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Jason Roberts Foundation unveils new look

On Wednesday, 7th October, the Jason Roberts Foundation launched its new branding, following three months of work in partnership with creative agency, Fresh Lemon, and social purpose agency, 3GLOBE.

The update, which includes a new logo, identity, and website, was first revealed to select participants in a socially distanced preview at Stonebridge Arena, the Foundation’s hub in North London. Featuring an improved user journey and a bespoke media centre, the website was officially made live by the participants’ very own, Malik.

New Brand, Same Focus

The response thus far has been emphatically positive. Introducing the changes, Jason Roberts said:

“Our growth as an organisation, since the launch of the Foundation in 2007, is seen in both the scale and scope of our projects and partners — it was time that our brand and website reflected this. 

The new website brings intuitive navigation and makes it easier than ever before for supporters to get involved, while the brand refresh continues to focus on our most valuable asset – our community. 

Amy O’Brien, Founder & CEO of 3GLOBE — a newly formed agency powering professional athletes in social purpose, said of the project:

“We wanted to elevate the exterior look of the organisation, while embracing the versatility and on-the-ground approach that has fuelled the Foundation’s success for more than a decade. 

Together with Fresh Lemon, we wrote and designed for real people who will relate to the family-centric approach of the organisation. These new tools will support the Jason Roberts Foundation in engaging stakeholders across the charitable and commercial sectors with one consistent message: community first.”

Craig Heath, Creative Director at Fresh Lemon commented:

“From our earliest conversations with Otis and Jason, it was clear that ‘family’ and ‘community’ were key factors that the foundation were driven by. As such, we created a new identity that has these two central pillars at the heart of the logo with the roundel embracing them to form a tight and flexible icon.

Complemented by a vibrant new colour and clearer messaging we feel the Jason Roberts Foundation is now equipped as a forward-thinking brand empowering people to get involved and to do even greater things in the future.”

Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi re-elected as Mayor of Brent

Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi, was re-elected Mayor of Brent for a second term, due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr Ezeajughi who represents Stonebridge ward, was re-elected unanimously, and will have the opportunity to carry on in his role until May 2021.

“It has been a difficult year for everyone with the Covid-19 pandemic and I will continue to raise awareness and support families and communities affected by this,” the mayor said.

“We live in uncertain times – our lives changed in March 2020. Many of us have seen the suffering this pandemic has caused; some of you have lost friends and family to this dreadful disease.

“At times like this, we show what an amazing borough we are. The coming weeks and months will be challenging. We must stand together and support each other – the pandemic is not over.

“Please, look after your families, look after your friends, look after your loved ones, and look after each other.”

Born in Anambra state, Nigeria, Cllr Ezeajughi has served as a councillor since 2014.

The Jason Roberts Foundation, a community charity for young people set up by former footballer and Brent native Jason Roberts, and the Sickle Cell Society, which supports and represents people affected by sickle cell disorder, will continue as his chosen charities.

“Because of the issues and the problems that we face with the pandemic it would only be right for you to be nominated to continue until May next year,” Cllr Muhammed Butt said. He was seconded by deputy leader Cllr Mclennan.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said; “We were very happy to hear the news that Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi has been re-elected for a second term, and will have the opportunity to continue his work in the Borough as well as maintaining his support of the Foundation into next year. We wish him well in his second term.”

Global Institute of Sport to launch new scholarship

UCFB’s Global Institute of Sport (GIS) is delighted to announce a new scholarship that will be backed by former Premier League striker Jason Roberts.

The Jason Roberts Foundation Scholarship is on offer to GIS students at UCFB Wembley – which has the iconic Wembley Stadium at its heart – who can show they have the vision to be leaders and promote inclusion, respect, equality and diversity. The £1500 scholarship is open for applications ahead of the 2020/21 academic year which begins in September, and joins a growing list of scholarship opportunities for GIS’ sports Master’s degree students.

GIS is the new destination for Master’s degrees and executive education, utilising a global network of industry leaders and elite stadium venues. Jason is well acquainted with GIS and its commitment to upskilling the next generation of sports professionals, while at the same time ensuring the industry is inclusive and diverse, having delivered guest speaker sessions to students in recent months. He also sits on the illustrious GIS Industry Advisory Board, which is made up of some of the most influential and respected names in world sport in order to influence and shape the education provision of GIS to enable the next generation of sports professionals to become leaders in their field.

Since retiring from a playing career which included successful spells at Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, Jason is now Director of Development at CONCACAF and set up his Foundation in 2007 to support youngsters in London and Grenada.

