Date published: 09/09/2014
Arsenal FC and England Women’s legend Faye White MBE was the main attraction for local youngsters on Friday as she helped them celebrate the tenth anniversary of Barclays Spaces for Sports, a partnership established in 2004 by Barclays and the Football Foundation, which has created over 200 community sports sites across the UK.
Faye and the other VIPs in attendance heard Malakai Henry recall how he had used the Rosemary Gardens facility in Islington since it first opened in 2007. During this time, he gained an NVQ with the support of the scheme and now has a part-time coaching job with The Arsenal Foundation. He explained how the facility was so important to young people in the local area
Prior to the £600,000 investment in the site – £300,000 each from Barclays and the Football Foundation – the outdoor areas of Rosemary Gardens were wholly unusable. Now, though, the site is a community hub of sporting activity with one artificial 3G pitch, two tennis courts, changing facilities as well as areas for basketball and table tennis. An additional grant of £50,000 was awarded by Barclays to ensure the sites remain sustainable over the long term.
Sport has the power to inspire, build bridges across communities and deliver positive social change. In support of this, since 2004, Barclays has invested over £40m in community sport programmes and facilities to help individuals achieve their ambitions.
That investment means that more than 53,000 people use Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week, for a range of different sporting activities.The programme is working to ensure the sites are sustainable community resources in the long-term.
Faye White MBE said “In partnership with the Football Foundation, Barclays Spaces for Sports has achieved a huge amount over the last ten years. The investment in projects like Rosemary Gardens, and hundreds of others across the country, means that young people have access to quality facilities where they can enjoy all the benefits associated with playing sport, like improving their health and teamwork skills. This area is better off thanks to Barclays and the Football Foundation.”
Spaces for Sports uses the positive values of sport to help young people from disadvantaged communities develop the skills they need to reach their potential. It is part of Barclays’ commitment to 5 Million Young Futures – a goal to build the next generation of achievers by helping them develop enterprise, employability and financial skills.
David Wheldon, Managing Director, Brand, Reputation, Citizenship and Marketing at Barclays, said “From our longstanding investment in sport – both at the elite and grassroots level – we know it is an enormously effective way to engage young people and communities. Barclays Spaces for Sports is part of our broader goal to build 5 Million Young Futures and give the next generation the skills they need to achieve their ambitions and become financially independent. We know we can’t do this alone and we’re proud to work with expert partners, such as the Football Foundation, to help marginalised young people improve their changes in life.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive, The Football Foundation said “Thanks to Barclays' and the Football Foundation’s investment over the last decade, more than 53,000 people are now using Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week. Undoubtedly the programme has created a lasting sports infrastructure legacy that can get people active and regenerate hundreds of deprived communities across the UK. In addition to the initial capital investment we and Barclays provided to build these sites, the Football Foundation is now working with Barclays to ensure the long-term sustainability of them.”