Trustee Report – 2021
February 21, 2022

Reflecting on a year affected by COVID 19 was not what we expected to be doing again. However, we have continued to adapt to the unexpected and we can confidently say that we learned and grew through the process. CoolPlay has remained resilient in response to the challenges that were thrown at us. These included disrupted school days, the cancellation of after-school activities, the financial strain felt by so many in the NGO sector and the ever-present fear on the ground of the virus itself. Champions were innovative and collaborated with our partner schools and were able to remain active throughout the year, helping CoolPlay to withstand the storm and positively engage* with 1583 learners across the five hubs. This is no small feat since it is estimated that 25% of South African NGOs closed their doors in 2021.

*An engaged learners attends at least 70% of the sessions available to them.

This was possible because of collaboration, loyal supporters, the ability to respond quickly to the needs of our partner schools and the incredible Champion coaches who are the lifeblood of our organisation. Thanks also to the committed trustees and the agile operations team who have remained dedicated to effecting positive change in their communities. We are also thankful to our partners in Kariega (Lindy Sutherland) and the Koue Bokkeveld (Jeanette Clark) who remain strong advocates for the CoolPlay Way in their respective areas.

Improved Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) competences is one of our most crucial impact measures. In 2021 we were grateful to have been included in an international study administered by Hello Insight. The opportunity to compare the impact of CoolPlay alongside similar international organisations was promising and we are proud to share the findings with you later in this report.

Funding remains a concern and a constraint on programme delivery, but we are ever grateful for the many who continue to provide ongoing support, both financial and in other ways. In 2021 new funding of the CoolPlay Way came from Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropies South Africa, with a grant towards operations and the appointment of a new CEO, a position that Tori Gardner took on June 2021. The Barbarian’s Charitable Trust, JDI & Club Travel also provided generous support in the latter part of the year.

We are optimistic about an exciting 2022 and invite you to join us as we create opportunity and hope for the learners in our programme by developing resilience and promoting empathy and respect.

– Barry O’ Mahony

Read the CoolPlay 2021 Annual Report here