Commenting on his scholarship, Jason said: “I’m delighted to be able to collaborate with GIS and offer this award to Master’s students at UCFB Wembley. Our Foundation is about giving a platform to those in the community I grew up in and offering equal opportunities to aspirational individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances, and I look forward to welcoming award winners into the Foundation very soon.”

GIS’ President, Sharona Friedman, commented: “We’re thrilled that Jason has agreed to continue to back our students and the future leaders of the sports industry with this award. GIS is determined to ensure that football and sport is an inclusive and diverse industry to work in and be a part of, something Jason has demonstrated throughout his careers in the game. Jason is inspirational.”

For more information on the Jason Roberts Foundation scholarship and to apply, please visit www.GIS.sport/scholarships.

Foundation’s referee becomes UK’s first female Muslim official

The UK’s first female, Muslim referee, who has her sights set on officiating in the Premier League, has told Sky Sports News she feels like she is entering a man’s world and is showing them who is boss.

Jawahir Roble, otherwise known as JJ, certainly takes no prisoners on the pitch.

From the sidelines, as she officiates a game, Roble can be heard offering a mixture of encouragement and warnings to the players.

“No pulling, no pulling”, she shouts, as a scuffle breaks out just outside the box. Roble, who referees wearing a hijab, can certainly handle herself in what she calls a man’s world.

She told Sky Sports News: “Everyone says it’s a man’s game, football is a man’s game. I feel like I’m coming to their territory and I’m showing them who’s boss.

“Showing them how it’s done and encouraging more and more girls to come and take over, because this is anyone’s game.”

Roble arrived in the UK as a refugee from Somalia when she was just 10 years old. Her family decided to make a new life in Wembley, after fleeing war in their home country.

Growing up, JJ played football with the boys, which her parents were not always on board with.

“My parents, where do I start with them”, she said.

“At the beginning it was like me against them. Them telling me, don’t play football anymore because it is a man’s game.

“Don’t play football because you’re a woman. Stop playing football because you’re never going to fit in. People will discriminate, people will be rude.

“I get where they’re coming from. I told them: ‘Guys, support me in refereeing. Clearly I’m not going to stop loving football. I’m going to find my own way’. I’m so glad I found refereeing.”

Although Roble dreamt of playing for the Lionesses, she started refereeing purely by chance. When someone did not turn up for a game, she was asked to step in. She now has FA qualifications and a degree in coaching.

JJ often referees for youngsters at the Jason Roberts foundation, a charity set up near where she grew up in Wembley, which offers mentoring, sports and life skills to disadvantaged youngsters.

Roble is certainly a character. She is the type of person that puts a smile on people’s faces. She is cheeky, confident and takes no nonsense if she is ever given any abuse on the pitch.

Standing below the Wembley Arch, she sings: “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home”, not fazed one bit by those watching on. It is evident how much the area means to her.

She told Sky Sports News: “Wembley has welcomed my family. Growing up, we had all my family playing football in the back yard.

“You could hear all the noise, all the fans.

“We would see fans walking around our area and it’s such a nice vibe. In England football is so organised, so I was in the right place at the right time I guess.”

London Community Response Fund Awards COVID-19 Grant

Jason Roberts Foundation

The Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) has been awarded a grant of £5000 from the London Community Response Fund, administered by City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, towards the costs of providing on-line services for young people and their families during the Covid-19 crisis.

 

Roberts played for Bristol Rovers, West Brom, Wigan and Blackburn among others. He was capped 12 times by Grenada and is now director of development at Concacaf.

In response to the current crisis the Foundation explored new and safe ways to reach and engage with the children and young people they usually support through the programmes they deliver, and to provide them with useful information and content that was educational and might create opportunities.

Learning disabilities

One of these ideas was a podcast series entitled You Are Not Alone for children and young people with physical and learning disabilities, to support families during lockdown who were suddenly having to do what the schools and support services had done, with no respite. The podcast gave them the platform to talk to the teachers and organisations who were happy to share intervention strategies and point to physical resources.

Otis Roberts, CEO of JRF said: “We knew we had to find new ways to engage with and support our young participants (during lockdown), to let them know they are not alone, to give them a platform and a voice, and importantly, a means for them to reach us.

“We were delighted to be awarded this grant to enable us to develop our digital services and support more people.”

London’s funders are working together to provide coordinated funding to support groups responding to the needs of communities in the capital affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over £22m in funding has been distributed through the London Community Response (LCR) to support the capital’s civil society organisations since opening for applications four days after lockdown started.

The LCR is an unprecedented funder collaboration – over 60 funders have come together from across sectors, recognising that it was vital to distribute grants quickly based on shared intelligence and processes.

