Junior football coach Nathan Samuel has won a Jack Petchey Foundation Leader’s Award for his dedication to helping young people get off the streets and into sport in South London.
Nathan coaches the Under-14 team at St. Matthews Project, an all-inclusive football project which regularly engages with over 150 young people from across Lambeth.
He began working at the project over three years ago, coaching a team where some members were at risk of becoming involved in gang culture.
He said, “The team I inherited consisted of a group of young people with various and some serious social issues, low confidence and living in areas rife with gang culture. They were however, undoubteldly full of immense potential.”
The team responded to Nathan’s belief in them, and through hard work, were impressively able to win promotion in their first season, and win a cup the following year.
“Working with this group of young men has been very rewarding but without doubt challenging. As we are constantly reminded at St. Matthew’s – These are the kids that will appreciate you the most – and nothing could be truer.”
Thanks to the opportunity provided by St. Matthew’s Project and Nathan’s guidance over the last three years, the players have grown both as a team and individually. They have lost their ‘bad reputation’ and outside of football, many of the young people are shunning peers associated with local gangs.
Founder of St Matthew’s Project Lee Dema said, “It is widely accepted that Nathan took on the most challenging group of 12 year olds we have seen at SMP, which is saying something! Despite difficult circumstances and a host of extreme behavioural issues, Nathan has been a calming influence, never losing patience and gradually bringing about positive changes in these young men.”
Notes for Editor: The Jack Petchey Foundation was established in 1999 to recognise the positive contributions young people make to society and to support them in achieving their potential. It has invested over £85 million in a wide-range youth initiatives across London and Essex.
For more information visit: www.jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk Follow JPF on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackPetcheyFoundation and Twitter @JPFoundation Press Information from Harry Shepherd Press and PR, Jack Petchey Foundation email@example.com // 07826 948 487 Based on information supplied by Harry Shepherd.