Brentford Football Club have formed a partnership with award-winning charity London Tigers to help them engage, support and empower people from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly those from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
London Tigers, which started out as a football club, is a charity delivering projects across London and the UK as well as undertaking charitable work abroad. With several branches across the country, they currently have more than 3,000 regular members and their work benefits more than 10,000 people.
As part of this work, London Tigers offers progression routes for underrepresented communities to excel in sports. They have a Sports Complex in Southall, with football facilities including two full-size grass pitches, five junior pitches and a ten-wicket cricket square. There are London Tigers football teams playing in local leagues and a semi-professional team playing at level nine of the pyramid.
Under the terms of the partnership, the charity will be using Griffin Park to host a tournament this May, with coaching sessions planned to be run during the 2019/20 season by Brentford FC personnel for London Tigers managers and development staff. Brentford FC will also host ambassador games over the coming months where it is hoped parents and young people from the London Tigers community will be encouraged to attend our games and become embedded in the spirit of Brentford.
These ambassador games have already started and some youngsters who attend London Tigers football sessions have had their first taste of live football. Their girls team also performed a guard of honour at Griffin Park at a Brentford FC Women’s exhibition game last month.
Mesba Ahmed, CEO of London Tigers, said: "London Tigers are excited about this partnership. It will not only inspire all of our participants and their families but will also create a bridge for them to engage with a professional club in all levels".
Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive said: “It is excellent to have London Tigers on board with us as a community partner. For many years, those running the Club have been asking the question as to why people in the BAME community are not regularly attending matches. We want to work with London Tigers to get some of the young people they work with, and their families, to games, to show them what a live match experience is like. We are sure that when they come, they will see attractive football, a unique atmosphere, enjoy a friendly welcome and want to return. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship over the coming seasons.”
Brentford’s Community Sports Trust has already worked closely with London Tigers in Southall via a three-year Southall Synergy project aimed to support local communities through the power of sport. The project, funded by Sport England, saw more than 500 young people in Southall benefit from free sports sessions, volunteering opportunities and workshops surrounding healthy eating and the dangers of getting involved with gangs.
Along with the Southall Synergy project, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust also delivers a number of weekly sports sessions and mentoring workshops in Southall. The Be Inspired project – in partnership with BBC Children in Need – is credited with creating a safe space for young people to enjoy sport. And, most recently, the Trust has been working with Ealing Council and other community groups and agencies to develop ‘Let’s Go Southall,’ which is encouraging Southall residents to become more active and live healthier lifestyles.