13 Nov 2015

Standard Chartered PLC today renewed its decade-long sponsorship for the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) Community Rugby outreach programme and local sports charity Operation Breakthrough for an additional three years.

Mark Dowie, Interim CEO, Corporate & Institutional Banking of Standard Chartered, was the guest of honour at today’s signing ceremony alongside Case Evereart, Director of Youth for the HKRU and Barry Smith, Chief Superintendent of Police and Executive Director of Operation Breakthrough.

“Standard Chartered has been a sponsor of the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Rugby outreach programme and Operation Breakthrough rugby section since 2006. The 2015/16 season marks the 10thanniversary of our sponsorship for these programmes, and we are pleased to renew our sponsorship at this milestone.

Through these meaningful initiatives, not only can young people build up their skills and knowledge of rugby, but more importantly, they can learn the importance of teamwork, trust, respect for others and discipline as well as develop a sense of achievement and confidence, which are all crucial elements for their future development. These qualities echo the core values of Standard Chartered, and our long-term commitment to these outreach programmes has demonstrated our promise to be ‘Here for good’,” said Mr Dowie.

Mr Everaert thanked Standard Chartered and Operation Breakthrough for their commitment, saying, “The support of Standard Chartered has been instrumental in helping Hong Kong rugby reach out to the wider community to share the positive values of our sport. With the funding provided, we have been able to prioritise rugby as a means of social engagement and a support structure for at-risk youth across the city.

“On behalf of the thousands of young players who have benefited from the Standard Chartered-funded programmes, we extend our sincere thanks to the Bank for their support and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership to be a force for good in our community,” Mr Everaert added.

“Operation Breakthrough and Standard Chartered make a great team, and we have enjoyed getting to know their staff volunteers who regularly come along to our matches and events to show their commitment and engagement with the work we do.We are immensely proud of the youngsters who have gone through the Breakthrough programme, and we believe sport has the power to change lives – nine Breakthrough graduates have gone on to become police officers, a truly remarkable achievement,” added Chief Superintendent Smith.

Over the past decade, HKRU’s programmes under Standard Chartered’s sponsorship have multiplied in scale and reach, reaching thousands of youngsters across Hong Kong, many of whom were at risk of juvenile offences until they became involved in the game.

With the support of the Bank, in each rugby season Operation Breakthrough brings over 100 young people the opportunity to take part in rugby competitions.Beneficiaries of Operation Breakthrough have grown to become very much engaged with rugby – and benefit from an enhanced and positive outlook on life.

Peter Ng, HKRU Senior District Development Officer, was one of the first players to be recruited into the Operation Breakthrough rugby programme.

“Rugby has given me a lot of self-confidence and a structure in my life at a time when I was at risk of making bad decisions. Ten years on, I am excited to give back to the community. Kids these days will listen to me as I have been at the same crossroads as they are at now.”

Other encouraging examples include Ivan Chan, Assistant District Development Officer at the HKRU and a coach with Operation Breakthrough, who was one of the initial recruits and subsequently represented Hong Kong in international games; and Tank Lam, who joined the rugby programme through a Police Superintendent’s Discretion Scheme and has also represented Hong Kong in international matches and is currently coaching at Operation Breakthrough and for the Police Mini Rugby Club.

With Standard Chartered’s sponsorship, HKRU is able to engage eight full-time District Rugby Development Officers who work year-round to promote the benefits of rugby: teamwork, camaraderie, leadership and fair play – to a wide segment of youth across Hong Kong.

The support from Standard Chartered has also helped drive the creation of a variety of inclusive rugby programmes at the HKRU, including a training programme for 25 residents of the Tuen Mun Boys Home; the “Don’t Drop the Ball” programme which is run in 35 local schools in association with the Hong Kong Police Force; and a first-in-Asia programme for young people with hearing-impairment which reaches 30 enthusiastic individuals at two educational institutions for the audibly impaired, and includes reciprocal tours with other such institutions in the region.

Collectively, these programmes reach over 2,000 young people every year.

Standard Chartered has been sponsoring the HKRU’s Tertiary Rugby programme, which is serving 25 tertiary institutions across Hong Kong; and the Hong Kong International Youth Tournament, which each year involves over 350 young people from Hong Kong and around the region.

Standard Chartered’s sponsorship of the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s Community Rugby programme and Operation Breakthrough adds to its strong profile of community investment in Hong Kong, including its long-running signature events, Standard Chartered Arts in the Park, which saw its 15th anniversary this November and the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, which will mark its 20th anniversary in January 2016.