Sporting Marvels is a Christian charity working with over 1,000 children per week through primary and secondary schools in the Rhondda Valleys of South Wales. Rhondda is one of the UK’s most deprived areas, with several wards listed on the lower end of Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. The region suffers from high unemployment (primarily due to the closure of its Coalmines in the 1980's), high levels of drug and alcohol misuse, and few positive role models for its children. Additionally, Rhondda fell far since the Welsh Revival and in 2001, the Census recorded that less than 0.9% of the population regularly attended church – a statistic that was the lowest in the UK at that time!!
Sporting Marvels has been working to change the status quo in Rhondda for over 16 years now, helping young people to grow in confidence and self-esteem by introducing them to Christianity in a contemporary way. With the aim of putting a positive Christian role model (a ‘Marvel’) in front of every Rhondda pupil, age 10-18, every day, the ministry has succeeded in making Jesus and Christianity relevant to an entire generation that otherwise, would not have been reached. Brian & Betty have helped make this possible, first getting behind the vision in the mid-noughties, supporting Founder & Chairman, Phil Davies, and the first overseas Marvels to bring through today’s homegrown Christian role models who were once young people being discipled through the various programmes: once influenced, now influencing.
More recently, the Souter Charitable Trust has helped Sporting Marvels establish one of the UK’s most innovative and effective Christian teaching curriculums covering RE, PSE & PE. Delivered in over 20 secular primary schools on a weekly basis, the programme has flourished over the last five years, garnering special praise from Headteachers, parents, and of course, from the kids themselves.
Since 2019, Brian & Betty have also supported the Dream Centre Wales Church vision which was established out of the work of Sporting Marvels. Their generosity has enabled the church to meet at a modern college facility close to the centre of the region and with continuous growth over the last three years and a congregation average age of below 25, the potential is amazing.