Brentford FC Community Sports Trust raised thousands of pounds at its 30th anniversary dinner last week. The fundraising event, held at the iconic Great Hall at Syon House, raised much needed funds for the charity's sport, health, education and disability projects.
The Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Sue Sampson, was joined by dozens of guests including Brentford FC Head Coach Dean Smith and the Club's Chairman Cliff Crown. Along with a three-course dinner and live auction, a buzz of excitement surrounded guest speaker John McAvoy. The convicted armed robber credits sport with reforming his life and now gives motivational speeches to prisons and schools across the country.
Cllr Sue Sampson, Mayor of Hounslow, said: “I know first-hand the fantastic work the Trust does in communities throughout our borough. Funding raised through events like this are really important.
“This money will be reinvested back into the projects already up and running, to ensure they can continue. But also, to support new initiatives, which will benefit more people. I would like to congratulate the Trust on the work they do and the difference they make to so many lives across the borough and for the inspiring speech from John McAvoy.”
Brentford FC CST has received widespread recognition for its community work; it was one of the first football clubs to establish a community project back in 1987. Now, it runs over 6,000 coaching sessions a year and engages with over 11,000 people.
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “The event focused on progress to date and what we want to achieve in the future. There was a tremendous feeling of support, which will be translated into changing lives positively – through sport, education and mentoring.”
Along with health, education and disability projects, the Trust's mentoring programme helps disadvantaged youths turn their back on a life of crime. This initiative certainly resonated with the guest speaker – John McAvoy,
"The environment I grew up in meant that a life of crime was all that I knew,” said John. "When I was in prison I began exercising in my cell to pass the time and have some control over my body. I was lucky enough to find a prison officer who recognised the potential I had and helped me find redemption through sport.
"Working with Brentford FC CST seemed like the perfect fit: helping young people – from disadvantaged backgrounds – make positive choices in their life. If I can inspire one person to see that they don’t have to go down the same path I did; then I feel like I have achieved something.”