After the 2011 London Riots, The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime [MOPAC] decided to fund more programmes for young people with criminal convictions or on the edge of crime.

Karmen Blake, Mentoring Manager at The Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, oversees two programmes in Hounslow and Ealing which hope to deter young people from making negative life choices and committing more offences.

“Ultimately I want there to be no kids coming through us,” said Karmen.

“In an ideal world there would be no kids in the system but that’s unrealistic. I am torn, but I obviously want the mentoring projects to sustain the real positivity it is having at the moment.”

Karmen’s role is to manage relationships between mentors and mentees and make sure they are running smoothly and all parties are happy.

“We get referrals from the youth offending team about who they feel would benefit from mentoring and then we meet the young people and their families,” said Karmen. “My job is to recruit volunteers to have mentoring relationships with these young people.”

How helpful does Karmen think mentoring is?

“A lot of issues come down to self-confidence,” said Karmen. “I think that having a person to guide them and ask about their choices without being judgemental can help them build confidence to make the right decisions. And it is good for young people to engage with people outside their family or the services.”

Jennifer Ingole has been mentoring young people with the Trust since November 2014.

"What inspired me to become a mentor were my experiences of being bullied as an early teen and the family difficulties I had at home during that time,” says Jennifer. “I was mentored at school and it helped me gain confidence in myself and made me feel I had a voice. I wanted to help young people feel that same way.”

Karmen is always looking for volunteers but warns that it isn’t something to be taken on lightly.

“Out of five people, usually three will see the training through to the end,” said Karmen. “Some people don’t realise the extent of the training. But if you are coming from the right place you will complete it.”

Jennifer has come a long way since applying to be a volunteer. She is now training other mentors as well as working with young offenders at a neighbouring council.

“The reward of it is being able to go on a journey with this young person and watching them grow into the person they should have been before their challenges,” said Karmen.

Whilst working as a teacher, Karmen studied counselling for three years at Richmond Adult College. She says she was inspired to get involved in counselling and mentoring after witnessing the behaviour of some children at school.

“I used to get on well with the children but I often wondered how a child could turn up at school at 8.30am and be so angry,” said Karmen. “That anger doesn’t come out of nowhere. When I see young people I sometimes ask them to tell me something positive about themselves. They regularly go silent. Whereas I’ve sat with them for two minutes and already see lots of positives.

“I find it incredibly sad that some young people cannot recognise their worth. But if someone else can see it, it has a real impact. It gives them a different way to see themselves – and shifts it slightly.”


“I didn’t think it was for me,” said Philomena Tully. “I didn’t like it. I was used to playing squash, horse-riding and doing lots of physical exercise. I thought yoga was sleepy but that’s because I didn’t know what it was.”

Philomena is glad she gave yoga a go because it has changed her life, and perhaps saved it. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, doctors recommended yoga to help her deal with her illness. More than 20 years later, Philomena is still practicing and works as a yoga instructor for the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Her family also have close ties to Brentford FC, with her husband a Season Ticket Holder and her children regularly volunteering for Trust and Club events.

“Yoga helped me look inside and I believe that everything you need is within,” said Philomena. “If you can tap into it; Yoga is what keeps me vertical and still walking.”

Philomena’s yoga sessions are part of the Women Active programme at the Trust, which has been encouraging girls and women to take up more sport. Along with yoga, Women Active have been running a weekly running club over the summer and providing discounted rates for paddle-boarding and kayaking.

Held from 10-11.30am on Wednesdays, the Trust sessions at Isleworth Public Hall are primarily targeted at carers, parents and the retired. However, all are welcome. The sessions are affordable and Philomena has proved very popular with participants.

“She is an inspiration,” says Barbara Benedek, who started the Trust sessions in January. “Her ability to do yoga with MS is amazing and it gives me courage. She is also supportive and encouraging. The sessions are local and easy for me to get to. The stretching is particularly good and I feel very relaxed after each session. I also value the work on building strength.”

Building strength is something Philomena frequently speaks about.

“I have some disabled students and they learn how to see the strength in themselves and how to cope with their disability,” said Philomena. “The older people gain confidence in their abilities. The younger people learn how to focus more on themselves and not compare themselves with their peers. I just see the good everywhere in yoga; everybody should do it.”

