Making a broader contribution
We recognise that our future success depends on long-term relationships with millions of families across the UK and Ireland. Furthermore, we also understand that customers are increasingly choosing to reward companies that share their values and make a positive contribution to society.
Our position as a broadcaster allows us to inspire our customers to make a positive difference through our Bigger Picture programme – improving lives through sport, bringing the arts to more people, helping to tackle climate change and raising the aspirations of young people.
Through Sky Rainforest Rescue, our partnership with WWF and the State Government of Acre in Brazil, we are protecting a billion trees in the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. This year, we were delighted to meet our fundraising target of £4 million and to extend the project for a further three years so it can continue to support the livelihoods of more local families.
In sport, we also extended our hugely successful partnership with British Cycling, which is well on track to get a million more people cycling regularly. Team Sky, our professional road racing team, made sporting history in July 2012 as Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British winner of the Tour de France. Around 50,000 young people have now taken part in Sky Sports Living for Sport, a programme which uses sport to engage young people in education and boost their confidence. And our scholarships are helping promising young British and Irish athletes fulfil their potential and prepare for life in the spotlight.
As part of our Sky Arts Ignition series, we're working with arts organisations including Tate Liverpool to create exciting new art works around the country. We've also announced our first five bursaries to help support young artists and kick start their careers.
At our headquarters in west London, our new Sky Skills Studios aim to raise the aspirations of young people by bringing to life the experience of creating media content, aligning with the national curriculum and helping to build confidence and life skills. The Studios will be open from September 2012 and will offer a free learning experience to all schools across the country, with the aim of engaging 12,000 young people each year.
We see these activities as a vital ingredient of building long-term, sustainable success. And we will look to continue to grow what we're doing in all these areas in the future.
Our people are vital to everything that we do. So I would like to thank them for their focus, energy and creativity over the past year. With their continued support and commitment, we can continue to execute against our priorities, deliver for customers and increase returns for shareholders.