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Martene Carroll

JRF to deliver London EmpowerHER Girls’ Rugby Project

The Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) are delighted to have been selected by England Rugby and the Mayor of London to deliver London EmpowerHER, a new project that aims to create a healthier, safer, and more inclusive future for young women and girls.

The project will launch in April and will be delivered to local schools and from JRF’s community hub on the Stonebridge Estate, Bridgestone Arena (formerly The Pavilion), London NW10 8LW.

Offering weekly Rugby coaching sessions alongside monthly ‘club’ sessions which will informally explore issues such as mental well-being, leadership and relationships, nutrition, self-care, and personal support.

Media activities will involve each participant creating a podcast to talk about their rugby experiences, focusing on activities to raise the profile of women’s rugby in preparation for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025,

There will also be the opportunity for participants to attend an England Women’s game at Twickenham for the 6 Nations or a Saracens Women’s game at StoneX Stadium.

JRF will host two Rugby celebration community events with demonstration rugby skills and opportunities for everyone to have a go.

Martene Carroll, Business Development Manager for JRF said; “We are especially pleased to have been chosen to deliver this exciting initiative that is targeted to young women and girls. Despite our broad offer, we continue to experience lower participation rates amongst girls, especially as they reach adolescence. We know the myriad reasons teenage girls disengage from sport and physical activity, for example, feeling judged and lack of self-belief. We hope that through the London EmpowerHER project young women and girls will be inspired in sport and in life and we will see female participation rates grow.”


If you aged 11 – 18-years-old and are interested in taking part in this project, please contact

About London EmpowerHER:

England Rugby and the Mayor of London have joined forces to deliver London EmpowerHER, a new project aiming to create a healthier, safer, and more inclusive future for young women and girls in Redbridge and Brent communities.

As part of the project, non-contact rugby activities will be delivered to girls in the region that are designed to foster physical fitness, leadership skills, and a pathway to better employability. Beyond that, the project is also committed to supporting London’s anti-violence against women campaign, by spreading awareness and education.

The project will commence from April 2024 with young women and girls (11-18yrs), in two London boroughs – Brent & Redbridge – being the primary focus.

With England hosting Rugby World Cup 2025, and with Twickenham being a host venue for the tournament, England Rugby is seeking to grow the women and girls’ game throughout the capital and showcase the many benefits the sport can have on both mental and physical health.

Bolstered by hosting next year’s Rugby World Cup, England Rugby has set a target of reaching 100k registered female players by 2027. The London EmpowerHER initiative is designed to help achieve that growth, while also allowing young girls to develop skills that will be important in later life.

For more information visit

WNST Funding for JRF

Wembley National Stadium Trust logo

Thanks to funding from the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST) the JRF Team are delighted by the ongoing work they have been able to deliver for the benefit of the Brent community.

JRF was one of several local groups that was invited by WNST to apply for funding as part of the Trust’s new ‘Anchor Organisations’ programme’.

The two-year funding from WNST has enabled JRF to deliver a wide range of activities, events, and health initiatives for the local community. As well as regular multi-sports and fitness activities that cater for all ages and abilities, the over 50’s have set up a Walking Football Team ‘Bridgestone Steppers’ and a group of young people have created a Basketball Team the ‘Bridgestone Bulls’.

Community outreach is enabling the team to engage with neighbouring residents to ensure that everyone in the community can get involved in sports, regardless of any barriers they face.

Through funding, facilities at JRF’s community hub, Bridgestone Arena, have been upgraded including additional items of gym equipment and Basketball stands and hoops, enabling the team to provide safe and accessible sports facilities for all members of the community.

JRF is reliant on the dedication and expertise of their coaches and volunteers, and part of the funding is being used to provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities to help them stay current and effective in their roles.

Regular intergenerational Community events allow people to come together through sport alleviating isolation and loneliness, helping people to feel more connected. The funding has allowed JRF to offer the Brent public a host of events including a celebration day for the Brazilian community, Health & Wellbeing initiatives, Sports tournaments, and social action enterprises including community clean-up days.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said; “We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding by the Wembley National Stadium Trust. By focusing on the plans we proposed as part of our application, we believe we can make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our local community and leave a positive legacy for future generations.”

