how to sign up. Entrants must be 18 or over and UK residents.

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Hospitality academy is training rough sleepers in London

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Hospitality academy is training rough sleepers in London
20 candidates are being trained on-site with hospitality skills including communication and leadership | Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

Saira Hospitality, a non-profit transforming the way hotels connect with local communities through education, and The Hotels with Heart Foundation are partnering to offer hospitality training for 20 rough sleepers whilst they are being temporarily housed inside St Giles Hotel in Bloomsbury, London.

The innovative partnership centres around a four-week hospitality school inside St Giles Hotel, who launched The Hotels with Heart Foundation in 2023 to give back to the communities sustaining the hotels.

Between 8th April and 3rd May, 20 candidates are being trained on-site, enrolling in Saira Hospitality’s life-skills-focused curriculum that teaches communication, leadership, emotional intelligence and other essential hospitality-focused life skills.

New research from the homeless charity Shelter shows at least 271,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, including 123,000 children. This figure means one in 208 people in England are without a home, and 2,400 people are sleeping rough on any given night.

The Academy marks another step forward for Saira Hospitality, who migrated their pop-up hospitality school concept to London in 2022 following seven years of operating in global destinations such as Namibia, Mexico, The BVI and the US. It also marks the first time that Saira has partnered directly with another non-profit organisation in the UK. Hotels with Heart are sponsoring the entire cost of the programme via funds generated from their Regenerative Hospitality Campaign, which pledges to raise £1 million benefiting local communities.

The initiative combines classroom-based learning with experiential work placements inside a group of leading hospitality employers in London, who have pledged to support the initiative with workplace mentoring and guaranteed job interviews for candidates after the programme ends. These businesses include Z hotels, Marriott, and Accor. The programme also blends hospitality integration opportunities for its learners, many of whom have never stepped inside London’s leading hospitality businesses. These integration experiences include a private dining experience hosted by Kerth Gumbs inside his restaurant Fenchurch at Skygarden. Students will also take a walking tour of Saira Hospitality’s London hotel partners, visiting various properties and experiencing different styles of guest service.

Saira Hospitality’s partnership with Vizzy, an online CV-alternative platform, also helps learners illustrate their personalities and experiences outside of the traditional CV format. Saira Hospitality believe that the traditional CV format can be disheartening for candidates from overlooked backgrounds, who may lack typical experience or access to education.

“When reading the list of partners who are supporting this initiative, it’s impossible to not be inspired by the generosity on show. From individual hospitality legends like Kerth Gumbs, to multinational hotel brands and of course St Giles Hotels, without whom this programme wouldn’t be possible. We believe the greatest atrocities must be met with creative partnerships, and we’re proud to be launching this programme, an initiative that we hope will be repeated in years to come,” says Greg Früchtenicht, COO at Saira Hospitality.

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