The Chelsea FC Foundation, Chelsea FC Soccer School (Hong Kong) and Right To Play have teamed up with Barclays Spaces for Sports to kick off a ground-breaking project to help improve the life skills, health and education of 6,000 young people living in Hong Kong.
The programme will target young people affected by poverty and living in inner-city areas in the New Territories and Kowloon and aims to improve their employability by increasing their intellectual, physical, emotional and social development.
The 40-week programme, which starts in July, will see young people aged between 14 and 17 take part in six hours of training every week. Participants will learn the basic rules of football and utilise the world's number one sport to help develop life skills necessary to secure employment, including teamwork, leadership, effective communication and conflict resolution.
'We are delighted to be partnering with Barclays Spaces for Sports, Chelsea FC Soccer School (Hong Kong) and Right To Play,' said Ian Woodroffe, international development manager for the Chelsea FC Foundation.
'This unique programme brings together the independent interests and expertise of each organisation to support young people and help them to develop the skills they need to get on in life.'
Ben Lam, director of the Chelsea FC Soccer School in Hong Kong, added: 'Communities throughout Hong Kong face the issue of marginalised and unemployed young people not having the skills they need to make the successful transition into long-term employment. We hope this programme will go some way to address this.'
The programme will also see 52 coaches trained to deliver the workshops, which will help to ensure the sustainability of the programme following the initial three-year investment. These young people (aged 17 to 30) will also develop life and employability skills such as leadership and an understanding of health issues and lifestyle choices.
'By empowering young people with appropriate skills we can help them achieve economic independence and security now and in the future,' said Patrick Kwan, managing director, investment banking, Asia Pacific.
'This programme will add to the many ways Barclays supports our communities in Hong Kong including, in the future, by encouraging our already active employee volunteers to mentor participants.'