Brent Refugee Football with JRF

A group of men playing football

Off the back of JRF’s successful NCIL funded projects; Reaching Communities and Building Communities the JRF Team have been very active in providing a safe space for refugees to participate in football, in the Borough.

Every Wednesday Football coach Wilbert delivers coaching sessions in Wembley for several men at King Edwards Park, providing the group with structured sports activities that support their physical health and mental wellbeing, as well as offering social interaction.

The initiative that was created by the Public Health & Community Wellbeing Team at Brent Council, has seen the group attending regular games at Bridgestone Arena, the home of JRF, and pitting their wits against other local community footballs teams, which has helped to build friendships and relationships, driving community cohesion forward.

Coach Wilbert said; “These young men are a joy to work with. Despite difficult circumstances they have massive hearts and enthusiasm and have integrated well into the local community. It’s a pleasure to be able to help.”

Walking Football World Cup Finals Update

Walking Football Caribbean Team

The partnership with the Walking Football Caribbean and the Jason Roberts Foundation continues to flourish as the over 50s and 60s team continue their preparations for the first Caribbean entry in such a tournament.

After the initial trials the selected Caribbean team have undertaken numerous training sessions, practice games, and attended health awareness events as the final preparations for the upcoming 2023 Walking Football World Cup of Nations Finals next week.

The previous weekend at Bridgestone Arena ended with a mini football tournament, some final health checks, and a photo shoot of the team.

At a recent community event Albion legend Cyrille Regis’s daughter Michelle Regis sent a good luck message to the boys. 

The Health and wellbeing benefits of participating in Walking Football – a sport for everyone, regardless of your age or ability, is apparent as the Caribbean team head to St George’s park next Wednesday.

Tickets can be purchased at

For more information see:

There will be more updates to follow next week.

The 2023 Walking Football World Cup of Nations Welcomes the Caribbean to its Finals

Founders of Walking Football Caribbean Shaun Merchant, Ken Guiste, Gregg Dalmar and George Evans

Walking Football Caribbean in collaboration with The Jason Roberts Foundation will be sending a multi-country team to the Walking Football World Cup finals that will be held at the home of the England Football Team, St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent between 24th and 26th August 2023. The Caribbean team will be joined by 21 nations from Africa, Europe, North America and Australasia.

About The Collaborators

Walking Football Caribbean was founded by Shaun Merchant, Ken Guiste, Gregg Dalmar and George Evans, walking footballers who share a passion to develop the sport they love, both in the UK and the Caribbean.

The Jason Roberts Foundation invests in local communities to change outcomes for the most marginalised in the United Kingdom and Caribbean.

Community is the enduring centre of Jason Roberts’ story. An activist, former professional footballer, media personality, and the current Director of Development at CONCACAF, Jason Roberts, MBE, launched his Foundation in 2007.

Otis Roberts, CEO of The Jason Roberts Foundation said “This collaboration makes absolute sense to us at JRF. As a community based charity we are well aware of the inactivity that is evident in the Caribbean Community once that 40 marker is reached. Walking Football is a great way for people to stay active and be a part of something that is social and has many health benefits. Once folks get active again who knows what they’ll do next.”

JRF is fully aligned with Walking Football Caribbean’s mission is to improve, maintain and promote the physical, mental and social wellbeing of older adults through walking football.

In addition, ex-professional footballer, Mike Adams, former Grenada National Head Coach, National Walking Football Coach of the Year and South-East England Regional Coach has officially joined the Walking Football Caribbean’s team in the capacity of coach. “We are delighted and very grateful to have Mike on board.” George Evans, WFC co-founder. “Mike is widely regarded as one of the best walking football coaches around.”

Mike says, “I’ve been coaching this sport for around 5 years now and have been alarmed at the lack of players of black origin that participate. It’s a great game that takes more out of you than you may think. For the elite player, it’s still competitive and fast paced as the ball is moving rather you. At the participation level it really is a great way to get and keep fit whilst minimising the potential of injury in this non-contact version of the beautiful game. The fact that we are entering a Caribbean team into this competition is an opportunity that I could not resist.”

What is Walking Football

It is exactly what it sounds like – a standard game of typically 6-a-side non-contact football where players walk instead of run. It’s designed to help people get fit, maintain an active lifestyle no matter what their age and fitness level, as well as support for people getting back into football.

This sport is entirely inclusive and is suitable for all ages,” says Walking Football Caribbean co-founder, Gregg Dalmar, “whether you want to play socially at your nearest club or competitively via local leagues and tournaments that ultimately lead to international events such as the World Cup of Nations, which includes three ex-professional footballers per team.”

The Bigger Picture

Whilst the ‘World Cup of Nations’ is the biggest stage in which to enter the sport. Walking football is played by hundreds of thousands of people in over 70 countries. The health and mental benefits for the Caribbean Community—particularly, males who are 40 plus—are numerous.

Chronic Illnesses such as Diabetes, Dementia and Parkinson’s have plagued Caribbean communities for decades and Walking football provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout.