To hear more from Otis about the impact of the funding watch this video

WNST is a charitable grant-making trust, distributing funding received from Wembley National Stadium Ltd to support community sports activities.

For more information visit

Edward Harvist Trust Fund Grant for JRF

Green screen in the cultural media centre

Following their successful ‘Thrive in Brent’ application to the Edward Harvist Trust Fund the JRF Team are delighted by the positive impact the project is having on the local community.

The awarded grant has enabled JRF to purchase equipment for the Community Hub to aid Fitness Activities, Events, and Training programmes for Brent residents.

Regular community events hosted by the JRF team celebrate the rich diversity of Brent and support residents to come together socially, share experiences, and build strong relationships. From cultural festivals, sports tournaments, and family fun days, these gatherings help to foster a sense of belonging and unity, enhancing community spirit.

A key aspect of JRF’s offer is to empower young people with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, through education, training, and career pathways. The funding has enabled the team to offer access to mentoring and career workshops to guide young adults towards fulfilling and sustainable careers.

Sport, exercise, and fitness activities are central to JRF’s offer and Health and Wellbeing are at the core of the ‘Thrive in Brent’ project, as it seeks to improve the overall physical and mental wellbeing of Brent residents. Offering a diverse rage of fitness classes, from yoga and dance to outdoor workouts and sports activities, with the aim of making exercise enjoyable and accessible to all age groups and fitness levels. Nutritional workshops and health screenings are also on offer to underpin healthy lifestyle choices.

Martene Carroll, Business Development Manager for JRF said of the award; “We are delighted to again receive funding from the Edward Harvist Trust Fund to support our work in the community. In 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were awarded funding to equip and open our onsite Cultural Media Centre, and with the additional funding provided at the time by Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST), this allowed us to deliver online talks, forums, and fitness sessions during National lockdowns, which was a vital lifeline for the Brent community. We are very grateful to the Trust for their ongoing support.”

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink visits I2A Legacy Exhibition

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink being interviewed by JRF volunteers

Saturday 24th February 2024

Following the successful launch of JRF’s Inspire to Achieve Heritage Legacy Exhibition on Saturday 10th February, the weekend of the 24th February saw the iconic striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink come to Harlesden High Street Library.

The former Chelsea and Holland striker who originally hails from Suriname, has visited the JRF at Bridgestone Arena several times inspiring young people in the local area and the team were thrilled to have him back to visit the Exhibition.

The audience, made up of children and adults from the local community, heard from Jimmy about his career in the football industry and the importance of preserving stories, photographs and mementos for future generations. Jimmy was interviewed by JRF Media Lead, Michael Adams, and youth volunteers Marley and Eyaad who ably interviewed Paul Merson at BOXPARK Wembley as part of the I2A Heritage Project.

Jimmy is part of Gareth Southgate’s current coaching team and visited the Inspire to Achieve Legacy Exhibition, which is part funded by the Professional Footballers Association, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery Players, and Brent Council.

The launch event which was attended by the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Orleen Hylton and was covered by The Voice Online welcomed several footballing heroes who hailed from Brent including the Stein brothers, and Dave Regis.

The exhibition runs until the end of June 2024.

For more information visit   

Emile Heskey supports Community Coaches

Emile Heskey with budding community coaches

On Sunday 11th February, the JRF Team were delighted to welcome special guest, Emile Heskey to Bridgestone Arena as part of their ongoing continued professional development (CPD) for Community Coaches initiative.

The former striker and English professional footballer who currently serves as head of football development in his hometown for Leicester City Women, was on hand to give expert advice about Learning Interactions and Strategies. The training sessions with FA Coach Development Officers enables budding coaches to gain vital CPD hours towards their qualification.

The packed weekend session, which was held at JRF’s community hub, gave young people in attendance the opportunity to gain valuable experience and advice from the England International

On the same day our Walking Football Caribbean Team were joined by Heskey in a training session before a special Awards Ceremony where the players aged 50+ and 60+ were presented with International Caps to celebrate their combined achievements in the Summer Walking Football World Cup of Nations Final and the Winter Nations Cup which was won by the Caribbean over 50s Team.

