With tier four Covid-19 restrictions being implemented in London just before Christmas, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust had to cancel the majority of its community activities – including our Kicks Holiday camps with the Premier League. However, the Trust still supported hundreds of families with Christmas hampers and online activities with Brentford players. The Trust’s Kicks Holiday Camps, which were due to take place between Monday 21 and Wednesday 23 December, saw 75 professional football club community organisations support young people who need it most, with access to sport and positive activities, as well as nutritious meals.
Marcus Rashford MBE was an ambassador for the activity, which supported more than 4,500 young people following the break-up of schools for the holidays and the start of the Christmas period. Despite the Trust being unable to run the camps face-to-face, the Trust still managed to deliver 440 lunches to over 90 families in west London. Along with funding from the Premier League, Willmott Dixon contributed to the project and The Cricketeers in Kew donated Christmas meals to the campaign.
Adam Rontaler, Manager at The Cricketers pub in Kew, said: “Inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign for families on free school meals, we wanted to make a small contribution. We share the view that nobody should go hungry and especially not at Christmas.
"After what has been a tough year for all of us, we understand there will be some who might struggle to put food on their table this Christmas Day, so we decided to put together Christmas dinner hampers for families in our local community. We are over the moon that these have been taken up. We look forward to delivering some Christmas cheers over the coming days and continuing this work in the future."
Brentford B players Lewis Gordon, Lachlan Brook, Kane O’Connor and Joe Adams also took part in an exciting online Q and A with children. The participants quizzed them on how they deal with difficult situations during their career and how they look after themselves physically and mentally.
Scott Southgate, the Trust's Communities Engagement Coordinator, said: “We had some fantastic questions being asked by all the young participants. The players were very enthusiastic and probably exhausted by the end of the session as they were quizzed thoroughly! The session was educational, inspiring and great fun.
“It was also a wonderful insight into the lives of professional footballers and we had some motivating quotes, which the participants learned so much from. The players discussed life skills, past experiences, the importance of resilience and reflection, and we even got to know what they do in their spare time!”
Premier League Kicks aims to engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and personal development sessions – providing a trusted, positive influence in high-need areas across England and Wales. More than 387,000 children have taken part in the programme since it launched in 2006. For more information about the sessions email [email protected].