After thinking about doing yoga for a while, Colette Bruynseels decided to give it a go after reading about the Trust sessions in Brentford News.

“It came along at the right time,” said Colette. “I do feel better, always relaxed after each session. I’ve got bad knees so it is good to strengthen the muscles. I’m getting on and want to keep strength and suppleness as long into old age as I can.”

Philomena says another great thing about yoga is that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

"We have a lovely lady who is 86 and she taught me ‘you never go on in yoga, you go inward and deeper,’” says Philomena. “Western men don’t tend to go to yoga but Eastern men do. A lot of Asian men grow up with it and it would be nice to see more men at the sessions.”


"What is really emotional for me is the involvement of Mo and Tania. To come back and put this much into the Hounslow community is something I am incredibly proud of. This is what Olympic legacy is about."

These were the words of former PE teacher Alan Watkinson, the man who helped runner Mo Farah grow into one of Britain’s most decorated athletes.

On August 27th, both men returned to the place the journey had started – Feltham Community College – to launch a new local sports programme called Motivate Hounslow.  This initiative aims to motivate young people in Hounslow aged between 14 and 25 to take up sport, or take their talents to the next level.

"I thank Sport England for giving us these funds so we can help kids," said the Olympic, World and European 5,000 and 10,000m champion Mo Farah at the launch.

"To be able to support young people is amazing and I want to spot the next Mo. I want to give them a chance and say look this is where I started, I was just like you at that age."

A generous cheque for £250,000 was handed over by Jon Horne, Government Relationship Manager for Sport England’s Community Sports Activation Fund.

"This is a £47.5 million project across the country and this is one of 160 projects so far that have been funded," said Jon when presenting with the cheque.

"It is not just about people doing more sport but about the impact regular sport participation can have on wider local outcomes, whether this is educational achievement, health, diversity activities – whatever this may be in the local area."

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, The Mo Farah Foundation and Sport Impact are working together to deliver the programme, which centres around three Motivator coaches who will be working in the most deprived areas of Hounslow to get more young people active.

"The age group we are targeting (14-25 year old) is set up for a reason, and it is a challenge. But we believe we have the credentials to do it, we all have different personalities and are enthusiastic about sport," said Senior Motivator Abdoullah Kheir.

During the launch, young people from the community took part in a variety of different sports activities including basketball, football, tennis, American flag football, boxing, trampolining and sprinting.

Motivator Martin Bradshaw said the diversity of sports on offer reflected the nature of the programme, which would use as many different sports as possible to engage the target age group.

“We will start with schools and colleges, then look to go to youth clubs and talk to young people about what they want and what will make them motivated to come to our project," said fellow Motivator Kojo Sedefia.

Chair of the Mo Farah Foundation, Tania Farah, also attended the event, as did Mo’s daughter Rhianna – who enjoyed taking part in the activities on offer, especially the tennis.

"We are excited to work with Sport Impact and Brentford FC CST, who have experience at ground level working with young people," said Tania.

"By using Mo’s influence hopefully we can develop this into something across the UK. We started in Hounslow because this is where we are from and this is where our heart still lies."

Aspiring Olympian, and Great Britain 100m sprinter Clieo Stephenson, has already benefitted from the work of The Mo Farah Foundation. The sprinter is studying psychology at Brunel University while perfecting her ground speeds.

"When I joined Brunel I applied for a scholarship and the Mo Farah Foundation selected me as one of the four people they support throughout the year," said Clieo, who can run 100m in 11.7 seconds.

"They give me financial help through the course of year, help with injuries and look after me in any way they can. Physio, travel and equipment, that sort of thing."

While Clieo was tearing it up on the mini sprint track, vigorous bouncing on the trampoline took place inside the sports hall, and Brentford FC Club Captain Kevin O’Connor turned up to see the skills on the football pitch.

The Major of Hounslow, Corinna Smart, said the launch was the biggest sporting event of the summer because of Mo Farah’s motivational story and how young people respond to it.

"I am from Feltham Community College and am doing tennis, trampolining and dodge-ball. Mo used to go to this school and I have heard a lot about him. He won lots of medals at the Olympics," said 15-year old Vishal, one of the participants on the day.

