Benoit Assou-Ekotto added his support at the official launch of a new Tottenham Hotspur Foundation project aimed at helping young people in the community with pathways into education, training and employment opportunities.
Benoit joined young people from the Campsbourne area of Haringey along with Grant Cornwell, CEO of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, and key representatives from the MET Police.
Positive Futures Tottenham is one of 91 community-based Positive Futures projects managed nationally by young people’s charity Catch22. The programme targets 10-19 year olds to help stop them becoming involved with crime, drug and alcohol misuse, and support them in leading positive, active lives.
The programme is run locally by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, the Football Club’s official charitable body and offers 14-16 year olds in the Campsbourne area of Haringey a range of sports-based sessions in the evenings including football coaching, boxing, roller skating and street dance. The project will also run issue-led workshops aimed to help tackle gang-related issues and contribute to the reduction of youth associated crime and alcohol and drug misuse.
Since the project was first established in October last year, regular ‘off-site’ competitions have already been used to help breakdown gang-related issues by giving young people the opportunity to interact with other young people from different estates and schools. One young person on the project, Luke Haynes has already achieved his FA Level 1 and is now a qualified football coach.
Luke Haynes said: ‘’I am very happy about the new project that is on the Campsbourne Estate because we never really had a professional football club come and do training with us on a regular basis. I did play football on a competitive basis but had to stop due to my injury but with Positive Futures I now have a future as a football coach. This project opens up so many more opportunities to young people in the area.”
Gary Broadhurst, Community Development Manager at Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: “Tottenham Hotspur Foundation is extremely proud to be a part of this fantastic new initiative. Young people from the Campsbourne area of Haringey have been crying out for a project such as this for a long time and with funding from Catch 22 we are now able to deliver to the needs of the local community. The strength and success of this programme has been brought about by the robust partnerships that have been put into place to ensure the project has a positive impact and that each of the young people involved have a quality experience.”
Ciaran Porter, Neighbourhood Investment Team Leader from housing association L&Q, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the project. L&Q is committed to supporting the local community and this initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in a range of activities that are both fun and educational.”
Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Lorna Reith, said: “Having Tottenham Hotspur involved in this scheme makes it very attractive to young people on the Campsbourne Estate who might otherwise shun organised activities like this. Many of the youngsters are Spurs fans and they know they will get quality coaching and advice while having fun at the same time. Once involved in the project they then get access to all kinds of information and support to help shape their futures.”
Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector, Tracy Tempest, said: "We are wholly supportive of this initiative. Sport is a positive way to help young people build their confidence and self-respect and in turn to make the right choices and the best of themselves and their future."
Currently 54 young people are registered on the project with regular attendances of 25-30.Other partners involved in the project include Haringey Neighbourhood Management, Haringey Youth Service, Campsbourne Primary School, Hornsey Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, housing association L&Q, Homes for Haringey, Circle 33 Housing Trust and TSG Building Services.