Cricklewood charity launches winter appeal to keep youngsters busy

Cricklewood Wanderers FC has launched a winter appeal to raise much needed funds

Cricklewood Wanderers FC has launched a winter appeal to raise much needed funds - Credit: Archant

A charitable football club in Cricklewood has launched a winter appeal so it can continue supporting vulnerable young people.

Youth Engagement Solutions (Yes LTD) is hoping to raise at least £5,000 for Cricklewood Wanderers FC, a community football club providing free football and support for young people aged 10-30.

The football club now has 540 members compared to just 200 two years ago and provides not only sport, but also support in school and to find jobs.

YES launched two years ago having initially been part of Ashford Place, a charity in Cricklewood which supports homeless people.

The club ensures players have access to employment support, educational support, health and well-being services and have access to information, advice and guidance for any aspect of their lives.

Carmen Llorente, of YES, said: “At the moment we are managing 10 teams, and eight of those are under 16s.

“Young people don’t get engaged for a number of reasons, particularly teenagers. It can be a time when they start to get into trouble with their schools and with parents. We try to keep them occupied and out of trouble by using football and also setting up workshops, on mental health, nutrition, and how to find employment.”

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She added: “We also work with families at the same time as that gets the best results.”

Money from the appeal will be used to develop training facilities, to hold mental health and well-being workshops for young school aged players, to employ new coaches on a part time basis and to ensure the club is financially stable while the charity seeks further investment.

Ms Llorente said that pitch hire can be very expensive for fledgling clubs but that they offer theirs for free adding: “This money will really help to continue the club’s development, the men’s first team are currently on course for promotion to semi-professional football, and we have started a new girls’ team with a view to expanding female involvement with the club.

Two of our youth teams are enjoying a successful season and will look to move onto 11 aside matches next season- again very expensive as these teams are not fully funded by any external bodies.”

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