talkSPORT takeover at JRF community hub

talkSPORT panel with Cllr Butt

As England were preparing to host Scotland at Wembley Stadium for the Euros, just a stone’s throw away, the JRF were preparing for a big event themselves. The Foundation were delighted to welcome the mighty talkSPORT to the Bridgestone Arena, for a sporting community showcase that demonstrated the power of sport and how it can harness community spirit.

Natalie Sawyer, Perry Groves and Andros Townsend hosted the Outside Broadcast for talkSPORT as they prepared for the evenings big game between England and Scotland. The event was generously supported by several key organisations including Eversleigh, Ackroyd Lowrie, Londonewcastle, Higgins Partnership, Avanton, and Brent Council.

A host of developers, housing providers, and sports delivery partners including Brent Bulls, Jacksonville Jaguars, the Golf Trust, and Teqball came face to face with the local community, and all contributed to an extremely successful afternoon of sport including teqball, golf, tennis, and basketball.

Former Scotland International, Gordon Strachan was also in attendance and learnt more about some of the diverse activities the JRF offer the local community, including flower arranging. Although with the broadcasting schedule there wasn’t an opportunity for him or the rest of the talkSPORT panel to participate in a football exhibition, in which local partners demonstrated their footballing prowess.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Jason Roberts Foundation said. ‘It’s been an honour to welcome talkSPORT and so many community partners to Bridgestone today. Community work and the impact it can have is incredibly powerful and I am delighted that we have been able to showcase that to such good effect. This has been a perfect way to build up for tonight’s game and I hope people have enjoyed it, as much as me and the rest of the JRF team have.’

The event which ran from 1 until 4pm, was not going to be spoiled by the typically unpredictable British weather and children from Jason Robert’s former school, Our Lady of Lourdes, as well as some other local young people, were invited to try different sports, including golf, teqball, and American Football.

The JRF Team extend their gratitude to the host of partners, supporters, and community members who helped to ensure the talkSPORT panel and guests received a warm welcome, and for making the event so successful.

To keep up to date on all Jason Roberts Foundation events and activities, please follow the foundations social media channels which can be found @jasonrobertsfdn

JRF Community Hub gets makeover

Community hub being decorated

Bridgestone Arena, the home of the Jason Roberts Foundation since the charity’s launch in 2007, is receiving a makeover thanks to Engie, partners of Hyde Housing who own the community hub.

The services and materials required to refresh the building have been generously donated by Engie as part of their social value agreement, and they are also providing fully subsidised work experience opportunities as part of the project.

So far 200 litres of paint have been donated to refresh the building as well as a mobile tower for the duration of the project. Engie are working closely with the Foundation to ensure the building gets the exact makeover it needs.

Read the full article on the Hyde website here:

JE3 Foundation Donates Defibrillator to the JRF

Otis Roberts awarded defibrillator by JE3 Foundation

The Jason Roberts Foundation are the latest welcome recipients of the JE3 Defibrillator Donation Scheme. The Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation selected JRF as ‘the perfect recipient for a life-saving defibrillator’ due to JRF’s work to supports thousands of people, young and old from their permanent community hub at Bridgestone Arena in London.

The Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation which was founded in 2019 and propelled by the life and legacy of Justin Edinburgh, pursues one goal: Increased survival following cardiac arrest. The JE3 Foundation campaigns for legislative change on the installation of Automated External Defibrillators within health and sports facilities, while raising awareness of cardiac arrest and delivering CPR training.

The JRF is extremely grateful to receive this life-saving equipment. In the UK, more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year. Survival rates are just 1 in 10. Early intervention through CPR and defibrillators can double the chances of survival.

Charlie Edinburgh, CEO of the JE3 Foundation and trustee, Jobi McAnuff presented CEO of the JRF, Otis Roberts with the defibrillator. Otis welcomed the donation saying, ‘The Jason Roberts Foundation is a community hub for learning, building new connections, developing life skills, and creating opportunity. We’re also a safe space for our participants. Today’s donation from the JE3 Foundation takes us one step further in safeguarding the many members of our community who walk through our doors.’

