The Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) was established in 2007 by the former professional footballer, media personality and social activist Jason Roberts as a means to put something back into the community he came from, and to underpin his belief in equal opportunities, rights and representation for individuals regardless of background or circumstance.
Initially focusing on the Stonebridge Estate in the London Borough of Brent, where Jason grew up, and in Grenada, where is his family originate from and for whom he played as an international footballer, the Foundation originally focused on football based social inclusion projects – projects that offered participation and playing opportunities to young people who otherwise had little chance of accessing coaching or opportunities to progress as players.
Jason started his career at Hayes football club, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Cyrille Regis. He signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers and went on to play at Torquay United, Bristol Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Reading before announcing his retirement from professional football in March 2014.
Jason is now a respected football pundit in both the UK and the Caribbean appearing regularly on BBC’s Match of the Day, Football Focus and Final Score whilst also presenting a weekly football show for Flow Sports in Grenada. He previously hosted 606 on BBC Radio 5live and has appeared on Sky Sports and BT Sport.
In 2016, alongside his co-host Damien, Jason launched a radio show ‘Dugout’ which airs every Thursday from 5pm in the Caribbean and 9pm in the UK, on The Soul Of Grenada Radio 100.7 FM.
His first documentary, ‘Jason Roberts meets Fabrice Muamba’ was broadcast on the BBC in November 2012. The documentary saw Jason get the first interview with ex-Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba to talk about the moment he collapsed on the pitch, his recovery and how his life had been altered by the incident.
Jason is also active within the football industry, where he is one of 14 ex-footballers to have qualified as boardroom directors via the On Board initiative – a scheme aimed at getting more ethnic minorities in key positions at football clubs.
Throughout his career Jason has been an outspoken critic of racism and prejudice within football, be it from the terraces, on the pitch or in the boardroom – and an ardent campaigner for equality and opportunity across the industry. More recently his social campaigning has garnered support across the sports and media industry, and the Jason Roberts Foundation, set up in 2007, is a cornerstone of his ongoing commitment to such causes.
In the 2010 New Year Honours list, Jason was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to sport in Grenada and London, and in May 2016 he received an Honorary Doctorate from St.George’s University. This was in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the provision of sporting events for disabled children in both Grenada and the UK.
In recent years the work of the Foundation has broadened to provide a more holistic programme of support including mentoring, life skills, education and training projects within its wider sports activities and has worked with young people at risk of offending, those excluded from school or struggling in the school curriculum, and young people with physical and learning difficulties.
Throughout this process, JRF works across boundaries to engage and support young people regardless of background or circumstance. Within this context the Foundation has worked with a range of partners including the Home Office, Football Foundation, Wembley Stadium Trust, Housing Associations, businesses and community sector partners to ensure high quality delivery, at the right times, with the most needy young people.
In 2014 the Foundation underwent a significant review of its activities, restructured its organisational management and has since implemented a comprehensive national programme in the UK, offering grass roots projects across London and the South West of England for young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. JRF has also developed accredited training packages in Equality and Diversity Awareness as well as sporting qualifications that are delivered across the country, and continues to develop sporting and personal development programmes in Grenada.