Young people astound MP’s as The Football League Trust launches its Annual Report in ParliamentTo show MP’s the work we do with communities around the country we went to the Houses of Parliament to launch our 2014 annual report. The report details how we have increased participation, inspired education, raised aspirations, improved health and reduced crime. You can download the report of this link
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Football Group kicked off the event by highlighting the huge value that our clubs have for society. Mr Betts recounted, the social value of just one of Charlton Athletic’s projects, their mentoring scheme, has been estimated at over £2.3m per year and considering Charlton run about 60 projects and they are one of 72 trusts in the network, the overall value to society of football is immense. However to demonstrate this value in real terms we took five exceptional young people, who had been part of our schemes, to share their journey.
Mike Evans, The Football League Trust’s Director of Operations, commented, “These young people are shining examples of how the power of football can make a difference. They all have had issues to deal with, however, after help from their respective football community trusts, they have become outstanding young people. The MP’s were absolutely amazed by their stories of transformation.”
Here is a brief snapshot of their stories:
Lizzie Hunt: Lizzie had a troubled start in life with drug and alcohol issues. However after being involved in Derby County’s Active Choices programme, she has been clean for over 12 months and is a qualified sport coach looking to set up her own business.
Billy Cottrill: Billy came to a Southend United holiday camp as a 13 year old with behaviour issues. In football he found a focus for his energy and role models he could relate to. He has since taken part in various programmes at the club. The once troubled teen is a qualified coach and is a now a role model for other youngsters.
Nkemjika Eka: Nkemjika was involved in gang related activity and had entered the criminal justice system. However with Charlton Athletic’s help he has turned his life around to the extent he now speaks to others about the perils of gang life and was recently recognised as an ‘Outstanding Young Person’
Jacqueline Thomson: Jacqueline experienced life in a hostel and has had numerous issues to deal with. Football and in-particular the Female Football Development programme at Brighton and Hove Albion has given her a fresh start. She is now a member of the FA’s Homeless international team.
Ryan Godwin: Ryan left school not knowing what he wanted to do,– he wasn’t particularly stimulated by the academic environment. He joined the Futsal Education programme at Cheltenham Town and found a way to learn through football – he is a now undertaking a foundation degree.
Mike Evans concludes “Football clubs are the heart and soul of their communities, they inspire passion and can therefore reach farther and wider into communities than other charities. Furthermore the history of the game means many clubs are situated in former industrial areas which have suffered decline and where the need for a positive influence is greatest. So we engage with local people and communities to provide opportunities to inspire them and raise their aspirations”