The Chelsea Foundation will be running a football tournament for children in care, young people leaving care and young carers this Sunday in Essex.
The aim of the Football Festival is to provide a competitive tournament to help improve self-esteem, confidence, social development and appropriate competitive behaviour. This will be the third year the Chelsea Foundation has organised the tournament.
Funded by the Chelsea Foundation as a goodwill gesture to the county, the Football Festival will see competitors play in three age groups - Under 10s, 11 to 15-year-olds and 16 to 21-year-olds. Girls and boys will compete in the younger age groups while only males will play in the 16 to 21-year-old category.
The 120 children attending the tournament will come from the Permanency, Leaving and After Care service and the Young Carers Service from Essex County Council.
'The tournament is for children living in care homes due to dysfunctional families or children who are deemed homeless,' said Andrew Morgan, Essex development officer for the Chelsea Foundation. 'We're also inviting young carers. These are young people who look after someone else, such as a disabled family member for example.'
In attendance on the day will also be the Army, Essex Young People's Drug and Alcohol Service, local police, the Essex Advocacy Service and Chelmsford College. They will offer advice to the footballers on factors which may be affecting their lives and also discuss career possibilities.
Based on a league competition, the tournament will see a winning team from each age group. There will also be a player of the tournament and a most improved player.
'It's a healthy atmosphere for participants to compete in a sporting arena, where there are additional partner organisations on hand for young people to speak to for advice regarding career paths,' said Andrew Morgan, Essex Development Manager for the Chelsea Foundation.
'Most of all it's about enjoying the day. We're opening the Football Festival up to the wider community as well. This year we have teams coming in from Thurrock and Southend and also London boroughs too,' explained Morgan.
The Football Festival kicks off at 10am this Sunday at Great Baddow School, Chelmsford.