Sports charity Football Beyond Borders (FBB) want to raise £15,000 by July 17 to fund a new youth centre in Brixton.
The charity works with more than 400 disadvantaged young people by engaging them in education using football-themed literacy and numeracy projects, to build their self-confidence.
FBB’s new initiative is called Fund the Future: Kickoff FBB’S New Youth Centre and aims to turn a disused shop in the Angell Town Estate, Brixton into a new, football-focused youth centre.
Coach and co-director Jasper Kain said: “Our philosophy is simple – we start with something young people are passionate about, which is football.
“We know that football is a universal game that millions of people have a passion for that can engage young people.”
Since 2011, 88 youth centres have closed in London alone while up to £39 million has been cut from council youth services, a trend that FBB hopes it can start to reverse.
The new centre in Brixton aims to provide Easter and summer holiday schemes for up to 200 young people along with fortnightly meeting places and a weekday evening venue for up to 50 young people.
Jasper believes that these kinds of spaces are crucial to the personal development and well-being of young people, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.
He said: “There were a lot of young people in this city who weren’t engaged in meaningful activity growing up and for me football was always a way of having a relationship with others.”
Since its foundation in 2009 FBB has done exactly that and since 2014 it has worked with schools across England and Wales.
Speaking about the inspiration behind FBB, Jasper said: “We all came from very diverse backgrounds and we realised that in one way or another football had changed all of our lives and if it changed our lives then if could possibly change other peoples lives too.”
The response from the young people themselves seems to confirm this, with many saying that the charity’s efforts have had a transformative effect on their lives.
Mehrshad, 14, who joined FBB in 2014 said: “I cannot imagine my life without FBB. It would be rubbish, I wouldn’t enjoy coming to school and I would not feel as confident as I do now, I feel like I can do anything.
“How many people my age have interviewed a professional footballer and been on a football tour to Scotland and Barcelona?”
Isaiah, 10, who has been part of FBB since 2016 agrees that FBB’s work has been an integral part of his life.
He said: ““FBB means – brilliant, amazing and fantastic, it’s taught me that it’s all about the team and the team effort.
“It’s about giving other people the chance to shine.”