20 April 2015

On Wednesday 1st April, 100 young people aged 8 – 12 from seven Lambeth youth organisations took part in the inaugural FeetOnTheBeat football festival at Ferndale Community Sports Centre.

FeetOnTheBeat was a partnership event focusing on community cohesion involving London Youth, The Metropolitan Police Service, Lambeth Council, GLL, The St Matthews Project and Big Kid Foundation.

14 teams, across two age groups competed in this 6-a-side format and the young people impressed with their skill, competitiveness, but, also their resilience and sportsmanship when results didn’t go their way.

The community partnership of FeetOnTheBeat provided local young people with accessible sport opportunities whilst establishing more positive relationships with the local police.  Reflecting on the event afterwards, it was clear we had been able to provide a platform for this to happen:

  • Local organisations who had never met before were exchanging details to arrange future fixtures and those who knew each other continued to build on their strong relationships
  • 100 young people from the borough spent four hours playing football and developing friendships in a safe, relaxed environment on excellent facilities
  • 5 local police officers referred the fixtures, bike marking workshops took place and young people and police interacted and enjoyed each others company.

John Jones, Sport Development Officer at London Youth, commented: ‘It is vital we continue to provide sport opportunities for young people during school holidays.  The FeetOnTheBeat festival was a great success and the young people who took part were a credit to themselves, their youth clubs and the Borough of Lambeth’.

Detective Inspector Shaun White added: ‘The idea for Feet On The Beat was conceived by John and by me to bring the young people of Lambeth together to engage with their local police officers within the context of a sporting environment. The feedback suggest that it was a positive experience for the young people involved and I hope this will be the beginning of many more events in our borough and beyond in the future’.

The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all the participants, with Lee Dema, founder of the St Matthews Project (who won first place in the 11-12 year olds category) commenting: 'Fantastic to see so many young people, many of whom will have nothing else to do over the holiday period, coming together for a football tournament played in such a great spirit. Hope this is the first of many’.

For the finals, we welcomed Lambeth Borough’s Police Commander Richard Wood and Lambeth Mayor – Councillor Adedamola Aminu.  The results for FeetOnTheBeat were as follows:

8 – 10 year olds

In first place was Dynamo FC.  In second place were Streatham Youth and Community Trust and the Fair Play award went to Stockwell Community FC

11 – 12 year olds

In first place was St Matthews Project.  In second place were Big Kid Foundation and Fair Play award went to Crystal Palace FC.