If you would like to know more about the Community Coaches CPD sessions and other Career development and training opportunities through JRF please contact

Companies compete in Football Fundraiser

Group photo of competing football teams

18th January 2024

On a chilly Thursday afternoon, local Companies; Eversleigh LLP, Ackroyd Lowrie Architects, and Regal Real Estates competed in a Football Tournament against former professional footballers and JRF staff, to raise money for the Foundation’s new sport & activity programme to support those living with dementia, as well as Walking Football in the Community.

With the competing teams and supporters, the crowd were joined by former professional footballers including Mark Stein as well as FA Coach Development Officer Peter Augustine.

Professional footballer and striker Kieron St Aimie took part in the tournament and said of the day; “I’m happy to turn out for charitable events and get the boots back on. I work with young people at Brent United and fully appreciate the role fundraising plays and the impact on projects.”

The fifty strong crowd enjoyed a competitive but friendly tournament and joined a minute’s silence in memory of the late Cyrille Regis, a Trustee of JRF who sadly passed away six years ago.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said; “We are delighted that these companies have taken time out and supported us by raising vital funds for these special programmes. We have a long-standing relationship with Eversleigh and Ackroyd Lowrie and we thank Regal Real Estates for joining forces. We couldn’t do some of the work we do without businesses like these with a social conscience. We are very grateful to them.”

If you would like to know more about JRF’s Just Play Dementia programme or the Walking Football in the Community initiative, please email

Going Back to my Roots

Young adults with their former football coach

On the afternoon of Sunday 21st January 2024, the JRF Team hosted a very special Alumni event focused on the young people of Brent who have grown up attending sports activities and projects delivered by the Foundation over the last sixteen years.

The event was an opportunity for staff and coaches to catch up with former participants and hear about their individual journeys into adulthood and the lives and careers they have forged.

The large crowd enjoyed seeing photos of their younger selves when they attended tournaments, school holiday programmes, trips and events delivered by the JRF Team.

In addition to local social media influencers, former Professional Footballer and Heritage hero, Richard Langley joined the event.

For coaches, mentors, participants and volunteers the day was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with the past and with so many individual success stories, look to the future with optimism for the young people of Brent.

Otis Roberts, CEO of JRF said of the day; “It was fantastic to see so many old faces connecting and reminiscing about the past, hearing what people are doing now and having a space for great community engagement.”

Children & Parents enjoy Celebration Event

Children cutting celebration cake with the Mayor of Brent

17th January 2024

On Wednesday evening the JRF Team including staff, coaches, and volunteers were joined at Bridgestone Arena by children and parents to mark the end of the ‘Inclusive Communities’ project – a sport for all programme for children with physical and learning disabilities (SEND) funded by the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) and You Decide.

The excited crowd were joined by the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Orleen Hylton, and Senior Grants Officer from NCIL and Brent Council, Danielle Grant-Vest both of whom presented the children with framed certificates and shields to celebrate their individual achievements and progress on the programme.

Before presentations were awarded the crowd enjoyed a film which provided an overview of the activities, excursions, and events that have taken place during the term of the project. They heard from JRF’s CEO Otis Roberts and Media Lead Michael Adams who led on the ‘Find your Voice’ media workshops via the onsite Cultural Media Centre.

Whilst the guests enjoyed refreshments, they heard from other parents who took to the stage to give their feedback on the project and the impact it has had on their child. Many commented on how their child’s confidence and happiness has grown since coming to the sessions, and the strong relationship with the JRF staff and youth volunteers.

The Inclusive Communities Project received overwhelming support from the local community when they were asked to vote for their favourite projects under Brent Council’s new You Decide community grants programme initiative.

Working with local SEND schools the Foundation offered some mid-term sports provision to support PE lessons and hosted an inter-school Sports Day during the summer, bringing children together from different schools.

Half term and summer holiday sessions were integrated alongside mainstream delivery and incorporating a Buddy System, creating an ethos where everyone can take part equally.

Throughout the project there were mentors on hand to instil confidence and self-belief in the children to take part in and try new sports, helping them to overcome barriers. Young people heading into secondary school were supported with the transition, and those aged 14+ were supported with progression pathways to Apprenticeships, training, and work experience to enhance life skills and opportunities.

