Local young people in Brixton have received a huge boost after the Active Communities Network secured a grant worth £7,000 from Barclays Spaces for Sports (BS4S) to help get more people in the community active.
The initiative which offers a variety of sports sessions, many free of charge, at the Canterbury Gardens multi-use games area has also received £7,500 from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, with the Rio Ferdinand Live the Dream Foundation providing additional support through the delivery of sports sessions and tournaments.
The funding will allow the Active Communities Network, a registered charity, utilising sports, cultural and educational activities to broaden horizons and raise aspirations for participants, to deliver three sessions a week at the BS4S funded community sport site. Specifically targeting young people who do not currently participate in sport, peer mentoring, training and volunteering opportunities will be on offer to help attendees’ develop employment skills and become role models in their local community.
Rio Ferdinand, England and Manchester United Footballer and Co-founder of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, said: "Providing affordable training sessions on good facilities, such as the Canterbury Gardens multi-use games area, is so important in helping young people develop their skills and realise their ambitions and I hope that together with Barclays Spaces for Sports and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, we are able to help change many lives."
BS4S uses sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues by helping young people develop a range of life and employment skills. The funding that the Active Communities Network is receiving from BS4S is part of a UK-wide Sustainability Programme implemented by BS4S and the Football Foundation in 2011. The programme demonstrates Barclays commitment to ensuring all of its 200 community sports sites across the UK have a long-term future and remain manageable for local volunteers and organisations to run.
Ferdinand added: "The aim of the Live the Dream Foundation is to develop education, training and employment support programmes within deprived communities and it is great to see Barclays Spaces for Sports supporting this.
"Growing up in South London, I am aware that it can sometimes feel like there are a lack of opportunities in the local area but football was able to open up so many doors for me and I hope it can help inspire many others."
The new funding for the Active Communities Network follows a BS4S development grant worth £25,000 in 2010, which allowed a sports-based social inclusion programme to run across BS4S community sport sites in the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. Activities were delivered during evenings and peak times of anti social behaviour to reduce the amount of crime committed by young people.
Kirk Harrison, Head of Barclays Spaces for Sports, said: “We are committed to the long-term sustainability of all the Barclays Spaces for Sports sites and the additional funding that the Active Communities Network have received is an example of this. We’ve been working closely with the Football Foundation throughout the programme and by offering financial and non-financial assistance, we aim to ensure all sites can continue to make a positive impact in the local community.”
The partnership between Barclays and the Football Foundation sees one of the largest corporate banks in the world joining forces with the nation’s largest sports charity to help provide opportunities for communities to engage, learn and develop through sport.