If their hard work was spotted by the Motivators, the most impressive performers were awarded prizes by Mo Farah on stage.  With a handy right hook in the boxing ring, 19-year old Dominika was awarded a goody bag with a signed T-shirt from Mo.

"In addition to Sport England, I want to thank our supporters, ISIS Waterside Regeneration, Carillion Parks Management, The Heathrow Community Fund, Brentford Football Club and the London Borough of Hounslow," said Project Manager Neil Young,

"It was through the Hounslow Community, Sport and Physical Activity network – managed by the Borough Council – that this partnership was formed, so I would like to say thank you for bringing us together."


August 2014

Just days after Paralympic athletes entertained the world at the Commonwealth Games, a Summer Sports Party in Hounslow was helping to inspire the next generation of Paralympic stars.

The Brentford FC Community Sports Trust event, funded by the Hounslow Short Breaks programme, welcomed children with various disabilities and their families to take part in a range of sporting activity.

Over 60 participants attended the Sports Party at Lampton School Sports Centre where there was an opportunity to try some familiar sports and perhaps a few new ones.

The center was a hive of activity with sports including indoor curling, table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics and badminton on offer.  There were also adapted sports such as Boccia, table cricket and polybat for children with more serious impairments and outside Feltham Bees coaches put aspiring footballers through their paces.

"We were really pleasantly surprised to see so many activities organised for the afternoon. The children really enjoyed taking part in the sports and the coaches on-hand were fantastic, very supportive and full of encouragement," said Hiten Bhadusia, dad of Prisha.

The Brentford FC CST worked closely with local organisations Feltham Bees, Middlesex Cricket Club, Richmond Gymnastics and Middlesex County Badminton Association to ensure the event was a success, and that there was always something for old and young to do.

"It was good to see so many organisation working together to create an exciting and challenging day for the Short Breaks children," said Event Co-ordinator, Chris Tribe.

Joanna Dawson, Short Breaks Co-ordinator, said she had a great time at the event and was also impressed with the assortment of activities on display.

"The Short Breaks programme has become a fixture in the lives of disabled children and their families during the holidays and Brentford FC CST are a big part of that. As well as great learning opportunities and enjoyment for the young people, the programme has helped to develop a community network for parent/carers in the borough," said Joanna.

One of the sports that proved very popular on the day was the rhythmic gymnastics. Throughout the event, colourful ribbons held by laughing children flowed elegantly across the sports center. Brentford First Team player Jake Bidwell (pictured) took part in the activities despite being more familiar with footballs than ribbons.

Outside, a football match was taking place between children with differing levels of skill. Next to the football pitch, Jake spent a time answering questions from curious children about his football career and what the new season will be like in the Championship.

In some cases the parents enjoyed the activities just as much as their kids.

"We all had a really good time at the Summer Sports Party. James really liked the table tennis and mum and dad even had a go at badminton," said Elaine Burnham.

"James and Scarlett finished off the day with a game of Boccia - a first for them both."

After working up a sweat, there were other activities, which got the pulse racing in a different way. As normal, the Wii console was in constant demand and the green screen technology - provided by the GPLZ - allowed children to have their photos taken in front of a number of backdrops. While some took a quick trip to New York other less fortunate children ended up in the jaws of a shark. But thankfully, everyone survived.

"It was a fantastic day and as always it is great to see the children having so much fun. We may even have seen some Paralympic sport stars of the future!" said Peter Shears, Senior Project Manager at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Unlike the Commonwealth Games, all participants left the event with a gleaming Short Breaks medal and a smile on their face.

The Trust would like to thank everyone who attended for making it such a special day and we hope to see you soon at another Short Break event.
                                                  THE FEARLESS ROB OLLMAN

July 10th 2014

“This time last year I hated my life. I was unemployed after quitting a job I didn’t want to do,” said Rob Ollman.

Rob’s fortunes were about to turn after spotting a leaflet at the Job Centre about an employability programme run by the Fulham FC Foundation.

‘My Future Goal’, supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports, opened the door for Rob to do what he had dreamed of doing, work in football. Held at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, the 10-week programme delivers crucial employability skills to participants and also provides the opportunity to take their FA Level One coaching qualification.

