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Martene Carroll

Bakkavor Meals London Fundraise for JRF

Bakkavor Foods T10 Cricket Event

On Sunday 7th August Bakkavor Meals London took over Bridgestone Arena for a community day of Sports, Games, Activities, and Refreshments, to raise funds for the Jason Roberts Foundation.

The Fundraising Event organised by Luke Burgham, HR Business Partner from Bakkavor Meals followed the success of the T10 Cricket Event last year that raised over £600 for JRF, and saw staff, teams, and volunteers come together with people from the local community, in a day that included a Cricket and Football Tournament, Giant Board Games, an Inflatable Bouncy Castle, and a Raffle which included some fabulous prizes!

As well as raising money on the day Bakkavor Meals have set up a Just Giving page so those people that weren’t able to attend the Sunday Event could still donate.

The sunny weather helped to ensure everyone who attended had a great day out.

Luke Burgham said of the day.

“We were beyond excited to be able to host our second annual cricket event with the Jason Roberts Foundation this year. On the back of the success of last year’s we were able to continue growing this event together and making it the best experience for everyone involved! Being able to also have a Jason Roberts team this year was the cherry on top of the cake, and we hoped showed everyone what the heart of this Foundation was about by keeping people playing sports! We look forward to many more years in partnership.”

For more information regarding Bakkavor Meals London visit https://www.bakkavor.com/en/home/default.aspx

Cyrille Regis – His Legacy Lives on

Group photo including Roberts and Michelle Regis

Sunday 31st July 2022

As part of the Jason Roberts Foundation’s (JRF) Inspire to Achieve (I2A) Heritage Project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Cyrille Regis Legacy Cup and Fun day was held at Bridgestone Arena, in the heart of the Stonebridge Estate on the day of the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 Final.

A big turnout from the local community were treated to an appearance from special guests Robert and Michelle, son and daughter of the late Brent hero and footballing icon, Cyrille Regis, MBE.

The trip to Stonebridge brought back fond memories for Robert and Michelle as their time as children was split between homes in Birmingham where their father played for West Bromwich Albion, and Stonebridge in Brent.

Robert recalled he doesn’t remember the number of the flat they lived in as their door was “always open” and their home “was always full of people”. He remembered how he envied his cousin Jason (Roberts) as he had one grandparent living upstairs and another grandparent living downstairs and that seemed “unreal” to him, and the “honour (he) felt walking with my cousins to Rockies Chip Shop”.

Michelle said Stonebridge was where they got their grounding as children. They were taught to say, ‘good morning, good afternoon, or good evening’ – “never just hello” and how their father would be there waiting for them, with his cap on at a tilt on his head and his bent arms and chin resting on the balcony ledge. They both agreed they had “the best times” and loved returning to Stonebridge as there was such a feeling of community and everyone seemed to know each other.

The Foundation’s I2A Heritage project was inspired by the sporting legacies left by the Footballers who Paved the Way in the borough of Brent, and Cyrille Regis ”became the talisman for breaking through the bigotry of a different era and encouraging diversity during his seven-year spell between 1977-1984.” Ref: https://www.wba.co.uk/news/2020/april/legend-days-cyrille-regis

Thanks to National Lottery players, local people attending the event enjoyed a host of activities including football matches, face painting for the children, interviews, and heritage awareness of the iconic footballers from the past that grace the borough and performed on the international stage.

Also in attendance was the Mayor of the London Borough of Brent, Councillor Abdi Aden and WBA Photographer Laurie Rampling who first snapped Robert aged 2 and he was reunited with the son of his great friend  Cyrille.

Watch out more heritage news and the I2A Heritage website coming soon.

Summer of Fun for Brent young people

Golf Lessons at Bridgestone

As the school gates close for the long summer holidays, the gates at Bridgestone Arena are opened as the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) kicks off their annual Summer Programme for the children and young people of Brent.

This year the action-packed agenda of sports, games, and activities started on Monday 25th July and will run until the 26th of August 2022.

With a range of sporting activities on the menu including basketball, tennis, badminton, golf, table tennis, boxing, football, cricket, and dance, as well as creative arts, and media training through the Cultural Media Centre, there is something for everyone.

Thanks to funding from Young Brent Foundation – One Flow One Brent, Hyde, Brent Council, and Karakusevic-Carson Architects, young people will also enjoy some away-days to try their hand at rowing and kayaking, amongst other excursions.

To keep young people active and engaged throughout their summer holidays there will be activities for different age groups and abilities.

From Monday to Thursday 12:00 – 4:00 pm children aged 5 – 16 years can enjoy all of the activities on offer and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:00 – 9:30pm 16 – 25-year-olds are welcome to enjoy a range of sports. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’s from 12:00 – 2:00 pm children and young people with physical and learning disabilities will have dedicated coaches delivering some fun activities and games.

