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Martene Carroll

Half Term Week is a Huge Hit!

Children playing tag rugby

Children and young people from Brent were treated to an exciting holiday programme during the recent Half Term break, with a wide range of sports on offer including Tennis, Football, Boxing, Dance, Golf and Teqball to name a few. It was all possible thanks to the dedication of several community organisations including the Jason Roberts Foundation, Brent Bulls, Connect Stars, and Hillside Performing Arts, thanks to funding from the Hyde Group. After the restrictions that have been imposed over the last year or so due to Covid-19 it was important the children were given a half term to remember.

Throughout the week the children had the opportunity to try out new sports or continue with their old favourite ones including football and basketball. Coaching staff varied the sessions and the style of delivery to continually challenge the young people, whilst keeping them engaged and enthusiastic about sport. Some parents couldn’t resist getting involved in the action too!

Some children were given the opportunity for away-day trips for crazy golf and a museum visit to learn more about London culture.

Otis Roberts CEO at the Foundation said: ‘The Foundation is always happy to welcome the young people of Brent to the centre during the school holidays’, so they have the chance to take part in a range of sports and activities in a safe and structured environment. Sport can be a great tool for engagement and it’s good for children to have a variety of activities to try out, whilst interacting and making friends. We are very thankful to Hyde Housing, Connect Stars and Brent Bulls for their continued support, and we look forward to working with them on future initiatives.’

Be sure to follow the Jason Roberts Foundation social media channels @JasonRobertsFdn to keep up to date with all the news, ongoing activities, and new initiatives being delivered.

Football & Fasting – The Ramadan Experience

The Ramadan Experience digital flyer

The Jason Roberts Foundation were delighted to host The Ramadan Experience in collaboration with the Zesh Rehman Foundation on Wednesday 21st April. The event, which aimed to give viewers a greater understanding into the correlation and transition from playing football and observing Ramadan, provided some great insight from former player Nathan Ellington, as well as current Chorley FC coach Irfan Kawri.

Online viewers were treated to the next generation of players attending as well, including, Zidane Iqbal (Manchester United), Harun Hamid (QPR), Yasin Arai (Stevenage), and Cheick Diabate (Exeter City). These additional guests spoke of their personal experience as players and how each of their clubs support them during Ramadan.

Irfan Kawri said: ‘I think it’s really important that we, as people from Muslim backgrounds act as good ambassadors, and we should be proud of our faith. There is a lot of talk around inclusivity, diversity and celebrating differences and we should all be proud of that and it gives people the opportunity to learn more about different faiths’

JRF is currently hosting the Ramadan Cup for those observing Ramadan, with the Zesh Rehman Foundation supporting people with training to better understand the experience of observing Ramadan, whilst playing sport.

The online discussion can be viewed via the following link

From Foster Care to Footballer – Mark Bright

Mark Bright Digital Flyer

On Wednesday 24th March, the Jason Roberts Foundation were delighted to welcome former, Leicester, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday forward, Mark Bright to our ‘The Player, The Man’ series. The evening had a specific focus on not only Mark’s career as a professional footballer but also his time in foster care.

It proved to provide some intriguing discussion points around personal challenges, adaptations, and mindset around day to day and game by game experiences. The evening had an added twist, as Mark and the Foundation were also joined by Paul Egunjobi, who was also brought up in foster care and has just completed his training to become a fully qualified solicitor.

Paul relayed his own experiences of the challenges he has faced on his inspiring journey so far, but also sought greater insight from Mark, around not only his playing career but just as importantly his experiences within foster care.

The event also provided a good opportunity to highlight Mark’s book, in which Mark added; ‘Everyone, quite rightly has a story to tell and I just hope that people will feel uplifted by reading my story. Challenges are there for everybody, but I am happy to tell mine and I hope people will enjoy it.’

‘The Player, The Man’ series has previously featured guests including Michael Thomas, Andrew Cole, and Emile Heskey, all who have recounted their own personal experiences and been asked questions by an invited audience.

Adam Lea, a sports consultant who supports the Foundation with marketing and social media said; ‘If you haven’t seen any of these interviews yet, I really recommend you do so. The diversity of career, experiences and successes demonstrate what a different path we all can tread. Mark’s session was a fascinating insight into someone who has so much to say, but who also really wants to listen. It really is inspiring stuff.’

To watch the interviews back, please click the following link

You Are Not Alone – SEND Conference

SEND conference digital flyer

Tuesday 23rd March 2021

During what has proven to be a challenging and difficult 12+ months, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) has worked hard to ensure our most vulnerable children and young people continue to be engaged in physical activities, games, and sport, and to say to their families – You are not alone.

Thanks to our Funders including WNST, Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, Sport England through the Young Brent Foundation, CAF Resilience Fund, and City Bridge Trust, the Foundation have loaned families items of equipment such as small trampolines and sensory games, and over the last few months we have invited families to the centre on a 1-2-1 basis to take part in outside sports and games together, as a family.

