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Reporter takes a ride with Spurs foundation
For many years football clubs around the country have done their bit for the local community, and Spurs are no different.
The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has been running since 2006 and has organised hundreds of community projects.
At the launch of the latest project aimed to encourage people to cycle, reporter Bruce Thain jumped on a bike to learn more.
I arrived at White Hart Lane on a slightly overcast day for the launch of a new cycle scheme from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. The new programme, called cycleFUN, will have coaches leading groups on weekly bike rides from the stadium along different routes, and I was about to take part in the first trip.
Since becoming the reporter for the Haringey Independent, I’ve come into contact with the foundation several times and seen the work it does in schools, with young people and the wider community. Organisers hope the latest project will use the club’s position in the community to encourage people in the area to live a healthier lifestyle by getting on their bikes.
Maria Abraham, who runs the new programme, tells me the foundation has many partners in the community and tries to engage with as many possible. Before the project even got off the ground the bikes came from the GoBike project, in which prisoners are trained in bike maintenance, and were then painted by students at Southgate College.
I decided to get on a bike and take it for a spin. While testing the bike, and finding I could still ride one, I met Omori Chambers, who has been working with the foundation since he was 19-years-old. He told me how important the foundation was to local people and how at 26 he was still getting a lot from it.
He said: “The foundation is really important to young people in Tottenham, because they can see a pathway through me and see what they can achieve. I’ve tried to get as much as I can from the foundation and they gave me a huge opportunity.
“Because I have knowledge of the area it means I’m in a good position to connect with young people.”
The ride itself was one of the shorter ones on offer and took in the sights of Tottenham Marshes. The professionalism and the guidance from the ride leaders was very impressive and having not cycled on the road for some time, they made me feel more confident.
The six of us did a figure of eight route through the marshes covering about six miles, which felt a little further if I’m honest, but before I knew it we’re back at the ground.
Our ride leaders were just two of more than 100 staff at the foundation who lead projects in Haringey, Enfield, Barnet and Waltham Forest, with many having been users of the foundation and taken part in projects when they were young.
Foundation chairman Grant Cornwell said: “Job creation is an important part of what we do and there have been quite a few people who have taken part in projects when they were in their teens and then gone on to get a job with the foundation.
“The foundation has been around for six years now. What is really important for us is to be part of the community and give it support where we can.
“At the moment we have about 60 different projects on the go and covering wide range of areas from education, health and well being and sport development. We try to engage with young people and the wider community using the brand of the club to reach people. Through the work at the foundation some young people have had the chance to get an education when they wouldn’t usually get it in school.
“All football clubs have different ways of doing things, but for us working in and around the local area with our partners is what is really vital to us, to really support the growth of the community.”