Derek has always been aware how blessed he is in life and works hard to improve the lives of those less fortunate than himself. He has identified four wonderful charities close to his heart and he is grateful for the opportunities they give him to bring about positive change.
The charities Derek supports reflect the fact that he recognises the need to reach out and help people at the local, national and international levels. He is proud of his charity work and does everything he can to not only help on the ground but also to promote these incredible causes.
On a UK-wide basis, Derek is an ambassador for SportsAid, which helps young sportspeople to overcome the financial challenges they face in their efforts to become Britain’s next generation of Olympians and Paralympians. The charity’s patron is Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
These athletes receive no other funding and are heavily reliant on their parents for support – not just financial but also for their transport, kit, nutrition, you name it! The really amazing thing about this is that many are already representing Great Britain and, if they can continue doing so, are likely to become our future Olympic and Paralympic champions.
To find out more, visit www.sportsaid.org.uk.
At the local level, Derek is a patron of the NCTLC Trust, a Northampton based children’s cancer charity. Originally formed in July 2008, they are dedicated to supporting families living with tumours, leukaemia and other cancers. The Trust provides children and their families with care and assistance. This can be financial, emotional and psychological along with sibling support services.
The charity signposts families to support providers, organises fun days out and respite breaks at their charity caravan. They are able to provide emergency funds and wish granting for terminally ill children along with advice regarding grants available to assist families.
For more information on their great work, please visit http://www.nctlctrust.com/.
Internationally, Derek works as an ambassador for Right To Play UK, part of a global organisation that transforms the lives of millions of disadvantaged children in some of the world’s poorest communities. Using the educational power of sport, games and play, they equip children and young people with the learning, health and social skills to overcome the effects of poverty, disease and war.
Operating in more than 20 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, they develop proven programmes that encourage children to attend school, protect themselves from disease and resolve conflict. Their play-based activities dramatically improve life chances and opportunities, particularly for girls, those with a disability or HIV/AIDS, street children, former child combatants and refugees.
Established in 2000, Right to Play manages complex, large-scale, multinational interventions from donors including government agencies and the United Nations. The Right to Play UK team partners with companies, individuals and athlete ambassadors who share their belief in the power of play to transform lives.
For further details on their programmes and activities, please visit www.righttoplay.org.uk.
Derek has also recently been appointed as an ambassador for Go Dad Run, the prostate cancer charity run by his former Olympic teammate and double World 110 metre hurdles champion, Colin Jackson CBE. The organisation holds several 5km races on Father’s Day for men and boys aged 11 and over, raising vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK, with participants donning yellow Y-fronts over their running gear for a bit of fun.
Colin founded Go Dad Run in 2013, putting on the first race in Llangefni, Anglesey that year. Derek first got involved in 2014, firing the starting gun at the Birmingham race but he hit the road in 2015 at the Worcester event alongside the likes of not only Colin himself but also Donovan Bailey, the Canadian athlete who took 1996 Olympic 100 metre gold in Atlanta and helped himself to three further World titles during the 1990s.
In the UK, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer and about 1 in 8 men will develop it at some point in their lives. That figure increases to 1 in 4 for men of black Caribbean or black African descent and with Derek and Colin’s own Caribbean heritage that is something that has a big impact on both of them.
For more information on how you can get involved or make a contribution, please visit http://godadrun.co.uk/.