It helps improve endurance, strength, and overall fitness. Regular participation can lead to better cardiovascular health, increased stamina, and improved muscle tone. Fantastic for mental stimulation, stress relief and social interaction. It’s designed to help people get fit, maintain an active lifestyle no matter what their age and fitness level, as well as to support people getting back into football.

Our aim is to:

To engage and work with all walking football groups/clubs, partners, participants, local authorities, health services and any other organisations interested in the development of walking football.

Increase participation by managing, supporting, developing and promoting walking football in the Caribbean.

Create and support a sustainable competition structure throughout the Caribbean at all appropriate age levels in conjunction with existing competitions that encourages full social integration.

Want to participate or get more info on the 2023 Walking Football World Cup Of Nations?

For trials, partnerships and sponsorship opportunities send an email to

Tickets can be purchased at

Those unable to attend can stream all games LIVE on Youtube. A community outreach program will also be running before and during the event.

Football Fitness for over-50’s

Winning Football Team receive Trophy

Sunday 4th June 2023

On a sundrenched afternoon at Bridgestone Arena, JRF hosted a Football Tournament for the over-50’s as part of ‘Our Time Zone’ a Sports, Social, and Health Club for Adults funded by You Decide Brent Health Matters.

Six teams took part in the action packed day including Spurs, Luton, Bounds Green, JRF, QPR, and Watford. In a spirited final game Spurs defeated JRF to receive the winning Trophy.

Andre Nolan and the Clinical Team from Brent Health Matters were on hand throughout the day to offer the teams health checks including blood pressure checks.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the JRF said; “Big thanks to Andre and the team for supporting these young men in their quest to keep healthy and active.”

To learn more about Brent Health Matters visit

Girls Allowed!

Group of girls sitting on a wall

During the recent May Half Term, a group of girls from JRF were invited by Inspire to Achieve Heritage legend, Eartha Pond, to attend a Girls Allowed event at Church Street Leisure Centre.

The small group who are participants of JRF’s ‘This Girl Can’ project funded by the Hyde Charitable Trust, were accompanied by two female mentors to the school holiday activity programme.

Girls Allowed is a game-changing initiative of the ESP Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Eartha Pond, which aims to embed necessary change and opportunities, to support the next generation thrive!

The girls had a fantastic day enjoying a range of activities inspiring them to stay fit, active, and healthy, including roller skating, fitness, table tennis, basketball, street dance, and football all to the latest tunes from a live DJ.

They all look forward to more Girls Allowed events during the summer holidays.

For more information on the ESP Foundation visit

If you would like to join JRF’s This Girl Can project please email with the subject header; This Girl Can

Groundwork London Inspire Green Fingers

Children gardening in raised planters

On the sunny afternoon of Tuesday 30th May, the JRF Team were joined by 40 young people and their parents to take part in a Community Gardening Day, which saw members of the Groundwork London Team donate gardening equipment, and deliver gardening tips and training to the budding young Monty Don’s and Sarah Raven’s, eager to get digging.

In the open green space around Bridgestone Arena, NW!0 large wooden planters have been built by Segro as part of JRF’s ongoing commitment to take action on climate change, by cleaning up and greening up local areas. The planters form part of the Bridgestone Community Gardens with the intention of attracting butterflies, bees, and other insects by planting pollinators and flowers in the raised beds. 

The young gardeners took great delight in planting sage and lavender plants, as well as other flowers, and understand their responsibility for watering the flowers and watching them grow when they come to the centre to take part in the sports activities delivered by the Foundation.

After the Community Clean-up day last week the Gardening Day is the latest in the Foundation’s Climate Action programme in association with Brent’s CO2Go, a project that uses sport as a backdrop to tackle climate issues in our community. 

The Mayoress of Brent Cllr Orleen Hylton was on hand to help and assist the project that was led by Sara Milne from Groundwork London and the JRF Green Squad.

Everyone got enthusiastically involved and one parent commented afterwards; “My boy slept so well last night! We are definitely going to have to keep this up!”

Look out for future Community Clean-up Days and Community Gardening Days and come down and get involved. Everyone is welcome.

Real Talk Tackles Trades

Panel of skilled tradesmen sitting at table

On the evening of Friday 26th May over 30 young people gathered at Bridgestone Arena, NW10 to hear from a panel of Tradesmen working in a range of skilled industries, as part of the ongoing series of Real Talk Events, hosted by the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF).

It was evident that the speakers had more than one string to their bow with Rui a local building site Manager also a Tennis Coach for JRF, Shaquille, or Shaq as he is known to JRF as their resident Dance Teacher, is a Carpenter by trade, Deon a former footballer and Coach is a Plumber, and Alvin another former professional footballer now an Electrician.

The audience heard about the values of having a trade, and that good money can be earned as there is always a demand for skilled workers. In fact, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, wages have risen about 6% as a result of a shortage of skilled tradespeople, including carpenters, groundworkers, bricklayers, plasterers and plant operators in the wake of Brexit and exacerbated by the pandemic.

