Foundation helping to break the cycle

Youngsters benefitting from the Chelsea Foundation’s ‘Breaking the Cycle’ initiative enjoyed a day to remember earlier this month as a special football tournament was hosted to celebrate the success of the project.

Funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the Premier League Charitable Fund, ‘Breaking the Cycle’ sees the Foundation work with eight schools in Essex using football to help prevent children following in the footsteps of a parent who has been imprisoned or for children who are deemed at risk of offending.

The end of year celebration, staged at St Clere’s School in Stanford-le-Hope, was a reward for students who have shown a positive change in their school lives with more than 60 children from five secondary schools in attendance.

As well as the football there were workshops featuring guest speakers, Mick Carter, an ex-army officer and Chelsmford Prison guard and Paul Hannaford (pictured), an ex-gang member, drug addict and prisoner. Both delivered sessions offering young people real life insights into the dangers of drug addition, gun and knife crime, prison life, self-harm and bullying.

Chelsea Foundation project co-ordinator Alex Tapley said: ‘The project has been a great success this year and this event was a chance to reward those who have excelled. 

‘There were five-a-side tournaments run and organised by our coaches but in keeping with the aim of the project, fantastic workshops from Mick and Paul were delivered, which the participants really engaged with.

‘This was the culmination of a lot of hard work with secondary school pupils at schools all across Essex and is something we are all proud to be involved with.’

Guest speaker Hannaford added: ‘Days like this are fantastic, with these kids it is all about early intervention, making them realise early on they don’t need to start down the road that ultimately ends up in prison.

‘I never had anything like this, the fact the Chelsea Foundation are working with these kids is great. They are so lucky, it’s great to see all these kids from different areas interacting with each other and not showing hostility, that’s what it’s all about.’