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Mercedes-Benz and its retailer partners in the UK are providing projects supported by Laureus Sport for Good with funding in excess of £350,000 in 2016, and are set to become the main #sponsor for Laureus in the UK in 2017. Laureus-supported programmes use sport as a means to tackle crime, violence, discrimination and disadvantage. The imaginative partnership with #mercedesbenz has seen the manufacturer and retailers nationwide donate £1 each from every vehicle sale to support a variety of these projects. #mercedesbenz Financial Services has also given £1 to these worthy causes for every car they finance. With the help from #mercedesbenz, Laureus will support 21 additional projects in 18 extra cities in England and Wales – all of which encourage young #people to improve their personal skills, increase their employment opportunities and reduce their exposure to gangs and crime through sporting activity. Amongst the projects already being supported by the new funding is the 'Netball4Change' programme in Newcastle, which is being run by The Change Foundation to empower young women through the sport. In London and Manchester, Laureus is working with The Running Charity to harness the benefits of running and fitness to transform the lives of young #people experiencing homelessness in both cities, whilst in Luton, football sessions being offered by Luton Town FC community trust are creating positive pathways for youngsters on some of the town's deprived estates. A similar soccer project offered by the Laureus-supported Urban Stars programme was recently attended by Arsenal and Germany footballer Mesut Özil. The Laureus Ambassador inspired youngsters with his surprise visit to a session at Quintin Kynaston Academy in North London, where he spoke to youngsters about being the best they can be not only on the football pitch but at school and throughout everyday life. Gary Savage, CEO, #mercedesbenz UK, said: "At the beginning of 2016 I asked our retail partners to help support Laureus and received their unanimous backing. We are delighted to be able to give more young #people throughout the UK a better chance by harnessing the power of sport.” Laureus is aiming to have 50,000 young #people involved in its projects by 2018 – a target that had been made more achievable, according to Academy Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, by the support of #mercedesbenz. "The support of #mercedesbenz has given a major boost to the work that Laureus does in the UK and this is having a dramatic effect on how many young #people we are able to help," said the former All Blacks captain. "I would like to thank #mercedesbenz sincerely for its support. Over the next few years this funding will enable us to put new programmes in place and will revolutionise the impact that we are able to make, further proving how sport can change lives.”
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