Parents and carers were supported to form a Parents Active Group to offer respite, create a support network, meet socially, share ideas and information, and it wasn’t long before they had formed a dance group as well as joining in on other JRF activities including sport and fitness, and gardening to green up the local area.

Young volunteers Marley and Eyaad spoke to the audience on the evening about their experience of working on this project. They both said how much they had enjoyed working with the children and seeing them develop and their confidence grow.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said; “We understand how vital it is for groups and organisations like us, to break down barriers to participation to sport for children with SEND, to maximise their activity levels, enhance their confidence and self-belief, and enhance their social inclusion. We are hugely grateful to NCIL and the local community for their belief in our ability to deliver this programme. We are now seeking further funding to enable us to continue providing an inclusive programme for our SEND community.”


If you are interested in funding or sponsoring JRF to continue delivering the Inclusive Communities programme please contact Business Development Manager, Martene Carroll on

JRF’s I2A Heritage Exhibition at Harlesden Library

12 former professional footballers from Harlesden

Next week sees the launch of the Jason Roberts Foundation’s (JRF) Inspire to Achieve (I2A) legacy exhibition programme at Harlesden Library, supported by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and Brent Council.

The Exhibition will launch on Saturday 10th February from 12:00 – 4:00 pm and will continue to be showcased until the June 2024, and will celebrate the rich footballing heritage of Harlesden focusing on a dozen former professional footballers who grew up in Harlesden playing in local parks, attending local schools, and who graced stadiums Nationally and Internationally.

The launch day will welcome special guests including the Stein brothers and former striker Dave Regis who all took part in JRF’s Inspire to Achieve Heritage project, and assistant coach to the England National Team Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. There will also be a ‘Match of the Day’ performance by a local dance company, Hillside Performing Arts.

The Exhibition is a legacy of JRF’s I2A project which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, and will give local schools an opportunity to educate students on homegrown sporting heritage which is bound to appeal to budding footballers and keen fans.

The JRF Team are grateful to and hope to develop a closer relationship with Harlesden Library, working with Manager Noman Ali and Brent Museum and Archives working with Heritage Collections and Exhibitions Manager Colin Chester, Heritage Service Officer Rebecca Thompson, and Learning Officer Jana Cameron, to encourage young people who don’t currently use the library, to access their services and resources.

Otis Roberts, CEO of JRF said; “We are delighted to have the chance to extend the I2A Heritage project by showcasing our Exhibition at Harlesden Library. The public venue will provide an ideal opportunity for the local community to learn more about the dozen footballing icons who grew up as their neighbours, and who continue to have a positive impact on the community. We look forward to working with Harlesden Library and Brent Museums and Archives on this and other cultural and heritage projects.”

About Harlesden Library:

Harlesden Library is situated at 49A Craven Park Rd, London NW10 8SE and is open from 10:30 – 6:00 pm weekdays, 10:30 – 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and 12:00 – 5:00 pm on Sundays. Local residents can access the library to borrow books, search the e-library, book a computer and study space, or enjoy a range of activities for all ages. For more information about local Libraries in Brent visit

Young People have their say

A small group of young people receiving mentoring

The JRF Team are pleased to announce a new programme for young people in Brent; ‘Your Say’ to give them a platform to discuss issues that affect them, and to help tackle violence affecting youth and the community.

Working in partnership with Young Brent Foundation, the programme is funded by One Flow One Brent in their bid to provide opportunities and services that not just engage young people, but also educate them on how to live safely in their environments.

The programme will run through to the end of March and will encompass a Youth Steering Group, alongside positive activities including Sports coaching, mentoring to improve wellbeing as well as for professional development, workshops through the Met Police and the Safer Neighbourhood Team, and ‘Have your Say’ Media sessions.

Young Brent Foundation identified a need for services that focus on improving the mental health of the young people in three specific estates; Chalkhill, Church End, and Stonebridge, and through this grant funding they have formed partnerships with several local organisations who work with young people.

Otis Roberts, CEO of JRF said; “The objectives of this programme are clear, and strongly resonate with us. Our aim is for young people to have a platform for open discussion on a range of issues including drugs, violence, and gangs. We want to support them and help educate them, so they are more confident to resist being drawn into dangerous pathways and empower them to make positive decisions and friendship choices.”