Enrolling on ‘My Future Goal’ was just the beginning for Rob. He had to work very hard to ensure he made a good impression.

“I participated with everything and gave 100%. I always arrived early and was one of the last to leave,” says Rob.

“The 10 weeks went really quickly and I knew this was a great opportunity to get a job so I tried really hard. Whatever the coaches said, went.”

Fortunately the end of ‘My Future Goal’ did not spell the end of Rob’s coaching ambitions. During the programme, participants were told that the Danny Fullbrook Fearless Foundation would provide funding for two Fearless Mentors to coach at the Foundation for three months.

“We were told that the Fearless Foundation had raised enough money to create two Fearless Coaching positions, to further support my development as a coach. As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I knew this was something I really wanted to do. I thought, I am going to get this.”

That is exactly what Rob did. And the journey did not end after the mentorship placement either. After completing the three months, Rob found himself inundated with work and fully immersed with Fulham FC Foundation.

“During the Fearless Coaching placement I was able to watch the best coaches take PE and social inclusion sessions. Because people got to know me, and I had really good feedback, I was put onto the rota as a sessional coach.”

“The Fearless Coach programme really helped me out as I wouldn’t have been able to get this many hours with Fulham if I hadn’t done it. It was a way in.”

In addition to providing Fearless Mentorships, Danny’s charity has also contributed to funding a number of FA Level One courses.

Deborah Searchwell, Employability Officer at the Fulham Foundation, sees first-hand the positive effects employability programmes have on young people struggling to get on the career ladder. She says one of the most important things about ‘My Future Goal’ is teaching young people to be realistic.

“Many of the participants have never worked before and are either in part-time or low level employment. ‘My Future Goal’ and the Fearless Coach programme give young people an idea of the employment opportunities out there,” says Deborah.

“We inject a healthy dose of realism so they can make informed decisions about their career and lifestyle. It is important to know they will not be on six figure salaries as coaches and that something on their CRB could stop them from coaching young people in the future.”

Through Fearless Foundation’s ongoing projects with the Fulham Foundation and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, it is clear how powerful football is as a motivation tool for young people.

Whether it is in Brentford’s Griffin Park or Fulham’s Craven Cottage, NEET youngsters are often stimulated to study in an environment which is deeply connected to their passion for sport.

“It doesn’t matter if they get to meet the players, it’s the environment and the heavyweight brands these clubs have which create an exciting atmosphere,” says Deborah.

“They see people from brands like Adidas arrive at the same entrance they use to do a photo-shoot with players. This has an impact on these guys. This is an opportunity for young people that is unique and exclusive.”

Rob’s story at the Fulham FC Foundation is an uplifting one. And he shows no signs of slowing down.

“Everyone says it is so hard to get a full-time job in coaching but I’m living off it and doing it six days a week. I used to do seven!” says Rob.

“My main mission now is to get a full-time contract with the Foundation.”

Rob had wise words for the new group of ‘My Future Goal’ participants when he dropped in for a talk.

“Everyone has an opinion but you learn to adapt to it. The main thing about coaching is to adjust to your surroundings. Make things simple and have a can do attitude.”

“It is not about what other people think of you, you need to work hard for yourself.”


April 1st 2014

"It felt like we were actually reporters. It was fun but it could be quite hard as you have to remember all the facts and stats."

These are the words of nine-year old Dallas getting to grips with the demands of being a journalist during a Fearless Journalism Workshop.

After receiving funding from the Danny Fullbrook Fearless Foundation, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust - voted 2014 Community Club of the Year - have been running free workshops for schools at Griffin Park’s Learning Zone.

Since their partnership was announced in November 2012, the Fearless Foundation and the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust have been working together to provide new opportunities for young people - whether in the classroom or on the football field. 

"My favourite part was walking around the stadium and meeting new people. I have never been to a stadium. All schools should do this because it is really fun," said Logan, from Year 5 at Hobbayne School in Hanwell.

The passion these workshops generate is not in doubt – especially if you are on the receiving end of the children’s whoops and screams upon seeing the empty stadium lie out before them.

