The chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, has singled out the work of the West Ham United Foundation as an example for other football clubs to follow.
Speaking at a Parliamentary reception yesterday to celebrate 25 years of the Foundation’s work in East London and Essex, Mr Scudamore told the assembled guests – which included Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, as well as several other MPs, local councillors, business leaders and charity heads – how pioneering West Ham’s work has been.
“There are hundreds of clubs in our football system”, he said, “each one of them with a club badge that is able to influence, particularly young people, more so than perhaps politicians can, more so than perhaps administrators, more so even than those with the day job of trying to influence those young people. If you have that power, then we genuinely believe that power should be used as best as it possibly can.
“In terms of West Ham, some of their schemes are leading the way among all those clubs. For example, the work they do with schools: 35 different schools being touched by West Ham’s Foundation, 3,000 young people in a year being influenced just by one club.
“The Kicks programme is a central programme initiative of the Premier League but has been taken on by the West Ham Foundation, probably better than any other Club has taken it on and is currently working in 24 sites within east London, with a huge impact in terms of reducing anti-social crime.
“That’s the power of football. It’s the power of the West Ham badge, it’s the power of the Foundation, it’s the power of those schemes. It does go on like this across the whole country and there a lot of other clubs doing the same, but I don’t think there’s any single club I could name that does it to the depth and to the breadth and with the real commitment that West Ham do it. I commend it to you.”
The West Ham United Foundation is preparing for a major expansion of its work when the Club moves to its iconic new Stadium next year, not just to its new home of Stratford, but throughout East London and Essex. Having provided opportunities and support to 1.5 million people over the last 25 years, West Ham’s target is to reach another 1 million people in the next ten years.
West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady thanked Richard Scudamore for his long-standing support of the Foundation, and agreed with him on the importance of football clubs using their power in the community for good.
“A huge amount has changed in football since the Foundation was created in 1990, but one thing has remained constant and that is the obligation that I truly believe that all football clubs have to give something back to their local communities: to be a force for good in terms of health, education, citizenship, and social cohesion; and to be a source of financial support and practical help for local charities, schools and community groups.
“Indeed, the bigger the football business has become over the last 25 years, I believe the greater that obligation on our clubs has become. It’s a simple rule: as we flourish and grow, so must the communities we live in. That’s an obligation that we’ve taken extremely seriously at West Ham.
“We now have two local communities to serve, the area surrounding the Boleyn Ground and that surrounding the new Stadium and we remain fully committed to both. Not only that, but we are increasingly extending the Foundation’s reach beyond those two communities into the whole of East London and Essex.
“We fully understand and are proud of our responsibility to help deliver the Olympic legacy which the people of Britain, and especially the people of East London, were promised.”
The event – also attended by House of Commons Hammers fans David Amess, Mike Gapes and Jim Fitzpatrick, and hosted by East Ham MP, Stephen Timms – ended with MPs presenting the Foundation with a special birthday card signed by all those in attendance. The message inside read: “Congratulations on 25 years of life-changing community work and long may it continue in your new home.”
To read more about the Foundation’s work, click here<http://www.whufc.com/Club-Foundation/About/What-We-Do>. And to make sure you are present when the Club moves into its magnificent new home next year, be sure to join the New Stadium Priority List as soon as possible by clicking here<https://reservations.whufc.com/seasontickets/registration>.”
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