Inspiring young people in the UK to lead more positive lives

The following is an interview with Dame Kelly Holmes, founder of the DKH Legacy Trust.

1. What is the DKH Legacy Trust?

The Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust is committed to getting young lives on track.

We help elite athletes use their world-class experience to engage, enable, and empower disadvantaged young people to lead more positive lives.

With our retired athletes’ mentoring and support, we give young people opportunities to volunteer, access employment or training, and participate in sport and healthy lifestyles. Through this we increase their chance of ‘getting their lives on track’.

2. What are some of its most recent accomplishments?

In 2012, Sport England committed to investing £6.9 million of National Lottery funding to expand the charity’s ‘Get on Track’ programme right across the country.

This has marked a monumental change for the charity, as we will now be able to use sport to help change the lives of 3,000 young people over the next four years.

3. Why did you decide to start/set-up the Trust?

I set up my charity on the eve of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. My vision was make the most of world class athletes’ experiences and the life skills they learn competing at the highest level, to mentor disadvantaged young people and help make a difference to their lives.

At the same time, I also wanted to offer a support route for fellow athletes who were reaching the end of their careers. The transition from elite competition back into everyday life is not easy, so I wanted to do address that as well.

4. What about your work motivates you?

I have seen firsthand just what an impact an elite athlete can have on a young person. I have been inspired by athletes when I was younger, and I have been in a position in my career when I have been able to inspire young people.

This is something unique that only athletes have, and we cannot ignore this potential athletes have to bring out the best in young people, whether it’s in sport, or in life.

5. How did you come to begin working with CAF America?

We were recommended to approach CAF America by another charity and then by chance as were starting this process Cisco identified us to be part of their employee match fund programme and there was a due diligence that we needed to go through to be accepted which was run by CAF America.

6. How would you describe your relationship with CAF America, and what is it like to work with us?

We are at the start of a relationship, the due diligence was a rigorous process but fair and supportive. We hope to develop this in time and some of our new relationships we are forming have links with CAF America so this is good for us.

7. What do you think is the greatest challenge you would (publicly) like to discuss re: the Trust?

We face challenges everyday at the Trust. Whether it concerns fundraising, or whether we are starting our latest young people programme, there is always a challenge ahead.

We are at our busiest time since we began back in 2008, and while this is a challenge, it is still fantastic news as it means we are moving in the right direction, where we can continue to provide support to those young people who need it most.

8. What would you most like people to know about you and your role with the Trust?

I am the Chair of the DKH Legacy Trust, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously. From attending Board meetings to attending fundraising events and working directly with young people, I try to be involved with the running of the charity as much as I can.

9. What might you recommend to others who may have a cause they want to champion via CAF America?

You can only learn more by working through CAF America and that has got to be good!

10. Anything else to add?

To find out more about the charity please visit www.dkhlegacytrust.org.

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Photo provided by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

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