Christmas Address

By December 16, 2014Chief Exec's Thoughts

What an incredible year 2014 has been for us! The necessity for our service is growing exponentially due to the continued impact of the welfare reform on the ‘poor’ in our society. The main change we have experienced over the past 12 months is an increasing reliance on our service like never before.

Where once we primarily offered emotional support, friendship and mentoring, we now have many cases where we are the primary form of support for the individuals we engage with. This is a consequence of the continued impact of the welfare reform as local council provision has reduced, and unfortunately many third sector organisations and in particular charities have had to close their doors due to lack of funds. This has resulted in less provision for disadvantaged people meaning they require more from the groups they come across such as Street Soccer Academy.

The one positive that can be taken from the fact that there are now fewer organisations working on behalf of the disadvantaged is that we are more aware of each other’s work. This means we can be more effective in offering complementary services as opposed to duplicating support that is already on offer.

During 2014 we have worked in partnership with a number of national organisations in delivering our core services and associated events:

  • We have worked closely with Riverside ECHG for a number of years now. They are the largest social housing provider in the UK. We have submitted joint funding bids as we seek to support people with homeless related issues;
  • We are an FA charter standard football based organisation meaning that we are recognised as having the highest standards of delivery at our regional centres;
  • We support the initiatives of the Ministry of Justice as we work alongside prisons offering rehabilitation and resettlement programmes to inmates and their families;
  • Our programmes are accredited by the national award body AQA as we seek to motivate our beneficiaries through nationally recognised education;
  • We have been involved in a number of events and activities during 2014 in partnership with JoininUK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Mental Health Foundation

It has been a very deliberate strategy to partner with national organisations as we prepare ourselves for a move from being a regionally based charity to a national one. We are excited to announce that in 2015 we will be developing our model into the Northeast of England as we begin to broaden our reach throughout the UK. We plan to develop a number of streetsoccer and streetfit regional centres throughout the Northeast as we pull together a strong team to develop and maintain the work.

As I am sure you have gathered from reading this update, the need is growing, not shrinking, and the opportunities to provide hope to less fortunate people is endless. Please continue to support us in the various ways you do as we enter into an exciting new year during which many more lives will be positively impacted through the work of Street Soccer Academy.

Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in our work. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Check out our annual report by clicking here

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Author Andrew Thorp

Andrew founded the Street Soccer Academy concept in 2005 and under his leadership the work has developed into an award winning registered charity and innovative enterprise. Educated at Loughborough University, Andrew has a BSc Hons in Management Sciences and has experience as a tutor and assessor at Salford City College, responsible for the delivery of an NVQ 2 qualification in Teaching, Instructing and Training. He is also a UEFA 'B' qualified coach and has vast experience working in the professional and semi-professional football world at Rochdale AFC, Leigh RMI and Trafford FC. It is through his experience in these fields that the accredited education programmes have been formulated in order to significantly enhance the opportunities of Street Soccer Academy beneficiaries.

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