More than 80 children who live in Southall benefited from a recent drugs and knife crime workshop by former heroin addict Paul Hannaford. The workshop, which is part of the Trust’s BBC Children in Need programme, supports young people through grassroots community coaching and mentoring sessions. The workshop certainly had the ‘shock factor’ with Paul Hannaford explaining how his life spiralled out of control: during his teenage years he spent dozens of times in prison due to his involvement with gangs and his debilitating drug addiction.
Reflecting on his own journey, Paul Hannaford said: “Through my own experience, kids from deprived areas are more vulnerable to get involved with gangs and anti-social behaviour. I strongly believe that every young person deserves to be educated on the dangers of drugs and knife crime: early intervention is so important.”
The Be Inspired project, in partnership with the housing provider A2Dominion and BBC Children in Need, offers community coaching, mentoring and support for young people of across west London, including any participants with disabilities. This year alone it has engaged with a staggering 223 young people.
Gabriel, 14, has certainly felt the benefits of the project to his confidence and education, he said: “Since I have begun attending these sessions I have felt a lot happier; my behaviour and school grades have improved.’’
Hasan, 15, agreed, he said: “I have been coming to the Be Inspired project for one year now and have really enjoyed the sessions. It is a great environment and nothing bad happens here – all the bad vibes are left outside.”
Established in 1987, the Trust has community coaching work spanning three decades – creating safe spaces for young people to enjoy and play sport.
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “The Be Inspired project, delivered by Brentford FC CST in west London, builds relationships with young people through the medium of sport. As a result, trust develops between the coach and participant, which means that when we introduce a workshop such as this it is met with a positive response. A young person is faced with a number of decisions when growing up and we aim to be a positive influence in making the right choices.”
Tomas Abreu, Business Support Manager and Be Inspired Coordinator, said: ‘’Since April 2017, the project has engaged with a wide number of participants from different backgrounds and abilities. It is impressive to witness the project’s growth and to hear from young people the positive impact it has on their lives. The Be Inspired project illustrates how sport, and more specifically football, is a remarkable catalyst for youth development - tackling diverse social issues in the local area.’’
For more information about the Be Inspired project please contact the Communities Engagement team firstname.lastname@example.org or 02083267046.