Supported

Stewart Goshawk, Chief Executive Officer of Wembley National Stadium Trust “WNST is pleased to have supported the work of the Jason Roberts Foundation for a number of years now.

“Recently, the Trust has been able to make a small number of grants as part of the London Community Response Fund, including one to JRF, which is helping it to run on-line sessions supporting local people through coronavirus crisis.

“We know how valuable this work will be for residents living in difficult circumstances, looking for help and guidance in these challenging times. We wish JRF every success with this important initiative.”

She Has Game Launch

She Has Game is a borough-wide campaign by Jason Roberts Foundation to get young females engaged and registered in local sports clubs and organisations regardless of ability, background and circumstances.

In the last few months, the Foundation in partnership with academies, schools, clubs and community organisations have carried out extensive research and consultation exploring why there is less amount of girls playing sports compared to boys in Brent.

We decided to focus on providing the platform where young girls in their mass numbers could come together to engage and explore different sports activities such as Golf, Boxing, Volleyball, Football, Athletics, Basketball and Rugby in a safe and fun environment without the fear of being judged or coerced.

She Has Game campaign aims to inspire girls to be more active in sports and take up the opportunities available through local sports clubs and organisation. To help with this we held a celebration event on Wednesday 13thof July 2016 at Ark Academy in partnership with Track Academy, The Golf Trust, Kinja FC and Willesden Volleyball Club. The event saw 75 young girls from 11 to 14 years old get stuck in four different sports activities and register for the opportunity to do more during and after the summer.

Ark Academy student Luana, who has attended all three celebration events and now is a regular rugby player for Kilburn Cosmos RFC, shared her thoughts on the day and the girls in sports, “I think sports is something really important to have part of your life because it can help you make friends and help you improve your fitness”.

The Jason Roberts Foundation would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Ark Academy and Big Lottery Fund, whose support makes all this possible.

National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund

The Jason Roberts Foundation in Brent has been awarded £4836 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund towards retaining freelance staff and core operational costs during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

The outbreak of the virus and the consequent shutdown of businesses as of March 23 has left the sport and physical activity sector facing a period of uncertainty.

In response, on March 31 Sport England announced a £195m package to help the sport and physical activity sector through covid-19. Within the package is a £20m Community Emergency Fund, of National Lottery money to deliver immediate funding to those who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus.

The grant will allow the Jason Roberts Foundation to maintain some freelance staff who are involved in initiatives to enable them to stay in touch with their participants during the current closure period via Podcasts and Vodcasts.  The grant will also cover some core operational costs including phones, utilities, insurance for the coming months.

Otis Roberts, Jason Roberts Foundation’s Chief Executive, said:

 “This grant from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund has been a vital lifeline during this crisis which has enabled us to proactively find new ways to reach out and safely engage with our beneficiaries and their families. Without securing this funding we would not have been able to retain our core freelance staff to continue virtual engagement and to secure future funding for when we are able to resume our operations.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said: 

“As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future. The £20m Community Emergency fund, made possible by National Lottery players is part of a multimillion pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to the nation’s health and wellbeing.

“We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to the Jason Roberts Foundation to help it through these extremely challenging times.”

Play is back on the menu for young Stonebridge residents

After months of lockdown, Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) was thrilled to open the Bridgestone Arena doors to welcome children and young people back for a summer of sport.

Funding from Hyde and John Lyons Fund enabled Brent-based JRF and Connect Stars to join forces to lay on four fun-filled weeks of sports, games, dance, drama and days out for Hyde’s young residents to enjoy. 

Careful changes were made, following Government guidance, to make sure coaches and mentors could deliver these activities safely, but still have lots of socially-distanced fun. 

Sports zones were created so each group had an opportunity to try each of the activities on offer, including basketball, tennis, table tennis, tag rugby, football and urban golf. Hillside Performing Arts encouraged youngsters to try out different forms of dance and drama. 

Support from some parents, along with young volunteers from JRF’s Youth Leadership Programme, meant small groups could go on day trips to experience new activities in different settings. Kayaking, along with the driving lessons, through Young Driver, were very popular. One young participant said: : “It’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced!” 

JRF knew it was vital to resume activities as soon as government guidance allowed, as the restrictions were having a negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Throughout the weeks youngsters of all ages and abilities made new friends, shared experiences, learnt about each other’s cultures and were able to keep fit and healthy in a safe environment.

