Carrying the mantra ‘Making Your Future’, Skills will offer a comprehensive sport and education programme to young people from Haringey aged 12-19 years. Many have been identified as ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or at risk of becoming so, including ex-offenders, gang members and young people that have emotional and behavioural difficulties.
In the week that the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation celebrates its fifth year, the project is another example of how the organisation and its partners are aiming to drive employability in its community.
The Club’s players commit their time on a weekly basis to supporting Foundation initiatives – and now Ledley has gone a step further.
He has pledged to act as a mentor, offering guidance and advice to the young people who make use of the facilities on offer at a newly-refurbished Community Sports and Education Hub in Wood Green.
King said: “As players, we recognise the important role we can play in our community, especially amongst young people, and as captain I am proud of the commitment the players at this Club show to the work of our Foundation.
“At least a player a week attends a Foundation project or initiative and it is something we willingly dedicate our time to.
“I have just put my name to the new Skills project – enabling 12-19 year olds from in and around Tottenham to take part in sport and learn the life skills necessary to stand them in good stead for future employment.
“As the Club’s longest-serving current player, and having myself grown up in inner-city London, I am passionate about the community in Tottenham. I hope that by giving my backing to this project, I can help affect positive change in the lives of young people in the area.”
In light of last year’s riots in the area, the programme will positively engage with vulnerable young people, helping to contribute to the reduction of youth associated crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst providing a pathway for all participants in relation to sport, training, education, and employment opportunities.
Cllr Bernice Vanier, Cabinet Member for Communities, Haringey Council, said: “The Skills project supports young people when they are at a crucial point in their lives.
“Staying in education and being able to get a job means many more opportunities open up, like getting an interesting job and earning more money, but young people don’t always see things like that when it’s their parents or their teachers telling them to stay in school or go to college.
“When organisations like the Tottenham Hotspurs Foundation get involved, it really makes a difference. Young people take notice and appreciate the access to the sports and study facilities that the Foundation along with the council and other partners provide and coordinate.
“Over the last five years the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has achieved great results working with the local community and its partners. Young people in the borough will now benefit greatly from the Skills project and especially from having Ledley King as a mentor.
Skills will run in partnership with The Premier League/PFA Charitable Fund, Haringey Council’s Youth Community and Participation Service, the London Boxing Academy and Catch22, offering sport and education throughout the day from 9am until 8pm every Monday to Friday.
Daytime activities will engage young people that have been excluded from, or are in a process that may lead to exclusion from school or college. These young people will attend courses, programmes and workshops that will cover a range of academic qualifications.
Afternoons and evenings will see young people regularly participate in a variety of different sports including Football, Boxing, Basketball, Badminton, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Tennis, Cricket, Rugby and Athletics.