Shaq gave some good advice about the importance of financial literacy and learning about credit, and Rui spoke about being proactive in seeking and taking opportunities for career development.

The Real Talk sessions are part of JRF’s ‘Passport to Success’ project which is funded by Young Brent Foundation and One Flow One Brent, that aims to give young people an insight into a wide range of industries, and to arm them with the skills needed to compete in the world of work and business.

Shaq who is 24 told the audience, “I took a leap of faith when I left a large company to start my own business. I look after my money and save a lot which has helped me to recently get on the property ladder.”

Alvin said, “I thought football was everything. When I got released (by the Club) I had to do something, to work. I have no regrets in choosing my trade and it has allowed me to plan ahead.”

Deon added, “I wasn’t great in school and my dad was always on to me about getting a trade. Plumbers are in high demand and I’m glad I followed his advice.” 

He encouraged the young people listening to plan ahead in whatever they choose to do. 

JRF have hosted a series of Real Talk sessions as part of the project over the past 6-months, and the success and positive outcomes for the participants continues to grow.

If you are interested in attending future Real Talk sessions please email with the subject header “Passport to Success”

Business Talk for young entrepreneurs

Group of entrepreneurs talk business

On Friday 5th May JRF hosted a ‘Passport to Success’ evening that focused on the world of Business.

JRF partnered with Launch It Neasden a new vibrant enterprise centre in Brent for the Real Talk session that welcomed 20 budding entrepreneurs and business owners to the co-working space.

Each business owner had the opportunity to speak about their business, their ideas, the challenges they face, and any help they are seeking, in what was a fun and engaging conversation hosted by JRF’s Michael Adams, and business mentors, Mark Segalov and Angela Seeram.

After the session the group enjoyed refreshments during a follow-on networking session, as an opportunity to share ideas, and seek guidance from the mentors about next steps and top tips.

There is a follow on meeting planned at the end of May for many of the businesses hoping to work with Launch It Neasden, as an attractive and affordable space to help grow their business.

Launch It is part of the wider regeneration of Neasden town centre, that will support fifty young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business through a combination of co-working desks and individual workspaces.

For more information visit

JRF’s ‘Passport to Success’ project which is funded by Young Brent Foundation and One Flow One Brent, aims to give young people an insight into a wide range of industries, and to arm then with the skills needed to compete in the world of work and business.

JRF have hosted a series of Real Talk sessions as part of the project over the past 6-months, and the success and positive outcomes for the participants continues to grow.

Simon, one of the business owners in attendance commented after the session; “I found a lot of support and motivation from the Passport to Success event the other week! I was able to speak to people I wouldn’t usually come across and get some insight into the success and difficulties people find in starting a business.”

He continued; “I feel confident now that I’m part of a core of people all trying to go down the same path, with the guidance of successful and knowledgeable people.”

If you are interested in attending future Real Talk sessions please email with the subject header “Passport to Success”

Take your Shot Studio Opens

Cec Richards of Slenky with guests

March 2023

In March staff from the Jason Roberts Foundation attended the launch of the ‘Take your shot studio’ a business hub and workspace located in Brent for entrepreneurs who need support growing their business ideas.

Cec Richards the founder of Slenky – an opportunities platform, and more recently the Studio led the event with some inspirational words and hope for future aspiring leaders.

Read the full article on Brent Council’s website here:

A Focus on Climate for Brent Youth

Children planting pollinators

February 2023

JRF’s new Carbon Footprint Reduction Education Project got underway with young people developing skills and knowledge regarding climate change, through fortnightly Carbon Footprint Reduction Challenges, and a series of competitions and fun activities.

Funded by the COGo Education Fund through Brent Council, the project aims to give young people the opportunity to learn more about the environment and the impact of climate change, and what steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

As well as the Carbon Footprint Reduction Challenges, the project will engage young people through sport whilst ensuring key messages regarding climate change are delivered through Environmental Workshops.

Quarterly Climate Change Olympics will involve a series of competitions and fun activities including a speed litter picking ‘waste race’ and an environmental scavenger hunt.

The young participants have already got involved in a ‘Community Give Back’ day where local residents volunteered to pick up litter across the Stonebridge Estate, clean up the Community Centre, and plant pollinators in the raised wooden beds built and erected by a team from Groundwork London, led by Programme Manager, Adrian Osler.

Brent Council are focused on the borough playing it’s part in tackling climate change and improving air quality. By 2030 the aim is for Brent to be a carbon-neutral borough, and £500,000 has been provided to make resident’s homes more energy efficient and for community groups to run education programmes, such as JRF’s Carbon Footprint Reduction Education Project. They have installed over 21,000 energy efficient streetlights, fitted 515 electric vehicle charging points, planted 4533 trees, 22 wild-flower meadows, and bee corridors – all to help protect residents from harmful emissions.

JRF staff and volunteers, the young participants, and local residents, are all committed to contributing towards a cleaner, more attractive borough.