The workshop includes a backstage tour of Brentford’s Griffin Park, an introduction to the principles of journalism and the pièce de résistance - a special press conference with a professional football player. Brentford midfielder Nico Yennaris and defender James Tarkowski are two first team players who have already been quizzed by aspiring young journos, and survived.

A high profile sports journalist – who worked for the Sunday Mirror and Daily Star - Danny Fullbrook would be delighted that funding generated in his name is being used to educate young people about his profession.

Hobbayne Learning Support Assistant Ms Keeley said, "These workshops are great at showing children what a career in journalism might be like. This is the sort of thing we could never recreate in school."

"The children learnt where to sit in the stand, how to act in a press conference and the need to research your subject. The workshop prepared them well for the role and their eyes lit up when they were in the press box."

Danny was a ‘Frank and Fearless’ journalist, but one who was respectful and fair – something these workshops are careful to emphasise.

"I really liked the press conference.  I liked asking the questions because I had never done it before and it was really fun to do something new," said Logan.

Coaching opportunities

Journalism workshops are one of many Fearless projects run by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Fearless funding has also allowed the Trust to expand its sports programme in schools. Ten weeks of free multi-sports sessions and FA Respect workshops have been delivered to Hobbayne – the school Danny’s son Edward attended.

These sessions allowed 360 children from Year 1-6 to take part in extra sport sessions under the professional guidance of the Community Sports Trust coaches. Another important facet of these sessions is the opportunity it gives Fearless Coaches.

Luke Skelhorn, General Manager at Brentford FC CST said, "Fearless funding has enabled us to offer a pathway for young coaches from disadvantaged backgrounds. The extra sessions allow them to be mentored by experienced coaching staff into delivering workshops and sports lessons promoting the FA Respect agenda."

This is a step onto the career ladder these coaches might not have achieved so quickly without Fearless support.

The next goal for the Trust is to ensure Fearless sport sessions reach over 1,000 children by the end of 2015.

Starting in April, two new schools will receive free multi-sports sessions and Respect workshops and this will again provide work and much-needed experience for Fearless Coaches.

The Fearless Foundation and Brentford FC CST are continually looking for new, innovative ways to develop young coaches, deliver more sport sessions and educate and inspire future generations.

When the kayaking season gets underway, Fearless funding will take to the water and hopefully encourage more youngsters to kayak and paddleboard at the Brentford Boating Arch and Brentford Lock. Let's hope another Olympic hero is on their way…

The Fearless Foundation would like to thank everyone who attended and supported the 2013 Fearless Foundation Ball –  without your backing none of this would have been possible.

In the match-day programme for Brentford FC v Bristol City on January 28th the Trust featured a piece on the Football League Trust’s Female Development Programme. The Bees went on to win the match 3-1 and the new programme has also been making winning strides. 
On Ladies Day we take a look at exactly what the programme means for girls and women in the community. 

Following the success of female athletes at the Olympic Games, the FA announced its ‘Game Changer’ initiative which aimed to make women’s football the second highest participation sport in the UK.

At the start of 2014, the ball was rolling. Funded by Sport England, over 50 football league clubs have been providing free football sessions for females aged between 14-25 as part of the new FA Women’s and Girl’s programme.

Since January, Brentford Trust coaches have delivered sessions to nine local schools - offering expert coaching to girls and women who haven’t had the chance to play football regularly.  

“This project has created the opportunity for a range of female participants to be engaged in football sessions which advance their technical, tactical and game understanding,” says James Eaton, Project Coordinator at the Trust. 

“We have developed a pathway into the Junior Bees development squad for those who want to continue their football career.” 

These sessions have been delivered as part of the PE curriculum and after school clubs. 

Brentford supporter and year 10 student at Brentford School for Girls Bethany said, “I have not really had the chance to play much football. I go to all the Brentford matches but this is better because I get to be taught all the skills.”

A great advantage of these sessions is that experienced Trust coaches offer an expert and external point of view. 

“They get used to us teachers and it is good for the girls to hear from someone who coaches and works in a club because PE teacher usually specialise and none of us are football specialists,” says Jacqui Marshall, PE teacher at Brentford School for Girls.

