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NatWest - J

By JERRY WHITSEY Chair of the NatWest Corporate Sustainability Board

Contact Details: T: 01534 282850


With a broad sport sponsorship programme from the Jersey Cricket Board to the NatWest Rising Star at the Channel Islands’ Sports Personality of the Year Awards, perhaps our most high profile support is evident through the funding of the NatWest Island Games. This international, multi-jurisdictional event for which we have been the title sponsor since the Gotland Games in 1999, is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our sports sponsorship programme.

The NatWest Island Games form a significant part of our islands’ cultural landscape. Appropriately regarded as the ‘Community Bank’, NatWest is proud to support the Games which provide a platform of opportunity for sportsmen and women from island communities around the world to enjoy friendly but serious competition in 14 different sports categories, over seven days. The last NatWest Island Games, held in 2011 in the Isle of Wight, attracted almost 3,500 competitors and officials, which is a record breaking number, with many more island representatives and supporters in attendance. We were proud to support 10 of our own staff members competing in the 2011 Games.

The ‘Inter-Island’ Games were born in the Isle of Man in 1985, with the intention of bringing together a number of small islands from different parts of the world in friendly competition as part of the Isle of Man’s Year of Sport. Athletes came from as far as

Iceland and Scandinavia in the northern hemisphere, the British Isles, the Mediterranean, down to the

Page 58 Jersey's Olympic Legacy

bringing islands together

erry Whitsey, looks at why the NatWest Island Games represent the ‘jewel in the

Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. In total, 15 islands took part. The idea was to provide an opportunity for hundreds of young sportsmen and women from small island communities, to compete and enjoy international competition against other islanders with similar standards of performance.

In many ways,

sporting competition is only one aspect of the success of this event. As important are the opportunities it affords to share thoughts and experiences relating to our unique island stories.

The Festival was such a success that it was agreed to continue it every other year, with Guernsey hosting the Games in 1987. The Games have subsequently been held in the Faroe Islands, Isle of Wight, Gibraltar, Jersey, Gotland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Shetland Is, Rhodes and Aland.

With our sponsorship the NatWest Island Games have grown to be one of the largest multi-sport events after the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Our sponsorship ensures that the smaller island communities have the opportunity to participate in higher level competition. All member islands have encouraged their sportspeople to try harder and train longer by providing them with clear training objectives and goals. As part of our sponsorship, the NatWest Sports Development Programme promotes sports activities within the member islands, supporting young athletes at grass roots level to ensure that future generations are able to compete at this high level. To date, there has been over £100,000 granted to member islands from this scheme. We have seen the Games flourish over the past 14 years to involve 24 islands around the world and we are delighted to have extended our sponsorship to include

both Bermuda in 2013 and Jersey in 2015.

NatWest's community investment sits at the heart of how we operate our business. We engage in a range of activities that we hope will make a real difference to the communities in which we work and the momentum builds year on year. The NatWest Island Games can be the pinnacle of our sportsmen and women’s sporting ambitions, but bringing the islands together and hosting the Games in our home jurisdiction of Jersey makes a wider contribution to the Island’s community. The reason that we support the NatWest Island Games is that people become involved in sport, driven by a desire to improve both themselves and their results, to perform a little better than others through their skill, power and dedication.

The concept of improvement through the societies within the International Island Games Association coming together has measurable improvement beyond sport. The Games provide opportunities for cultural exchange and social interaction with visiting teams, establishing lifelong friendships with fellow islanders. As unique communities unlike larger populations, the islands within the Games are inspired through their unity to improve their own administration, laws, finances and the ways that islanders live their daily lives together. Our sustained commitment to the Games is driven by our responsibility as one of the leading employers in Jersey to integrate our business fully into local life. We recognise that those partaking act as ambassadors, for their dedication to their sport, inspiring the community to excel in achieving their lifelong ambitions.

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