Published on May 14, 2014 | by Richard Wilder

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LCC student works with football coaches on Lewisham soccer community projects

A group of football coaches and concerned residents have formed to develop community projects for people in Lewisham with the aim of making the borough a better place to live.

Next Step 2 Success (NS2S) organises events for youngsters in the area to keep them off the streets

Following last years “peace index”, by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which stated Lewisham was the most unsafe place in the country, worried parents, all long term citizens of Lewisham, have decided to take action. A community group called Next Step 2 Success (NS2S) was formed, providing a number of free soccer clinics, fun days and events for youngsters in the area.

The group, which includes LCC student Richard Wilder, pride themselves on working as a team to ensure youngsters can come and enjoy their projects keeping them safe and off the streets in the process. The passion member Hugh Chambers displays when explaining the project shows just how strongly they feel about the youngsters and reputation of the borough.

“We’re running a free open access session every Friday from 5-7pm for people aged 16+ up until August. It doesn’t matter if you don’t play much football, we want you to come down and have fun. It’s about trying to change the atmosphere in the environment around Catford because Lewisham has a really bad reputation.”

The tournament brings together youngsters from Lewisham and surrounding areas

On Wednesday the 9th April, NS2S hosted an all-day football tournament at the Private Banks Jubilee ground based in the heart of Catford, supported by the young mayor of Lewisham. The event received a huge turnout, attracting a number of U-14 players from all over Lewisham, but also from surrounding areas.

“It was fantastic. We had 25 teams play in the afternoon session ranging from non-club players to academy players turning up to play. We also had a group of 10 players in the morning session so I believe there has been almost 140 people playing. We’re open to anybody, we’re not turning young people away.”

The fantastic contribution that NS2S are making was clear to see from the attendance figures and overall attitude of the youngsters who played in the football tournament. But for the project to grow and if further events and fun days are to be sustained, then NS2S are going to need a little help.

“At the moment we’re desperately seeking funding. We’re currently relying on the good graces of the London FA and ST Dunstan’s, who are helping us a lot with venues, but at the minute it’s all voluntary being run by Lewisham parents or people who have lived in the borough.”

With Lewisham’s reputation at an all-time low, the birth of NS2S should remind all the residents of Lewisham that the borough still has heroes left who are willing to help improve the lives and atmosphere of their local community, in their own time, through these amazing community projects.

If you would like to find out more about upcoming NS2S events please contact the team on ns2s@outlook.com, tweet @nxtstp2s or contact 07943135981.

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