Ossie Ardiles was recently in China, Ledley was in North America and now he and former Tottenham winger David Ginola have been a little closer to home.
The pair visited Bruce Grove youth centre to lend their support to the new ‘To Care Is To Do’ project. It is a constant battle for funding with centres like this, Bruce Grove youth centre is in Tottenham, all over the country. New and innovative projects are constantly having to be though and designed before funding applications, which may get turned down, hopefully bring in the money to proceed.
Having a major player in the area involved raises the profile of a project, brings it press coverage and therefore increased engagement from it's target market. Outcomes are essential with all funding but a project has to have an element of sustainability or a specific lifespan for a pilot scheme.
The Tottenham Hotspur foundation has secured six-figure funding over a three-year period from the BT Sport’s The Supporters Club (their charitable arm) and the Premier League to improve the lives of looked-after children and care leavers. BT Sport toured the facility and invited people to a Q&A session with former Tottenham captain and now Club Ambassador Ledley King joined by Frenchman David Ginola.
However it is the scheme that is the important element as it is designed to make a difference, including one-to-one mentoring, life-skills workshops and study assistance, work experience opportunities, and pre and post-employment support.
In today's society employment opportunities are one of the major outcome criteria that funders use to measure the success of a project and therefore the success of their funding. It is thus important to run a successful project as word does get round between funders and a track record of success helps secure funding for future projects where you may not have otherwise been granted it.
Club Ambassador King, who along with Ginola shot some hoops and enjoyed the radio room spoke with the Tottenham Independent about he value of the scheme.
“Its vitally important, as a football club, we realise our importance in the community and the need to give back.
"This will allow youngsters to have better life looking forward and create opportunities for them whether that’s academically or to supply job placements, which will be brilliant.
“To Care Is To Do will enable more young people in the local community to benefit from the opportunities and support delivered through Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, helping to change their lives for the better.
“Through football and through the club, we have an opportunity to engage with young kids like no others can, and we tap into them and try and give them many opportunities through football, not just to play football but to find a path that they may have never been able to find. So in that respect it’s really important.”
King went on to speak not only about this project but the regeneration of the area as a whole and the part Tottenham Hotspur were playing in that. The regeneration is coming about because Spurs are building a new stadium, coupling that with regimenting the area has made the undertaking a mammoth project, lots of scheme like this come about as a small part of that.
“The aim is to give back as much as possible. Obviously through the regeneration and the new stadium plans, we’re providing opportunities for people in the area. It’ll be a great thing for the area, it needs a lift after a difficult few years and it’s about looking towards the positives now and trying to create as many opportunities as possible for the people within the borough to be proud about where they live and what it stands for.”
David Ginola is a panellist on BT Sport and he showed he hasn't lost his footballing touch as well as having a go at basketball. He explained how schemes make a difference on a daily basis to local children.
“They’re so important because it’s not a miracle, but it feels like a miracle to see the smiles of the kids on a daily basis especially during the holidays when you don’t have to travel and enjoy themselves. It’s a great program for them to come here and play some sport, play some football, maybe some badminton and listen to music.
It is just great here, you can see that Tottenham is doing a lot for the local community and now BT sport are also getting involved for local people.
"You look at the kids here and they have plenty of things to do here instead of being out on the street doing nothing. They have so many opportunities and they can create their own opportunities as well for the future.
"To give them different options and different routes is fantastic. I am pretty sure when they go back home in the evening, they have spent a beautiful day here and are able to feel good about themselves.”
Ginola went on to urge other clubs to follow Tottenham's lead and set up more projects like this one across the country. Football is in a unique position to affect the lives of so many people and it should be of vital importance to every club.
“It’s important to do it for Spurs, but honestly this is something you can and should do for any club, for every single club in the Premier League.
“If they did I think we would live in a better world and this is what I saw today. I realised today that through sport, through activities, a kid can have a smile on their face and this is what you’re expecting, this is what you’re looking for and that was an amazing afternoon for that.
“If we can get all the cities across different countries to do that, it would produce a better world for sure.
“The community around White Hart Lane and some areas especially during the summer holidays, it gives kids something to do rather than staying on the streets. It takes them away from trouble. They are marching away from trouble, and for some of them I can see that it’s really hard to be surrounded by rules, because obviously we have rules that you have to follow.
“When you arrive you say good morning or good afternoon and say goodbye when you leave, say please when you want something and say thank you when you receive it. It’s the basic stuff to make better people, and sometimes if you don’t get this at home it’s better to be in an environment where you do get such things.”
That may sound trivial to some of you but so many children today grow up in an environment where those simple pleasantries don't exist and they can start to instill a respect that is missing. Nothing will change overnight but teaching children from a tough area is not an easy task and I can assure seeing a smile or seeing you have made a difference is supremely rewarding.
Tottenham sign another partnership
Ginola - it will be an enjoyable season for Spurs
Depay, Musacchio, Chadli, Townsend, Hoddle, Pochettino, Boateng
King expects Dier and Davies to be top class
Eriksen and Lamela sum Spurs up
Dier and a Spurs team in 2 years
That's why so many people give their time and volunteer or work within the community. Every little help they get and every little contribution you can make is important, even if that is only attending an event where you buy a couple of cakes. Every little penny helps and lots of people giving a little goes a long way.
Nikki Kelly is the head of employment and skills for the Tottenham Foundation and she a little about who the scheme would help.
“We will be working with Haringey virtual schools as well as schools in Enfield and Barnet, and it will also be going to support educational, sporting and life-style course.
“This [the youth club] is a fantastic hub for young people, this is where it is all happening for young people. A lot of our mentors work here and it is great that we can continue to work with children in care.”
Anyone who has ever worked in community work will tell you hat a difference it can and does make, not to everyone , but to those who engage with it. The more that engage the merrier and seeking out groups in your area will open up possibilities you wouldn't otherwise know exist.
I would urge anyone to seek out community group and find what they have on, pop into your local church and ask them, they'll probably be able to put you in touch and may well run things themselves as well. You don't have to be religious to ask for help or advice but making yourself aware of everything that is available to help you ad your children is a sensible step.