Every Friday at GOALS Soccer Centre in Osterley, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust coaches are accompanied by 35 -45 young people of different ages and backgrounds from the local community for a free evening of fun yet competitive football.
Supported by Hounslow Housing, we use the power of sports to help make Hounslow a safer place for all. Last week, our young Street Sports participants were surprised with Paul Hannaford workshop on a real life-story on the dangers of drugs, alcohol, knife/gun crime and gang life.
Former drug addict and gang member, Paul now endorsed by the police uses the power of his past life to dissuade many young people’s lives from being destroyed by the dangers that drugs and gangs possess. We spoke with Paul on his work and what he thought about the inclusion sessions we do here at the Trust:
“The work Brentford do in the community with young people is absolutely incredible, using football to go beyond football. I’ve done work with Brentford before at Boddington Gardens and an hour after delivering the workshop, the children got in touch with me on social media and thanked me for inspiring me to never join a gang, carry a weapon or take drugs.”
The Street Sports project which started back in 2010 has seen over 500 young people in the last year from Hounslow take part and Paul thought it was an excellent project.
“I think it’s incredible, even with cold weather like tonight there are more than 30 kids here, all from different backgrounds from this estate having fun in a healthy environment, playing football and making friends instead of being on the streets being pressured into gangs and drugs. I think it’s great for kids”.
The project has also created routes into education, training and employment by offering young people the chance to volunteer at the Trust. Prime examples of this are Coach James, now a paid member of staff at the Trust and coaches at the session he once participated in and Aaron (pictured above in red Brentford FC tracksuit) who done his work experience at the Trust last summer 2016 and now also volunteers at the sessions.
After the anti-drugs workshop, we spoke with James on what he thought and his advice to others:
“I’m here every week and thought the workshop on drugs today was really vivid but was really worth it. It was good to know everything drugs causes not only the side effects taking the drugs, it makes you think twice and I definitely don’t want anything to do with drugs now.
"I think anyone being pressured into drugs or taking drugs right now, should think about what they want to do [in the future] and use that [ambition] to stay away from drugs. If you do take drugs right now then it’s still not too late to change, you can get in touch with Paul or seek help elsewhere."
Just like Aaron, the rest of our Street Sports group were also inspired from the lesson on drugs, gun/knife crime and immediately showed their gratitude to Paul on his Instagram page, giving their thanks.
If you wish to join our Street Sports sessions, visit our Street Sports page by following the link below:
Street Sports Sessions
If you are interested in running a Paul Hannaford workshop, visit his website, below: