Being physically active is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and forming the habit young can set the tone for a lifetime. And Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is helping hundreds of schoolchildren in the borough to do just that by getting them more active and involved in a wide range of school sport.
Using its host of experienced sports coaches, the trust supports 30 primary schools in the borough with their approach to PE and wellbeing.
The Championship football club’s award-winning charity is commissioned by Ealing Council to run a variety of community schemes for young people in the borough and the two organisations are also working in partnership on the new sports hub being built at Gunnersbury Park. The council fully backs the trust’s involvement with local schools.
Not only do the coaches carry out sessions and run a wide variety of sports clubs on a weekly basis at the schools, they also develop PE plans for them that are linked to the national curriculum and help to train the teachers.
The project is delivered in partnership with the Premier League’s Primary Stars initiative, which uses the
appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.
‘We couldn’t survive without it any more’
Clare Walsh, headteacher at Mount Carmel Catholic Primary School in South Ealing, said the trust’s work there has helped place sport and exercise at the heart of the school’s values – with a surprisingly wide range of activities on offer, from field sports like hockey and football through to water sports like swimming and stand-up paddleboating.
She said: “Over the decade or so that the programme has run here it has grown from strength to strength. It is such an integral part of the school and we couldn’t survive without it any more.
“It permeates through everything. The teamwork, the striving for excellence all the time, the healthy competitiveness, the knowing how to lose and how to win. The children play with different age groups and get to know one another and It filters down through to the whole school.
“The children love it. There are more than 300 pupils attending these sessions and there are waiting lists for some of the clubs.
“There are probably about 22 different clubs, so there is such a wide range on offer, so if a pupil doesn’t like one of the clubs there is another on offer. It is so popular. If there is something that they are struggling with, the coaches are there to help out and that is really the strength of the whole programme.
“It is so important to have this because our drive as a school is for every child to be healthy. Recently, we had a whole week on wellbeing and the trust helped us to put on our sports days and teach about healthy choices and healthy food.
“It is such a great link we have with the club, and it is great to have professional footballers come in because they can talk about how hard you need to work to succeed, and about healthy lives and a healthy lifestyle.”
‘I hope we can motivate these children’
Brentford players Chiedozie Ogbene and Josh Clarke attended an after-school club at Mount Carmel earlier in the summer.
Chiedozie said: “I was once a kid like these pupils, and I know how much it would have meant to me if a football player came into my school. I hope we can motivate these children to achieve their goals and inspire them to get involved with football and sport in general.”
The same players also visited a football session run by the trust at a Goals centre in Osterley recently, where Chiedozie told us: “It’s always good for kids to stay fit; it is good for them mentally and physically. I grew up with my parents telling me to eat my greens and it is always good to listen to your parents. But when I had professional footballers tell me, you listen to them more because you want to be like them.
“Kids will listen to who they look up to. I believe in hard work, so all these kids all have the potential to be a professional footballer if they want to.”
You can watch a video of the visit at the top of this page, and more at our YouTube channel in due course.
‘It is incredibly important to inspire young people to be active and healthy’
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for finance and leisure, said: “I know first-hand of the great work the trust and the team does. It is incredibly important to inspire young people to be active and healthy, to be positively competitive and to have positive role models to aspire to be like. They are lessons for life; and the trust plays an integral role in helping our schools to achieve all of these things. Its work with our schools produces a well-balanced, wide-ranging PE curriculum with opportunities for all and room to excel. And when the players go into the schools the children are excited just to meet the professional footballers, let alone be able to join in a game with them and ask them questions. It is a terrific partnership I am proud to see it working so well for everyone involved.”
Read more about the trust’s work at www.brentfordfccst.com