We are delighted to announce that Tottenham Hotspur Foundation project, E18HTEEN, has been nominated for a 2014 BT Sport Industry Award in the category of Community Programme of the Year.
E18HTEEN will go up against The Join In Summer, Natwest RugbyForce 2013, Sky Ride 2013 and the Tesco Bank Football Challenge at the prestigious award ceremony, to be held on Thursday, May 8.
Jermain Defoe has been a figurehead for the project and a role model to the young people involved, and the project will continue under the same name following the striker’s departure from the Club, thanks to new funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Set up in 2011 in partnership with the GLA and four local borough councils, E18HTEEN has worked with over 160 young people who have been in care or are care leavers, offering more than 5,000 hours of one-to-one mentoring and access to training and employment opportunities.
E18HTEEN was set up to directly address the statistic that 29 per cent of young people in care/care leavers are currently not in education, employment or training, compared with 13 per cent of all young people.
But of those involved in the project, 80 per cent have achieved at least one formal qualification, with 78 per cent supported to stay in or get back into education.
Most importantly, E18HTEEN has empowered ‘at risk’ young people to make positive life choices that can aid their transition to adulthood, and has been instrumental in improving self-confidence, resilience, assertiveness and communication, and developing life-skills such as timekeeping, travel, money management and cooking.
Jermain has expressed his pride at the project’s achievements to date, and said: “I remember discussing with the Club about wanting to do something to help young people following the death of my brother in 2009.
“E18HTEEN was the result and has been a perfect way of me giving something back to the community, as not only can I relate to young people growing up in inner-city London but I also know the challenges that those in the care system often face.
“However, I could never have imagined the impact this project would have actually had on the lives of so many. Having the pleasure of meeting the young people and getting to know a few of them particularly well, you realise how important E18HTEEN is for them and how it has changed their mentality, improved confidence and, in some cases, got them into employment.
“I will always remember being reduced to tears in front of TV cameras during one meeting I had with a group at the training ground upon hearing one young person’s story, and I think that showed everyone just how much E18HTEEN means to me.
“So I would like to just extend my gratitude to all the mentors that continue to work tirelessly around the clock for the young people, as well as all those that helped develop the project and make it what it is today.
“And to the young people, thank you for an unforgettable experience and letting me be part of what has been an incredible journey for many of you. I will endeavour to stay in touch and keep up-to-date with E18HTEEN’s progress and wish all those involved every success for the future.
“This project goes to show what great work the Club does in its local community through a Foundation that everyone associated with Tottenham Hotspur should be proud of.
“It has been a pleasure to have been involved with it and an experience I will take with me to Toronto for carry with me for the rest of my life.”
During Jermain’s half-time farewell at last night’s game, one of E18HTEEN’s participants, Charlotte, presented a surprise gift to the departing striker – a framed photo from the day he first met with the group back in 2011.
On an emotional occasion, Charlotte then said: “Not only have you help change my life, but tonight shows that you have made a difference in the lives of thousands of people during your time here, and we will all miss you.”