Bloomsbury Football Foundation delivers a wide range of programmes and initiatives to put our vision into practice and improve the lives of young people and their communities in London.
Sessions are open to all abilities and offer a regular programme of training for children that want to socialise, exercise and improve their football skills. Most of these sessions are held at pitches in schools and leisure centres in central London. With our fee subsidisation scheme for all those on free school meals (currently 43% of participants receive some sort of support from the club) these foundations really are open to all.
Over the summer we are running 9, free, drop in sessions each week in partnership with Camden council; these will largely be at community centres and local estates, such as Peckwater Estate (Kentish Town), Templar House (Kilburn), Tybalds and Bourne Estates (Holborn), Saint Pancras Community Association (Somers Town), Whittington Park, Tufnell Park and Highgate Newtown Community Centre. These allow us to expand our programme to even more under privileged young people, spreading high quality football coaching to all those who want to play and need to be engaged and entertained over the Summer months.
Our elite academy provides the opportunity to train and compete at club-level with the best facilities and coaches. The most talented children who might otherwise miss out can realise their full potential through our academy system, aided by subsidisation for all those whose families are on a form of income support. Every age group has two football and one futsal training session each week as well as competitive league matches and tournaments. We strive for excellence and have high expectations for our Academy players, and importantly we instil a desire for high achievement within the players themselves. Demonstrated by the 13 cups that we have won since our foundation 18 months ago.
Through our delivery of morning, lunchtime, after-school and curriculum football in schools, we aim to ensure that every child has access to regular, quality sport. We believe with a healthy body comes a healthy mental state, with regular exercise also shown to significantly improve concentration. We think this is particularly important for young people, who increasingly struggle with prolonged attention and focus in school, negatively impacting academic achievement. Team sports foster strong social skills and an important sense of collaboration and community. We hope to encourage children to enjoy the beautiful game and participate in football outside of school hours.
The school holidays are both a time of relaxation and an important opportunity for learning and development for young people. Lack of access to constructive activities and pastimes partly due to cuts to youth services can increase the risk of young people behaving anti socially. Our camps redirect their energies towards improving their sporting abilities and teamworking skills. We understand that the holidays can pose a challenge for working parents, so we go above and beyond taking care of children, providing a focussed but fun environment for them to hone their football skills. With the football providing a physical outlet, the social aspect of the camps is also important in making young people, who may be at risk of commuting crime, feel included as a part of their local communities.
2020 will see the advent of our full-time football and education programme. Kicking off in September 2020, with the first round of trials in October 2019, we will be providing training, and teaching employability skills to forty 16-19 year olds. This will be run in partnership with The F2 Academy and will consist of 10 hours of football and 15 hours of education per week during school term time. This provides a pathway for prospective talent to progress through the club from age 3 all the way to adulthood.
One barrier to participation is the cost of footwear and kit. Our boot recycling scheme and provision of a subsidised training kit to all those requiring financial assistance ensures that every child can overcome financial barriers to playing football!