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26 July 2012

Tsogo Sun reveals impressive CSI programme as it launches SunCares

One of the aims of Tsogo Sun’s SunCares initiative is to be a catalyst for change to make a real difference in the lives of South Africa’s poorer communities.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk,Tsogo Sun's Rob Collins and Graham Wood with Silverstar football club members Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk,Tsogo Sun's Rob Collins and Graham Wood with Silverstar football club members

SunCares is a collaborative partnership endeavour through which we can make a substantial difference within communities by means of meaningful and sustainable initiatives that will hopefully change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. – Rob Collins, Tsogo Sun chief marketing officer

Tsogo Sun has grouped together its social investment, environmental management and enterprise development programmes under its new SunCares brand.

In terms of its corporate social investment initiatives, Tsogo Sun has long been a supporter of sports - not only as an accommodation partner, but also by investing in sports development as a means of uplifting communities. 

Its Sports Academy comprises a Rugby Academy, Soccer Academy and several other initiatives involving swimming, athletics, netball and cricket. These offer full-year programmes to kids, thus helping to ensure sustainability. Kids who show talent are then moved on to other development programmes, which could ultimately see them reach the top levels of their sports.

The Sports Academy currently facilitates the development of 72 soccer teams from 42 schools on the West Rand. This involves the training of 1 250 township kids, and 65 coaches and referees.

On 28 July 2012, Tsogo Sun is starting a Rugby Festival in Diepsloot informal settlement near Johannesburg that will see all Diepsloot schools competing.

Rob Collins, Tsogo Sun chief marketing officer, said it was not just Tsogo Sun’s intention to teach the kids how to kick a soccer ball or catch a rugby ball.

‘We want to take them off the streets, give them purpose, teach them life skills and get the community involved. For example, we take care of the kids’s nutritional needs by getting the community to cook them nutritious meals, and their transport needs by getting the taxi association to mobilise to provide transport for these kids. It is our hope that these year-long programmes bring positive change to the communities in which they operate,’ he said.

Tsogo Sun also runs a Performing Arts Academy that is currently training 150 10- to 17-year-old kids from Diepsloot in all aspects of theatre production in a year-long programme. The programme is being extended to the south of Johannesburg from August.

‘We have a tremendous amount of talent in this country, but we have to create a springboard to enable them to grace not only our wonderful stages, but stages internationally,’ continued Collins.

Tsogo Sun has also been integrally involved in enterprise development and has so far partnered with 60 township guest houses to provide mentoring, guidance and training through its Book-a-Guesthouse programme.

Through its environmental management initiatives it has reduced energy consumpion by 10.8% at all gaming and hotel properties. Since 2010, it has saved 19.8 million kilowatts of energy - equivalent to powering 18 000 residential households for a month.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who attended the SunCares launch, commended Tsogo Sun on its initiatives.

‘I have been very impressed when looking at some of Tsogo Sun’s initiatives. What’s important for business in the future is not only people, profit and taxes. Much more of our money and energy needs to be spent on bridging the huge divide between rich and poor. Tsogo Sun has realised that short-term fixes are not the way to go with social responsibility initiatives. If a company wants to be really successful, there must be a long-term vision that guides interventions,’ he commented.