Otis Roberts, CEO at JRF said: “We are so grateful for the support these organisations and businesses provide to enable us to deliver these programmes for our children and young people. It ensures they have a safe place to go during the long summer holidays, where they can take part in sports and fun, affordable activities. Keeping fit, active, and healthy whilst having the opportunity to socialise with their friends and make new ones, and enjoy new experiences through our excursions is our aim for these children. Our summer is always extremely busy, but equally very rewarding for our staff, coaches, and volunteers to see how much the children enjoy themselves.”

JRF offer an open access programme of activities to ensure everyone can take part and no-one is excluded.

For more information regarding the summer programme email the JRF Team at info@jasonrobertsfoundation.org

These Girls Can

Womens' Team with Eartha Pond and Rachel Yankey

Sunday 17th July 2022

Ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 Final at neighbouring Wembley Stadium on Sunday 31st of July, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) hosted an exhilarating Women’s Football Tournament at Bridgestone Arena, NW10 with special guests Eartha Pond and Rachel Yankey, OBE.

As part of the JRF Inspire to Achieve Heritage Project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the afternoon’s sporting event included a special Memory Café where the audience heard from Eartha and Rachel about growing up in Brent and their journey to becoming professional footballers.

With England’s Lionesses playing in the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 semi-finals only days away, this all-female Memory Café was the perfect time for the women competing in the day’s football tournament to be inspired by these two players who made such a significant contribution to Women’s football both Nationally and Internationally.

Some amazing questions were put to the former defender and left winger who both played at the highest level in Women’s football from a young age, and with Eartha’s role on the FA Women’s Football Board one of the audience members wanted to know what the FA’s plans are to maintain the momentum of the UEFA Women’s Euros competition and keep the focus on girls entering the sport.

Rachel who played for clubs including Arsenal and Fulham and who won her first England cap and goal at the age of seventeen, was the first professional female player registered in England, revealed that she had first been spotted by the head coach of the male team.

Eartha who joined the women for their training session ahead of the tournament, played for clubs including Chelsea, Everton, and Tottenham Hotspur, and surprised the audience when she spoke about having to work whilst pursuing her career in professional Women’s football, and that she was a sports teacher and Assistant Vice-Principal at the local Crest Academy.

The insightful Q&A session uncovered stories of the resilience young women like Rachel and Eartha had to display when Women’s Football went from grassroots to elite level in what was then a male-dominated sport. The audience appreciated the contribution these two former professional players have made to Women’s football and how they and the current Lionesses have raised the profile of Women in football and have opened the door for future generations to pursue a career playing football professionally.

The day ended with a fun Heritage Quiz with a focus on Brent, and with excited anticipation of the forthcoming Women’s semi-final on the 26th of July.

The Resilience of the Regis Brothers inspire students

Cyrille Regis Footballer

On Wednesday 26th January the students at Newman Catholic College received a visit from former student and ex-professional footballer Dave Regis, as part of the Jason Roberts Foundation’s Inspire to Achieve Project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The former striker who scored 53 goals from 237 appearances in the Football League in the 1990s, notably for Stoke City and Notts County, spoke to the students about the resilience, the challenges, and the successes of he and his late brother, Cyrille Regis, on their journey from Newman Catholic College to the different Leagues in their footballing careers.

The Regis Memory Café gave students and those accessing the Q&A session via Zoom, the opportunity to ask Dave about his time as a professional footballer, and to tell previously unheard stories of the childhood he and his brother shared growing up in Brent.

Cyrille Regis, MBE (1958 – 2018) was a professional footballer who played as a forward. His professional playing career spanned 19 years, where he made 614 league appearances and scored 158 league goals, most prolifically at West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City. He remains a footballing icon who broke through the bigotry of a different era and encouraged diversity, helping to pave the way for current and future footballers.

After his sad and untimely passing in 2018 his family set up the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust which serves to honour and remember the life of Cyrille Regis MBE. For more information visit https://www.cyrilleregis.com/

For more information regarding the JRF Inspire to Achieve Heritage project please contact info@jasonrobertsfoundation.org

Exhibition Match celebrates diversity, culture, & Heritage

Heritage Exhibition Match Players

Sunday the 12th of June saw several ex-professional and current footballers descend on the Bridgestone Arena turf to celebrate the achievements of former players that went before as part of the JRF’s Inspire to Achieve project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

The 200 strong crowd were treated to a Festival of Sports with a host of special appearances including a team from East London which consisted of some well-known names including Henry Hughton and former Reading legend Michael Gilkes, alongside the Stein brothers, Dominican International Richard Paquette and Jefferson Louis and another footballing family – the trio of Grenadian international players Byron, Alvin and Bradley Bubb.

The colourful event brought out authentic stories of players reconnecting with their countries of heritage, recollections of the Windrush journey the players’ parents and grandparents experienced were shared, and memories of the journeys each of the players have lived through and the collective impact they have had on the modern game were told.

The memorable afternoon culminated in a celebration of flags, music, and reunion.

