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Free super league football project to keep kids away from crime kicks off in Wembley

PUBLISHED: 12:41 07 August 2019

Textbook FC, Zaffar Van Kalwala, Abdi Farah and Forest United after inaugural Wembley Super League match. Picture: Nabeel Baig

Textbook FC, Zaffar Van Kalwala, Abdi Farah and Forest United after inaugural Wembley Super League match. Picture: Nabeel Baig

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A crime-fighting former Stonebridge councillor has seen his free summer sporting project for young people take off in Wembley with all 200 spaces now filled.

Teenagers aged 13 to 15 years old are taking part in football activities at Ark Elvin Academy, in Cecil Avenue, during the summer holidays in a scheme designed to help divert youngsters away from gangs and knife crime.

The initiative, which features the borough's first football league, was oversubscribed with all spaces to come and play during weekday evenings and weekends booked up within two weeks.

The Wembley Super League gives the youngsters the chance to showcase their football skills, keep fit and socialise with other young people from different backgrounds.

Jeremy Stuart 15, who plays for Textbook FC, said:" I'm really looking forward to playing in the Wembley Super League. It will help me with my personal development and stay active and get fit.

"It's also great to play with young people from other teams. I hope to use this a platform for bigger opportunities. This is a great competition."

The project, organised by former councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala and Connect Stars, involves working with local clubs and community organisations and is funded by the Wembley Stadium Trust.

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Mr Van Kalwala said: "Summer holidays should be a chance for all Brent children to have fun.

This scheme will help our young people to stay safe and share great experiences together.

"We desperately need to invest in our young people, especially with youth facilities closing down and the recent gang crime in our borough."

Stewart Goshawk, CEO of the Wembley National Stadium Trust added: "We're really pleased to support the Wembley Super League, a fantastic new football initiative for local young people.

This kind of competition is something that has been missing in Brent for some time now, so it's great to see the plans coming to fruition, with so many partners involved.

We know that there is a real demand for a local football competition, for both male and female players, and I'm looking forward to seeing some great matches.

"Our funding at WNST is open to any community sports activity in Brent - around 200 local groups have already benefitted - and we wish the Wembley Super League every success!"

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