While recognising women’s football is dwarfed by the men’s game, Trust coach and Brentford Ladies player Amber Lloyd believes the scheme offers new opportunities for young women.  

“When I was in secondary school I never got the chance to play football, even in PE lessons. We had to ask to play with the boys and they let me play because they knew me. There were no after school clubs.” 

“Boys get a lot of help if they want to play football with after school clubs and extra-curricular lessons. It is only recently that girls are getting the same help. Girls don’t care if they are good or not in these sessions but playing with boys can be disheartening if they are more experienced.” 

When given the chance to play, there is a universal love towards football from both sexes. 

“I prefer football to other sports because it is a more free game – in netball you have to be in certain zones. It is very active and you can tackle another person,” says 14 year old Zainab, a student from the Heathland School.

While the free sessions are proving popular, the Trust wants to make sure the end of school sessions does not mean the end of the footballing road. 

Amy Crook, general manager of Brentford FC Women’s and Girls, welcomes girls to try out for the women’s Brentford side. The Bees women are in strong form and currently lead Greater London Women’s Football League Division One. 

Trust coach Gabriel Jones also runs a free Saturday sessions with the Junior Bees for females between 14 and 25 who want to take their football career to the next level. 

There is no doubt that developing girl’s and women’s football is something the FA, The Football League Trust and Brentford FC CST are taking very seriously.

But serious matters aside – it’s good to see the beautiful game being enjoyed by more people in the community. 


Social Inclusion is an important part of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Launched in 2010 and supported by Hounslow Homes, Street Sports is a Hounslow-based inclusion project which brings multi-sports and youth club sessions to a number of estates in the area.

At the start of this year, the Trust project received a huge boost with the announcement that Hounslow Homes would pledge over £90,000 of funding over the next two years. 

“The project has been extremely successful and our increased funding demonstrates Hounslow Homes commitment to providing positive engagement activities, training and employment pathways for young people living within our housing communities,” said Godfrey Hamilton, Housing Services Manager for Hounslow Homes.

The free sessions – which offer a relaxed environment and chance to socialise outside school - are available to young people aged between 8-18. 

“Street Sports give young people something fun and positive to do in the evenings. Projects like these often reduce anti-social behaviour and build a stronger sense of community,” says Graham Goodden, Trust Social Inclusion Project Coordinator.

Heston Farm is one of the estates the Trust visits weekly, providing a Monday evening multi-sports session and a Wednesday evening youth club. 

While young people can improve their football skills and keep active at the sports sessions, the youth club allows them to interact more closely with each other and Brentford Trust staff.

The heart of the youth club is the tuck-shop – which not only appeases appetites but gives members the chance to deal with customers and manage money. It is a small gateway into adult life and financial responsibilities.
“The best thing about the club is the tuck shop. I like doing this job because I can just sit here and chill and let people buy things,” says 10-year-old Braden.

Of course, the lighter side of the youth club is to simply have fun. 

“We play table tennis, get a drink, and sometimes we go on the laptops and computer games. It’s a good place to meet up with friends and it’s really fun,” says nine-year old Azza.

Although members are often seen happily playing games, the Trust staff are on hand in case they believe anyone is not happy. 
“They talk to us if they need to. We can tell if a child is not well or out of sorts, or a child’s parents might come in and talk to us. We’ve sorted out problems before,” says Teresa Thornton, a Trust youth worker.

“We only have two hours a week with these young people so our impact has to be more targeted. It’s different from school because they can bring in things they want to do.” While younger children play with an assortment of games under staff supervision, older members head for the room with the pool table.  

“I have been going to the youth club since it started a couple of years ago. It is a good way to spend your time, I don’t have a pool table or table tennis table at home,” says 17-year old Erni. 
His friend Inis is another regular, “The weather is not very good in England so it’s good to have more things to do. We are from another estate across the road and haven’t got anything like this there. Everybody knows us and we treat each other like a family.”
The unity and positive atmosphere created by the club explains why Hounslow Homes are backing Street Sports until the end of 2015. 
“I come here to see my friends. Not everybody on the estate comes because maybe they are doing other things but it’s here in case they can,” says nine-year old Rahim. 
To find out more about Street Sports please visit – - or email


