Calls for footy funding to keep kids off streets

Essex Road Giants aims to help kids achieve goals not just on the football pitch. [Photo credit: Ryan Hassan]

Essex Road Giants football club says it could reach more vulnerable kids if it had its own training venue.

Ryan Hassan and Lewis Yeboah, who grew up on the Marquess estate, created the club in 2013 to keep kids off the street.

“I grew up in the same area and faced the same challenges as the kids… Things are getting worse – definitely not better,” said Ryan.

The club now has four teams, each with 15 children, in addition to a session for five- to nine-year-olds at the Walter Sickert Community Centre.

Karen, a mother of three boys training in the club, stressed the importance of having such activities in the area: “You need to keep kids having activities and give them what they love to do.”

The club receives no funding at the moment.

“The main reason we are ok with the funding now is that this pitch was given to us for free,” Ryan said.

“If we had our own space, which may be indoors with an astro pitch, I think we could change this area for the better. We could reach to many more children. We could offer education,” he added.