What better way to spend a sunny Thursday afternoon than to see one of the projects we help fund in action? And so we headed to Purfleet Primary School to see the street football after-school club.
This after-school club, organised by Riverview Charitable Trust, runs from 4pm to 5pm for eight- to eleven-year-olds, and then from 5pm to 6pm for secondary school children. The primary school children all come from Purfleet Primary School who have been very supportive in letting Riverview use their grounds and facilities.
The children mainly live on the two nearby housing estates with the project workers noting if they weren’t at the after-school club, they would either be hanging round the estate, at the skatepark, or simply at home as their parents don’t think it is safe for them to be out.
For an hour, up to 40 young people get to play football, let off steam, chat to the youth workers and mentors and have the opportunity and support to work towards AQA qualifications. When we visited the primary school slot was full and the secondary age slot had 20 young people in attendance – though we visited at prime GCSE exam time!
The secondary school children find their way to the street football sessions via the Riverview Charitable Trust youth club and through the holiday sessions the team run in the local parks. These active park project sessions take the after-school activities into two local parks during the school holidays. For two hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, children can try sports such as archery, basketball, football and skateboarding while the youth workers are always ready for a chat and to support those who need a bit of extra help or advice.
The community is supportive of the work of Riverview Charitable Trust and the project is strengthening its links with the local secondary school and other sporting clubs and activities. It hopes that it can further the sporting activity available to the young people who may otherwise never have the opportunity to join a local club or team.
The street football after school is more than just young people playing football. Chatting to the youth workers they told us how: “The sport project identifies those young people at risk and gives us the chance to build up the relationship with the young people and help introduce them to other provision.”
From what we saw on our sunny Thursday visit there were certainly 60 young people who had a great rapport with the sports coaches and youth workers. In times when we know young people want more trusted adults in their lives we think this is a pretty special place.