Algie who organised the East London team commented; “Today was inspirational in so many ways. Coming to Brent and seeing so many youngsters enjoy the day, and of course catching up with old friends. The reunion, reminiscing on our stories, and celebrating our past was sensational.”

Paul Merson Inspires audience at BOXPARK Wembley

Paul Merson at BOXPARK Wembley

On the evening of Monday 13th June 2022 tables at BOXPARK Wembley filled with 400 guests young and old, to hear the inspirational story of Paul Merson’s journey from Harlesden in Brent to the national pitches of the Premier League, as well as the International stage, earning 21 Caps for England.

As part of the Jason Roberts Foundation Inspire to Achieve Heritage Programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players, the project will uncover the untold stories of 18 footballers from Brent who paved the way for future sportspeople, and will produce exhibitions, talks, and memory cafes along the way.

Paul answered questions from freelance sports broadcaster Pippa Monique and football commentator and pundit for Sky Sports Dickie Davies with humour and honesty. Michael Adams from JRF’s Cultural Media Centre followed the professionals, and Heritage Youth Ambassadors Eyadd and Yunis demonstrated their journalistic ability on the stage in front of the packed audience.

Former professional footballer, manager, and sports television pundit for Sky Sports, Paul talked openly about the highs and lows of his professional career, starting as an Apprentice at Arsenal in 1984, before his debut for the Gunners on 22 November 1986 against Manchester City.

During the evening Paul was presented with a personally penned shirt by his former youth teammates from Forest United, the first club he played for, who celebrate their 50th anniversary next year.

Amongst the audience were some of Paul’s former teammates from Arsenal, the Mayor of Brent Cllr. Abdi Aden, Chief Executive of Brent Council Carolyn Downs, and Leader of the Council Muhammed Butt.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the JRF said of the evening; “”To have someone of Paul’s calibre as part of our Inspire to Achieve project is an honour. He is an asset to any team. Young people and future sportspeople can learn a lot from him.”

He went on to say; “We are very grateful to BOXPARK Wembley for hosting this event, Christian Klapp founder of Eversleigh LLP for sponsoring the evening, Laura Ashby from Quintain, and of course the National Lottery Heritage Fund for giving us the opportunity to uncover these untold stories so they can be preserved for current and future generations, and we hope they too will be Inspired to Achieve their dreams and goals.”

Picnic on the pitch at Wembley for Big Jubilee Lunch

Queens Platinum Jubilee English Logo
England legends Sir Geoff Hurst and Karen Carney have announced plans for a huge community event at Wembley Stadium to take place on Thank You Day, the final day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Thank You Day is being held this year on Sunday 5 June, to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Stein Brothers Inspire youngsters to Achieve

Stein Brothers Memory Cafe Digital Flyer

On Wednesday 15th December, the JRF Team hosted the first Memory Café Event as part of the Inspire to Achieve Heritage Project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Stein brothers – Brian, Edwin, and Mark – shared their truly inspiring story of the journey they travelled from their home in Cape Town to Brent and their individual careers as professional footballers.

The event at Bridgestone Arena which was also broadcast online via Zoom was launched with an opening ceremony including a dance performance from Shaq, who delivers dance training sessions for the Foundation, and a group of local youngsters, to a backdrop of the England and South African flags being waved.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the exciting new project will uncover the untold stories of 18 footballers from Brent who paved the way for future sportspeople, and will produce exhibitions, talks, and memory cafes during the term of the project, and beyond.

Young people from Brent will benefit from the Inspire to Achieve project by honing their media, presenting, and production skills and will have the opportunity to meet and interview the former players as part of the collation of their oral histories.

Some of the subjects the brothers discussed included living in Brent, school days, dealing with racism, and ending their footballing careers.

Bite size Vodcasts with highlights from the evening can be accessed via the new CMC website here https://cmc.jasonrobertsfoundation.com/heritage

Minibus Donation for Foundation

Minibus

The JRF Team were over the moon to receive a donation from a generous benefactor to purchase a minibus to support their work for the benefit of the local community.

The 14-seater minibus is a long-sought after attribute for the Foundation to aid the community outreach they do across Brent and will enable coaches and volunteers to be driven to different wards, parks, and green spaces across the borough to deliver sports sessions and community events.

The vehicle will complement some of the Foundation’s work and will enable participants of the JRF funded projects to be transported to Bridgestone Arena, the home of the Foundation since the launch in 2007, or to other venues for away-days, trips, and tournaments so they can experience other activities.

The London-based Architecture Practice (that has chosen to remain anonymous), was introduced to the Foundation and was impressed by the work they do in the local community. They supported some youth delivery over the summer with a donation, and subsequently chose to offer a larger donation to sponsor the purchase of the minibus.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said; “The addition of this minibus will make a huge difference to our offer. It is something we have aspired to for several years but there are rarely funding opportunities available to purchase a capital asset of this value. We are very grateful to our sponsor for their kind and magnanimous support.”