Q&A with Oli Dannatt

"Our aim is to reach out to a further 12,000 people next year"

We caught up with Oli Dannatt, a member of the Foundation’s Fundraising Board, to discuss his role, the charity and our new community hub, The Nest

What brought you to the Community Sports Foundation and the fundraising board, and what was it about the charity that motivated you to get involved?

Oli Dannatt (left) with Jake Humphrey at The Nest

As someone that suffers from Dyslexia, I struggled academically and didn’t enjoy school, I lost a lot of confidence in the classroom with the constant fear of failing. However, I lived for sport and it grew my self-esteem and gave me the determination to prove to my teachers, family and friends that I was worth something.

With this in mind, when Tom Smith [Norwich City FC Director & CSF Trustee] asked me if I would join the Fundraising Board of The Nest, it was no brainer.

Not only is the CSF a charity that I can passionately relate to, but the positive impact and inclusiveness that the Foundation is having on the lives of people in Norfolk, through the power of sport and belonging, is something that is unique and inspirational.

What do you think of The Nest project and how it will benefit the community?

The Nest is way more than just a football facility, it’s a community facility, a facility that works with so many people in Norfolk in so many different ways. The Foundation provides a wide range of programmes catering and offering support for everyone, be it people with mental health issues, those living with/recovering from cancer or the homeless who are looking for a safe environment for a game of football each week.

Our aim is to reach out to a further 12,000 people next year, allowing everyone who drives through the gates to gain new skills, meet new friends, develop their support network and most importantly, allow them to do what they love doing.

What has your role been within the fundraising board?

Primarily, I’ve been supporting Jackie and the team in introducing The Nest and the CSF into new networks, both in and out of Norfolk. Firstly, educating individuals and local business about the incredible work and opportunities the Foundation and The Nest are providing in our local community, and secondly, how they can financially support us in developing Phase 2 of The Nest, so we can reach thousands more people in Norfolk that need our support.

What similar things have you been involved with away from the Community Sports Foundation?

My wife and brother run a fantastic charity called Street Child, who work with kids in some the poorest countries in the world and help them get back into education. I’ve supported from the side lines as much as I can over the past 12 years, and I’m in admiration of the work they are achieving in some of the toughest conditions and environments in the world.

How has life been for you during lockdown?

It’s actually been manic. Firstly, I founded a travel-tech company last October, as I’m sure you can imagine, this comes with its obvious challenges at the moment. We had a great first 6 months of trading before COVID, so I’m confident we’ll hit the ground running again once we’re allowed to travel again!

Secondly, the family has grown slightly, we welcomed Theodora (Teddy) into our lives on May 4th, which has been a wonderful distraction from the world of social distancing and face-masks!