Footballers come Full Circle

Full Circle Football Squad

On Sunday 16th October the Jason Roberts Foundation were delighted to host a very unique event – ‘Full Circle’ at the Bridgestone Arena, as former professional footballers gathered en masse to share their journeys, knowledge, and experience of the game, with the local community and aspiring individuals looking to learn more about the inner depths of the game.

The event was supported by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) with former player Riz Rehman attending alongside the JRF’s Inspire to Achieve Heritage project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Young Brent Foundation, and Connect Stars.

Former professional players, Zesh Rehman, Mikele Leigertwood, Colin Barnes, Jerome Thomas, Marcus Bean, Mark Stein, Edwin Stein, Jamal Campbell Ryce, Richard Langley, Justin Cochrane,  DJ Campbell, Junior Lewis, and Phil Ifil, all came together and delivered a number of sessions, looking at practical coaching and delivery, skill sharing, and personal history sessions to help educate people from the local community and surrounding areas.

The initiative which has taken several months to plan really did come Full Circle on the day of the event, with the name reflecting the individual journey of each of the players who attended, and their contribution on the day, helping to inspire future generations.

With the ongoing partnership between JRF and local Football & Sports Business University, UCFB, a small team of students who are studying different degree courses, are supporting JRF events such as the Full Circle initiative.

The students – Joshua Hall and Matt Jessup who are studying Football Business and Media, Daniel Marshall who is studying Multimedia Sports Journalism, and Alex Hardy who is studying Football Business and Broadcasting, used their collective skills on the day to interview players and other participants, and film and edit a video of the event for JRF. The experience and skills they demonstrated will be used as credits for their degree coursework.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation commented: “These players were, and still are, an integral part of the community. We felt that an initiative such as this really epitomizes the valuable contribution these individuals can offer, by sharing their stories – their upbringing, playing careers as well as their subsequent careers in football, and their knowledge and expertise. The event enabled participants to have a up close and personal experience and discover key elements of the game and associated careers that will help their development and understanding, allowing them to take their next individual step in the game.

Our first Full Circle event has been a huge success and something that we will certainly look to deliver again in the future.”

Due to the popularity of the event, JRF have organised some follow-on sessions where some participants will visit some of the coaches in their place of work helping to develop community partnerships and employment opportunities for young people.

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

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:

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.

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

For more information regarding the JRF Inspire to Achieve Heritage project please contact

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

JRF continue to connect communities

Greeting Elders at Event

On Sunday 5th December the JRF Team once again opened their doors at the Bridgestone Arena, to welcome the older residents of Brent for a special community event.

As part of the Foundation’s commitment to engage and support members of the community who may be isolated or lonely, JRF hosted a day of sports, music, games, and refreshments specifically for the older people in Brent.

The initiative which forms part of JRF’s Building Communities project, funded by the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) enabled residents to connect or reconnect with friends, and neighbours.

The JRF team were delighted by the turn out as the hall soon filled with the lively chat and laughter of those who attended. Information was provided about the other activities offered through the Building Communities project including flower arranging, online chair-based exercise sessions for those with limited mobility, sports, fitness, and yoga sessions at the centre, and, more recently, a book club.

A short video of the event can be viewed via the Cultural Media Centre Website

For more information about JRF activities and events please follow us on social media #JasonRobertsFdn or contact us for more details on