To find out more about the vital work of the JE3 Foundation visit

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.

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.

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.

Young Brent residents debate Climate Change

Illustrated Brent Climate Emergency Strategy

Earlier this week, a panel of young participants of the Jason Roberts Foundation, were invited to a virtual roundtable with Cllr Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, and Oliver Myers, Head of Environmental Strategy, to discuss climate change and how, collectively, we tackle it.

Brent Council approached the Foundation as they wanted to open a dialogue directly with local people about its draft Climate Emergency Strategy, alongside a formal consultation. There was a particular desire to hear from young people as they are “typically underrepresented as a group in council consultations”, and they can be particularly impacted by the significant health risks from air pollution as their lungs are still developing and they breathe more rapidly than adults.

Ahead of the roundtable the five young people were given a factsheet and a simple illustration of the draft Strategy to provide them with relevant information, to enable them to prepare some questions for Cllr Sheth and Oliver Myers.

Brent’s Draft Climate Emergency Strategy proposes a path to make Brent carbon neutral by 2030 which will mean making changes in all sorts of areas of life in Brent.

The hour-long discussion covered different elements of the draft Strategy and its real-world implications including:

Green homes. How do we make our homes more environmentally friendly? What does a ‘green home’ look like?

The stuff we buy and the stuff we throw away. How can we encourage local businesses to cut back on the amount of plastic they use? Why is recycling important?

Getting around. How can we protect children from air pollution which harms their lungs? How can we get young people into healthy habits, like walking or cycling to school?

In the past two years, young people have driven the climate emergency agenda forward internationally and the young people on the panel showed how incredibly passionate they are about this issue. They have been invited to join the Brent Environmental Network, which is being set up to bring people together to act on climate change. A special schools’ network is also being created.

The informative and engaging debate can be viewed here

JRF Launch the Cultural Media Centre

Cultural Media Centre Logo

On Tuesday evening, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) hosted a virtual launch of a new addition to their offer, the ‘Cultural Media Centre (CMC), situated at Bridgestone Arena, the home of the Foundation since its launch in 2007.

The CMC was borne, in part, as a response to the ongoing pandemic and the need of the Foundation team to find creative ways to stay in contact with and continue to support their local community.

The CMC will be home to:

  • CMC Radio – A hosted internet radio channel
  • CMC TV – An on-demand video channel
  • JRF TV – An on-demand video channel
  • Video Production Facility
  • Podcast Production Facility

Equipment to resource the studio was funded through grants awarded to JRF from the London Community Response Fund and Trustees of Wembley National Stadium Trust, and the Edward Harvist Trust Fund, as well as donations and refurbishment by local firm C&C Builders Ltd.

The online guests including the Mayor of Brent, local Councillors, the Funders, Media Companies including TalkSport, The Voice Media Group, and Tongue-Tied Media, as well as young participants of the Foundation’s Youth programmes, were shown a demo reel showcasing some of the community initiatives that have been made possible through the CMC. This short video can be viewed here

The variety of output is designed to appeal to the local and wider community, including young people, adults, elderly people, those with physical and learning disabilities, those who are socially isolated, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, and charities.

The CMC will provide a platform where “everyone has a voice” and will offer a vital connection in these disconnected times.

Content will encompass a variety of subject areas and issues including community, sport and leisure, wellbeing, education, careers and training, the Arts, and Heritage.

Novices with a keen media and creative interest will be able to receive training to create and deliver their own content, and those with media experience but no access to facilities will have the opportunity to use the CMC.

Otis Roberts, CEO of JRF said, “Creating a platform to share stories that might not otherwise be heard and providing a stepping-stone to kick-start media careers is central to our output.  We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to establish this vital resource, thanks to the funding we have been awarded. We look forward to sharing the CMC with our community.”