The St Matthew’s Project is a charity based in Lambeth that uses the power of football to engage young people in the area and beyond.
Under the skilful guidance of founder Lee Dema training opportunities, as well as volunteering and structured sport coaching workshops, are on offer to anyone in the local community.
Earlier this year Dema attended the London Football Association’s 9th Annual awards evening as part of celebrations to mark ten years of the St Matthew’s project. Little did he know that the project was to be awarded the title of London Football Association Charter Standard Club of the Year 2014.
From kick-about to Club of the Year
The St. Matthew’s Project started life in the summer of 2004 and began life as a kick-about in the local park for young people from just one estate. The origins of the project are linked to an even smaller ‘community’ than that from a block called Springett House (a large L-shaped building on the southern edge of the St Matthew’s estate which backs onto Brixton Water Lane).
The young people from Springett were initially extremely reluctant to interact with their peers from the rest of the estate but barriers were broken down by organising a series of friendly football matches and the creation of ‘Springett F.C’, the forerunner of today’s St. Matthew’s F.C.
The project now regularly engages with over 150 young people every week, has secured grant funding since 2004 from a variety of agencies, developed over 100 F.A qualified coaches from level 1 to 3, developed girls football in Lambeth and consistently provided free, fun football activities to young people living within one of the most deprived areas in the country.
More than just a football club
The St. Matthew’s Project offers free, structured football and coaching sessions in a safe, friendly environment to young people aged from 6 to 21. However, it is much more than just a football club as it delivers a wide range of activities and development opportunities and support to young people beyond the football pitch. The project also arranges trips, encourages youth volunteering, delivers accredited training courses and healthy lifestyle workshops, and provides one-to-one support to young people wherever necessary.
Working closely with Lambeth Council and other local agencies, the project has now established a recognised hub in Brockwell Park, continuing to attract young people from across the SW2 / SW9 postal areas and providing them with new opportunities for personal development, in order to help them fulfil their potential.
To keep up to date and get involved with the St Matthew’s Project, please visit: http://www.thesmp.net/.
For more information about the FA Charter Standard programme, please visit: http://www.thefa.com/my-football/footballvolunteers/Runningaclub/Runningaclub/CharterStandard.