October 2016

Street Soccer Foundation teams up with Gillingham Football Club and FM Conway to help tackle homelessness in Kent

The Street Soccer Foundation has joined forces with Gillingham Football Club and its Community Trust, and leading infrastructure services company FM Conway, to help young people experiencing homelessness in Kent.

The collaborative project sees up to 15 young people attend a 12-week personal development course at Star Meadow Sports Ground in Gillingham, started on 28th September 2016. The football-themed programme will offer enterprise and employability training sessions to support disadvantaged young people and help them achieve positive social change in their lives.

Adam Lawrence, CEO of Gillingham FC Community Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Street Soccer Foundation to develop this project in Medway and Kent.  Having seen the positive work Street Soccer has completed elsewhere we really wanted to be a part of the project, and as Gillingham is the sole Professional club in Kent, it is important that the Community Trust shows its support to such a great cause.”

Participation in the project is free, and applications can be made online throughout the season at www.streetsoccerfoundation.org.uk by young people aged 16–24 who are currently experiencing homelessness in Kent . Selected participants will receive group and one-on-one coaching from Gillingham FC coaches as well as a full Street Soccer football kit.  The Foundation is particularly pleased to announce the 2016-17 official and exclusive shirt sponsor for the Gillingham FC Street Soccer programme as Kent based firm FM Conway, who is generously supporting the project. Visit the Partners page to find out more.

Michael Conway, chief executive officer at FM Conway, said: “We are proud to be a supporter of the Gillingham FC Street Soccer programme. Schemes like this offer an invaluable chance to empower young people by giving them the skills they need to help them get ahead. Kent has been an important part of FM Conway’s history and we are pleased to be able to make this contribution to the lives of the county’s next generation.”

The Street Soccer Foundation was officially launched in 2015 in partnership with West Ham United and the West Ham United Foundation to help support and develop vulnerable young people from the East London Boroughs. The 12-week programme at West Ham United’s Beckton training ground was much acclaimed and garnered support from both The PFA and the FA. It also received extensive media attention, including a feature on BBC1’s Match of the Day, ITV Meridian News and coverage from The Premier League and national and local newspapers. The successful culmination of the programme saw two particular participants, Jodie Coombes and John Akon, being selected to represent Team England. Jodie represented the England ladies team at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow in July, and John has been selected to represent the England men’s team at the International Football Festival in Portugal this month in September.

Keith Mabbutt, Founder of the Street Soccer Foundation said: “The Street Soccer Foundation is primarily about instilling confidence and desire in disadvantaged young people to have them want to make a change for the better. We educate, inspire and motivate individuals whilst using the power of football throughout the delivery to improve their lives and their environment. Having been born and raised in Kent, I am particularly delighted to see the launch of the Gillingham FC Street Soccer programme for young people in Kent, so that we can together help even more participants to achieve their goals both on and off the pitch.”