Meet the youth football academy that promotes equality and combats racism and bullying.
With the support of monies raised through the Health Lottery, the local club is developing future sports mentors.
The Khalsa Youth Football Academy was founded in 1988 with the goal of addressing the Asian community’s under-representation in the sport, but it has grown into so much more. Khalsa, headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, has recently received a significant boost thanks to money raised through The Health Lottery for its Connecting Hope project.
The newly formed Connecting Hope initiative will assist a group of local 14- to 18-year-olds in learning the necessary skills to become mentors. “The incentive is to have a certificate that they can proudly display on their CVs,” says co-founder Bal Singh, 49. “It’s not just about football – it’s about applying transferable skillsets like good communication and event planning.”
Bal and his crew have worked extensively over the years to eliminate isolation and bring the community together.
“Football is an engagement instrument. It’s fantastic that we can participate in sports – that’s the hook – but we can also address important societal issues.
“It means a lot to us to be able to accomplish this. We’ve worked to address taboo topics like sexual grooming, bullying, and racism, and we ran a program after 9/11 when there were many hate crimes against the Sikh and Muslim communities.”
But none of this would be possible without funding from The Health Lottery, which is thrilled to assist over 3,200 grassroots organisations throughout the UK.
When you buy a ticket, you’re helping to generate funds for good organizations like Khalsa, and you’re also in the running to win a cash prize.
So far, a total of £157 million has been won, with £120 million raised.
“We can have a bigger effect with this support from People’s Health Trust,” Bal says.
“It enables us to cultivate more hope for the larger community, which is critical for its survival. Coach mentorship with the FA is one of my full-time professions.
“It’s critical to develop the next generation of leaders, and those who are a little older can pass on their knowledge to the younger generation.
“The future is safe in our hands.
“Football is such a great method to learn,” Bal explains. “Connecting is the name of our project.” Brinkwire Summary News