London Lions to help charity with Wembley Arena proceeds

London Lions will play their next EuroCup home fixture at Wembley Arena, with all proceeds going to charity.

Lions host Montenegrin side Buducnost Voli at the OVO Arena on Tuesday November 1, with all attendance fees being waived in favour of donations for London-based food distribution charity City Harvest.

A single donation of £1 will provide up to four free meals for children supported by the organisation, as research shows that London boroughs make up five of the top 10 UK areas with the highest level of child poverty.

Lions became the first UK team in 18 years to win in the prestigious European competition when beating Aquila Basket Trento at the Copper Box Arena, before going down in Gran Canaria this week.

And their involvement in the EuroCup this season marks an historic moment not just for the Lions, but also a potential turning point for the growth of British basketball.

The partnership with City Harvest marks the latest initiative from the team as the Lions aim to make an impact on the court and also in their community.

City Harvest rescues nutritious surplus food from manufacturers, suppliers, producers and retailers, and delivers, for free, to 375-plus London charities feeding those facing food poverty. City Harvest aids nutrition and sustainability by providing life-changing support to communities in every London borough through food donations and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from waste.

Recent research by the London Assembly finds that child food poverty rates in Tower Hamlets, East London are close to double the national average, according to a report from City Hall. The report reveals the cost of a grocery shop is currently at a 42-year record high with food inflation above 14 per cent.

Further research from the Food Foundation found that food insecurity has doubled nationally in 2022 – highlighting the need to help families, particularly those in the capital facing food poverty – something which the partnership between City Harvest and the London Lions hopes to do.

Alongside this, the Lions and world-renowned artist, Alvaro Barrington have come together in partnership with Serpentine Galleries, CONSUL and the Tower Hamlets City Council to create a unique basketball court located at Weavers Adventure Playground in Bethnal Green.

The renovation will represent the first of an annual initiative from the London team to renovate other inner-city courts. The project aims to bring people from all walks of life together to the court for a celebration of sport, art and community – with a launch event attended by representatives from the mayor’s office, players from the Lions, children from Weavers Adventure Playground and representatives from the local community. 

Sarah Calcutt, CEO of City Harvest, said: “City Harvest is delighted to be the new charity partner of the London Lions. As part of the fabric of London, City Harvest thrives on connecting key players with areas of need. We supply free food to many youth groups and schools running fit and fed programmes. These free community sessions encourage young people to channel their energy into sports and teamwork to develop key skills, agility and their overall health. 

“We thank everyone for supporting us by making a donation so we can continue to offer nutrition to children who would otherwise not eat. So many families are struggling to feed their children right now, please help us to help them.”

Lenz Balan, Vice President of 777, owners of the London Lions, added: “We are very excited to welcome City Harvest as our new charity partner. Fans will instead be able to get a ticket for the game by making a donation to the charity to help provide food for people in need.

“We are focused on making an impact not only on the court but also in our community and hope that the fans will help get behind this initiative. The game at the OVO Arena Wembley will mark a momentous occasion as it’s just the second EuroCup game to be played in the UK since 2007.”

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