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Wednesday 03rd November 2021

Building on the success of the second Cut It Out event at Selhurst Park in June, a friendly football tournament took place on Tuesday October 26 at Selhurst Sports Arena sponsored by My Ends Croydon.

London Road Refugee All-Stars, the Metropolitan Police Youth Engagement, My Ends Croydon, Imagine Independence, Legacy Youth Zone, Hillsong London and Pathways To Independence all took part in a knock out competition to knock out racism and celebrate diversity and culture for Black History Month in October.

Anthony King, community leader and My Ends chair, believes such events are key in building communities.
He said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity to bring the community together, children looked after, unaccompanied asylum seekers, refugees, local children, local businesses and the Metropolitan Police to address community issues, physical activities and promote a community spirit during half-term, celebrating Black History Month.

“We’d like to thank our Consortium Partners: PJ’s Community Services, Palace for Life Foundation, Croydon BME Forum, Croydon Voluntary Action and City Hall.”

The 162 young people who played often miss out on such opportunities due to the lack of funds to services and space to express themselves.

Tony Patterson, Imagine Independence manager, said: “A day like today allows the service users to be included in main stream activities that they may not be otherwise included and invited to. This improves their confidence and life skills.”

The My Ends programme has a number of different elements to achieve; sport amongst other activities will be a key driver in uniting stakeholders, partners and young people together. The project has been funded by The Mayor Of London.

Breaking down barriers of conflict, language and misunderstandings allows young people to have access and positive interactions with the Metropolitan Police. For the majority of young people who played, it was their first time in getting to know their local police officers in a fun and engaging way.

Alex Adams, Sergeant for The Metropolitan Police Youth Engagement Croydon, said: “It’s the chance to show the human side of the uniform. A day like today is an excellent opportunity to mix with many elements of the community especially differing age range and needs.”

Jerome Harvey-Agyei, children’s and young peoples participation officer, echoed the sentiment. He said: “It’s so powerful to see what football brings, inclusion, inter-generational connection and a sense of oneness.”

The Mayor of Croydon, Sherwan Chowdhury, attended the event to the delight of the young people taking part.

He said: “It was an excellent event for young people to interact with each other culturally and also talk to the police about their challenges as well as job opportunities. It was great to see the Metropolitan Recruitment stand busy offering career advice and guidance.”

The My Ends programme is funded and supported by City Halls Violence Reduction Unit. The last 18 months has seen the police relationship strengthen in partnership with young people particularly in London Road, West Croydon through weekly conversations at the community meetings held at Croydon Voluntary Action, chaired by Anthony King.

Parents, guardians, carers, teachers, officers and members of the community stood on the side lines cheering on all teams on what could only be described as fantastic day for everyone. Every single player shook hands or touched elbows with fellow opposition, leading the way on respectful behaviour and embodying the spirit of respecting all cultures and diversity inclusion.

Hillsong London were the cup winners but on such a positive  day there were no losers and in fact every player deserved to be man/woman of the match.

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