QPR in the Community Trust kicked off the start of its 10-year anniversary celebrations on Tuesday (4 September).
Club legends Les Ferdinand and Andy Sinton joined members of the QPR first team and 40-plus partner organisations at Loftus Road to mark the special occasion.
The Trust had only eight employees and was involved in just a handful of projects when it was first launched by CEO Andy Evans.
The life-long Rangers fan and his team now run 300 sessions every week, as they develop a range of sporting, educational, cultural and social opportunities to help people in the local community to fulfil their potential.
“We’re lucky to have such a compassionate football club like QPR in H&F who continue to do tremendous work in the local community,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council. “We will continue to work alongside the Trust to give residents the advice and support they need to succeed in life.”
The Trust works with 23,000 people every year across all ages groups with the youngest participants aged three to the oldest being 90 years old.
QPR Community Trust CEO Andy Evans said: “I began this journey 25 years ago when we started a football in the community scheme at QPR before launching the Trust.
“We have come a long way since then and shown that we are more than just a football club. We’re a community club and we look forward to continuing our work with local residents for many more years to come.”
One of the youngsters to benefit from the Trust’s community work, Kelvin Robinson, who is now a mentoring project officer with the Trust, explained on the night how the charity changed his life.
He left college at the age of 17 and found himself unemployed until he got involved with the Trust who ‘believed in him’.
“It’s been a whirlwind journey,” said the 20-year-old. “The Trust has helped me to grow not only as a mentor but also helped me to grow as a person.”
“I love going into schools and helping young people. Football is not just a sport. It’s a way of helping young people in so many ways from their level of English to building their confidence. This is the power football can have.”
Kelvin has recently been working with local schools such as Phoenix Academy and Latymer Upper, running workshops and sports sessions twice a week to help young people with their confidence, creativity, leadership and team-work skills.
Meanwhile, Trust volunteer James Casling, 23, explained how the Trust saved his life.
At 15, after losing his father to suicide, he was placed in secure mental health care for his own protection.
It was during that time that he discovered QPR in the Community Trust after being invited to play a game of football.
“I was having mental health issues and a simple game of football every Wednesday afternoon made me want to live,” added James.
“It saved my life. I was on a dark path. After my dad took his life, life gave me QPR. They are more than a club and a charity. They are a family who are helping people everyday deal with their problems.”
On the night, the charity also announced a two-year extension to its partnership with the Prince’s Trust.
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