JRF, in collaboration with the Cultural Media Centre, were pleased to host an online SEND conference for parents, carers, siblings, SEN schools and organisations, local Councillors, and our Funders as part of the You Are Not Alone series.



The Player, the Man – Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence digital flyer

Thursday 4th March 2021

The Jason Roberts Foundation were delighted to be working with former Leicester and Bradford City player Jamie Lawrence once again as the hugely popular figure fielded questions from a special online audience about current topics, including, Youth Violence, Health, Resilience, and the Pandemic.

The evening was extremely well attended and included questions from leader of Brent Council Cllr Muhammed Butt and the Mayor of Brent. Jason Roberts was also on hand to pay homage to Jamie and the fantastic work that he has continued to do after his playing career and most notably during the pandemic itself.

Throughout the evening, Jamie’s humility shone through notably when he said, “A lot of people have lost their lives, but we have to be grateful that we are here now and present. When we went into lockdown, I wanted to come out of it in a positive vein and come out stronger and fitter. I’ve tried to make the most of my time and any young person or adult in this time, needs to make the most of what they are going through, you can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself, we will come out of it, and we need to ensure that we continue to engage.”

The event was part of the successful ongoing series ‘The Player, The Man’ hosted by the Foundation, in which former guests have included Emile Heskey, Michael Thomas and Andrew Cole. Jamie’s appearance like previous guests before him was so popular that the event overran and demonstrated the influence that these former players have and continue to have.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation added, ‘It is always a pleasure to have so many different people attending our online discussions and events. We hope that the range of topics the players have so openly discussed have benefited the local and wider community, through these challenging times.”

If you missed out on the event, it can be accessed via the following link


Working together for a brighter future

The Mayor of Brent at his desk

The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Ezeajughi is supporting the work of the Jason Roberts Foundation and the Sickle Cell Society during his term in office (2019/21).

Both organisations work to support the health and wellbeing of the Brent community.

If you would like to donate to one of the Mayor’s chosen charities, please click on the Mayor of Brent’s Page:

About the two chosen charities:

The Sickle Cell Society is the only national charity in the UK that supports and represents people affected by a sickle cell disorder to improve their overall quality of life. First set up as a registered charity in Brent in 1979, the Sickle Cell Society is celebrating 40 years of working alongside health care professionals, parents, and people living with sickle cell to raise awareness of the disorder. The Society’s aim is to support those living with sickle cell, empowering them to achieve their full potential.

The Jason Roberts Foundation has been working in Brent for over 13- years and is a registered sport for development charity engaging with hundreds of children and young people from the Brent area. They deliver a programme of wrap-around support including mentoring, life skills, education, and training, within the multi-sports activities that provide opportunities to young people, including those at risk of offending, those excluded from school or struggling in the school curriculum, and promote exercise and team games for children and young people, including those with physical and learning disabilities.

FREE Female Football Referee Taster Session

Jawahir JJ Roble Female Referee

The JRF are delighted to announce one of the latest initiatives being delivered from the community organisation, a FREE Female Football Referee Taster Session.

The Session which is taking place on Saturday 20th March at 3pm (UK Time) is offering participants the opportunity to gain a greater insight into refereeing and the methods used in the game, which includes best practise examples, as well as understanding the referee pathway.

This course is not just for aspiring referees, it is also for those people who are players, that possibly want a greater understanding of decision making within the game. or even supporters that are keen to gain insight into the matchday procedures and actions being taken by match officials.

The Female Referee Taster Session is the first of its kind and the Foundation are delighted to support Jawahir Roble on this initiative as she leads the session, demonstrating her passion and experience, as well as having special guests to help field questions from the participants on the course.

The event which is free for all females to attend can be accessed via the link below and can be viewed on either YouTube or Facebook Live.

The Jason Roberts Foundation and Jawahir Roble hope to see you there and enjoy the experience of expanding your knowledge on the game.

The Player, The Man – Michael Thomas

Footballer Michael Thomas

On Wednesday 10th February, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) were delighted to welcome former Arsenal, Liverpool, and Benfica player Michael Thomas to their latest ‘The Player, The Man’ online interactive session. The live events, which have recently hosted names including Andrew Cole and Emile Heskey, enable the audience to listen and question the guest.

The invited audience had a real and transparent insight into the passions, decisions, emotions, challenges, successes, and love for the game from the former England international. Discussing topics such as life after football, transitioning from Arsenal to Liverpool, the Benfica experience and of course the famous title winning goal meant that everyone in attendance had something to take away from the event, whether that be a blast from the past, a thought-provoking moment, or a nugget of advice. It truly was another memorable evening.

The audience were given the opportunity to ask their own questions and in true Michael style he answered them all, with dignity and integrity. For someone who said that ‘he found playing in front of thousands of people a more comfortable experience than speaking in front of far smaller groups,’ his ease and warmth belied otherwise. Michael was a superb guest who prompted enthusiastic feedback from members of the audience. The captivating interview can be viewed here:

This is not the first time the former midfielder has worked with the Foundation. In 2010 he accompanied the JRF team to Grenada to support the launch of the Premier League National Football Competition.

