Billy Vunipola is a powerful presence on the rugby pitch. He knows how to make an impact – as anyone who watched England’s journey to the World Cup final will have noticed. He also has a strong faith and a big heart. Billy recently travelled to Colombia with Tearfund to be a part of a slightly different sort of impact to the kind he’s most well known for.
The big Saracens forward knows how sport can inspire and change lives – not just with trophies and salaries – but as a tool to build togetherness and respect. In Cartagena and Barranquilla, Billy visited Tearfund partners where staff are using rugby and football to do just that. They’re providing a place for young people to belong – an alternative to the violence and dangers on the streets in a country where gang culture has been a long-term problem.
It makes sense to Billy. ‘Sport is always a great tool to bring people together,’ he says. ‘I think Tearfund are using it as a great opportunity to get people together and off the streets...Through the churches, they’re...teaching them about values and fellowship with God.’