Julie Costley, Hyde’s Successful Places Partnership and Project Manager said:

“We are excited to continue supporting Jason Robert Foundation and Connect Stars to offer young Hyde residents in Stonebridge positive activities and local opportunities. I’m delighted with the rapid response of both these partners. It’s highlighted how their great work lifts the community even in the most challenging circumstances.” 

JRF’s Youth Leadership Programme grew with four young volunteers helping to run the summer programme, with several applications from other young participants eager to get involved. The newly created Cultural Media Centre was a hit, with youngsters learning about career paths in the media and recording podcasts.

The Mayor of Brent visited and energetically tried out one of the newly installed rowing machines, and Council leader, Mo Butt, spent time speaking with the young people. Feedback from participants has been enthusiastic, with some describing it as: “The best summer ever!”

PPS ‘proud’ to be supplying PPE to The Jason Roberts Foundation

This week The Jason Roberts Foundation teamed up with specialist PPE manufacturers ‘PPS’ to
work towards a post-lockdown Bridgestone Arena. Milton Keynes based PPS is a leading UK manufacturer of decontamination equipment and personal protective equipment.

A team from PPS (who have been working throughout lockdown to provide PPE to hospitals and doctors surgeries) visited the foundation’s centre this week to set up a comprehensive Covid-19 strategy. During the visit, the team marked out appropriate social distancing areas, helping to apply tape and signs, whilst also donating hand sanitiser, gloves and coveralls. They also spent time with members of the foundation implementing a Covid-19 health and safety policy. PPS donated 50 safety visors to the children who the foundation works with. The foundation also benefited from a custom-built PPS doorway basin which disinfects all shoes before entering the
building.

Both organisations were joined by The Mayor of Brent councillor Ernest Ezeajughi who has chosen The Jason Roberts Foundation as one of his supported charities during his time in office.

Managing Director of PPS, Pam Parker said: “I’m delighted to have been able to help The Jason Roberts foundation become coronavirus-secure moving forwards. My relationship with the foundation stretches back to 2010 on several different first aid projects in the UK and Grenada. We’re pleased to be able to offer the foundation peace of mind so they can continue the great work they’re doing with young people. We’ve been working so hard at the factory over the last few months, for us, it’s been really gratifying to get a chance to see how our hard work has helped.” CEO of The Jason Roberts Foundation, Otis Roberts said: “We are so grateful for this donation from PPS. We have had to redress how we provide support to our community during the last three months and this donation of PPE will be essential to help prepare our centre to reopen. It’s essential that we are able to continue to provide a safe space to our community, and with the help of PPS, we will continue to be able to do that after lockdown.”

The Mayor of Brent councillor Ernest Ezeajughi said: “I am delighted to support The Jason Roberts Foundation and all the incredible work they are doing with young people. This donation of PPE to the foundation in preparation for their reopening after lockdown is most welcome. Thank you to PPS for their kind donation to my chosen charity.”

Image credit: eyesam.co.uk

Jamaican national football team visits ahead of World Cup debut

Young members of a Stonebridge sports charity were treated to a visit by the Jamaican national women’s football team ahead of their World Cup debut.

The team – nicknamed the Reggae Girlz – took part in a coaching session alongside youngsters from the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) at the Bridgestone Arena.

Dawn Butler MP joined councillors and community representatives to celebrate the achievements of the Caribbean team and their journey to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Jamaican coach Hue Menzies and his World Cup-bound squad shared some of their experience and imparted words of wisdom to the excited youngsters ahead of their debut in the competition on June 9 against a tough Brazilian side.

Jason Roberts Foundation was set up in 2007 to introduce children in Grenada and the UK to support young people, celebrate diversity and promote respect through sport.

The charity works with young people at risk of homelessness and committing crimes, those excluded from school or struggling in the curriculum, and young people with physical and learning difficulties.

Its values mirror The Reggae Girlz Foundation, a charity with its own mission to inspire, educate, mobilise and support young female football players in Jamaica.

Precious, a 13-year-old Jason Roberts Foundation participant, said: “I was delighted to meet the team and they inspired me by just being here and mixing with us.

“They told me to continue playing football because it helps with health and other things in life.”

Precious, who wants to become a lawyer, enjoyed the day’s activities including a match against Jason Roberts Foundation’s under-12 boys team.

Otis Roberts, Jason Roberts Foundation chief, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the Reggae Girlz and staff to the Bridgestone arena for this event .

“We were delighted to have support from the mayor of Brent, Dawn Butler MP and the community.

“The girls made a lasting impression on the young people and went to great lengths to engage with the many activities on offer.

“We at Jason Roberts Foundation would like to wish the team successful World Cup campaign.”

Images credit: eyesam.co.uk