Since then, he has been working hard off the pitch establishing the Phoenix Sport and Media Group, a multi-disciplinary professional advisory group helping to safeguard and protect iconic talent and some of the world’s most talented rising stars.

Brent Councillor Ketan Sheth, Chairman of Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee added the closing remarks to the event by thanking Michael Thomas personally stating ‘The pandemic has been absolutely brutal particularly here in Brent and surrounding communities, so I am so grateful to the Jason Roberts Foundation for holding community events like this one. It helps to keep us all going strong, particularly our young people. I want to say a huge thank you to Michael, not just a famous footballer but a real community hero to all of us. Thank you very much.’

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said, ‘As always we are extremely grateful to Michael for his time and commitment. A true great on the pitch and off it as well and we hope to have the opportunity to work with him again in the near future.’

The evening with Michael was recorded and is available to view in 3 parts:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


JRF Host an Evening with Emile Heskey

Emile Heskey Autobiography Even Heskey Scored

On Wednesday evening the Jason Roberts Foundation were pleased to be joined by former professional footballer Emile Heskey to talk on a range of topics from diversity in the game, pre-season regimes, meditation, the barbers in Liverpool, and the resilience needed to bounce back from adversity.

One of Leicester’s favourite son’s winning promotion, four top-ten Premier League finishes and two League Cups during his 5-years at the Club, he went on to win six trophies with Liverpool after an £11million move in 2000, at the time setting a record transfer fee paid by the Merseyside Club.

The guest panel were joined by 150 people including a large cohort of young people, who had the opportunity to ask questions of the former English footballer, whose career spanned 18-years in the Football League and Premier League and representing England in International football.

Some of the questions that were put to the largely unsung player were What three things do you do every day that has helped with your success? What was your reaction when you got called up by England? Who was the toughest defender you played against? and What was it like for your personally when someone would try to put you down?

Hearing from Emile on issues that resonate with many of the young people who joined the conversation – his humble beginnings, his feelings of loneliness when he first moved to Liverpool, overcoming fierce criticism, racism in football and society, they gained valuable insight on how to face and overcome these challenges, and to become more resilient.

Dean Eldredge, the ghost-writer of the former footballer’s Autobiography, Even Heskey Scored, which was nominated for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards Autobiography of the Year, 2020, was asked in an interview with NB Magazine (  what three words would he use to sum up Emile Heskey? His answer was: Authentic, humble, thoughtful.

Everyone who was lucky enough to join the conversation on Wednesday evening would no doubt agree.

The interview was recorded and can be viewed in 2 parts:

Part One

Part Two

First JRF Health Watch Forum a huge success

3 men talking about prostrate cancer

Last week the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) and Cultural Media Centre hosted a Prostrate Cancer Awareness discussion in collaboration with four survivors and a Consultant Surgeon, as part of the Health Watch Series community initiative.

Forum guests and viewers heard from each of the survivors – Errol, Chris, Michael, and Sam, about their experience of being diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer, how it impacted them physically and emotionally, their treatment, and being in remission. Viewers had the opportunity to ask questions as well as gaining valuable information and insight from Dr Rajesh Kavia, Consultant Urological Surgeon BSc(Hons), MB BS(Distinction), FRCS(Urol), FRCS, who has extensive knowledge of the disease.

Dr Kavia, was on hand throughout the evening and provided information to raise awareness of prostrate cancer including diagnosis and treatment. He had this important message for people;

‘A lot of patients with prostate cancer, will not have any symptoms at all, so if you are in your 40’s or 50’s get your GP to do a PSA test. There is no reason not to do a test.’

Guests including Councillor Ketan Sheth – Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, and Dave Regis, Coach Programme Manager for the Premier League and Trustee of JRF, heard not only about the risks linked to prostrate cancer but also about the importance of having people around you to support you through the process if you are diagnosed.

Sam, a photographer who has worked closely with the Foundation was diagnosed in 2020 and he had this simple message. ‘It is highly important that you arrange an appointment with your GP and have a blood test taken. A year to the day I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I am here and all is well, so get yourself tested.’

Errol Mckellar, who founded the Errol Mckellar Foundation to raise awareness of the disease after he was diagnosed in 2010, emphasised the importance of talking about it, “to stop men from dying through ignorance and fear”. He said; ‘We all have to talk about it. This forum and people around us is so big for us. The more talking we do around this, the better we will become.’

Prostrate Cancer is the most common cancer in men, but most men with early prostrate cancer don’t have symptoms. It’s vital to understand the risks – for example, black men are twice as likely to get prostrate cancer than other men, and family history is another risk factor. To check your risk, and for more information on signs and symptoms, and getting support, go to

The forum discussion can be viewed here:

JRF will be hosting more of these Health Watch Forums in the future. Part 2 – ‘Talking Diabetes’ will be held on Tuesday 26th January.

For more information on upcoming events and news follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, @jasonrobertsFDN.