On November 26th 2013, Brentford played Peterborough in a dramatic match at Griffin Park. Two goals down with only ten minutes to go, Brentford secured all three points after goals from George Saville and Clayton Donaldson gave them victory.
It was one of the highlights of Brentford’s season so far and will not be forgotten by the mascots of the day, Alison Bell and Romaric Walker.
Teenagers Alison and Romaric were at the match representing Ealing Young Careers – a relatively new project which has been delivered by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust since 2011.
"We were delighted to be able to give Romaric and Alison the chance to be mascots for the game. We are proud to work with young carers groups around the country and thanks all of Brentford FCCST for nominating them for their treat," said Steve Thorpe of The Free Kicks Foundation.
Ealing Young Carers provide a support network for young people aged under 18 who care for family members with illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse problems.
Instead of the freedom many teenagers enjoy, Alison and Romaric spend time supporting a sibling with Autism, and doing family chores. This is one of the reasons why Ealing Young Carers works hard to ensure the group gets the support, and has the fun, it deserves.
"I like coming to the project because it gives you opportunities. The project has brought out things in myself that I didn’t even know were there," says Alison on her time with Ealing Young Carers.
Considering the range of activities on offer, it is no surprise referrals are on the rise. The project provides a weekly homework club, fortnightly youth and swimming club, support sessions and special one-off events for over 90 young carers in Ealing.
Project Co-ordinator Kathryn Sobczak believes it was an innovative idea to appoint Brentford FC CST as the project managers.
"First I wasn’t sure how the link with football would work but it has brought a lot of advantages, the football matches especially are a big draw for our group," says Kathryn.
"As soon as we say we are from Brentford FC CST we have a lot of young carers interested in getting involved and we have been able to expand our remit of activities."
The relationship with the football club is one of many links the Ealing Young Careers team are currently developing.
"We now work with the University of West London. Through this partnership, we have been able to offer new opportunities including animation courses, arts and crafts days and first aid courses. These are things that our participants may not have had the opportunity to do otherwise," says Kathyrn, who used to be a young carer herself.
If technology is not your thing then the Trust has also started an activity that is a bit more traditional – fishing!
"One of our younger carers managed to catch a 6lb Tench on a recent fishing trip," said Young Carers Project Manager Peter Shears proudly.
The fisherwoman in question was 9-year-old Mia.
"Fishing is the best thing in the world and I find it fantastic. The best fish I caught was a Tench and it was humungous!" said Mia.
In addition to the activities on offer, several young carers visit the Trust offices for support with education, work and social issues.
"We have been able to link in with Social Services, Schools and the Cares Centre to ensure that our young carers are getting the right support," says Peter.
While Ealing Young Carers is heading in the right direction, the Trust is still looking at ways to make further improvements.
"I hope to be able to provide more transportation to and from events and to grow the project with more referrals. I am going to meet other professionals to explain how they can refer carers, and go into more schools to identity carers there," says Kathryn.
"Once we increase our numbers we can continue to expand what we offer."
The project has already had a profound effect on the life of one young carer.
"We have one particular young carer who really did not feel he wanted to get involved at first but with encouragement from his mum he eventually came. He was very quiet at first but as the weeks went by he grew in confidence and now he is one of the chattiest and liveliest in the bunch," says Kathryn.
"We recently took the carers out for a day at the seaside and he said it was 'the best day of his life'. He had never been to the beach before."
If you want to find out more about Ealing Young Carers or are interested in volunteering please contact Kathryn Sobczak on 0208 326 7044 or email:


Why do you wear such flashy boots? What does it feel like to take a penalty? Who is the best at Gangnam style?
This wasn't your average press conference - it was far more interesting than that. As the rain fell outside, the questions rained down on the Brentford squad during the Trust's 'Meet the Players' event at Goals in Middlesex.
Unfortunately, despite the children's best efforts (which involved plenty of chanting), there was to be no Gangnam impersonations – with so many participants and players there simply wasn’t space!
The group of 120 children, aged between 5 and 12, had earned a 30-minute Q&A session with the players after battling some tricky weather conditions on the 5-a-side pitches.
During an hour's session, the Trust's coaches put the youngsters through their paces - mixing up some testing drills with more light-hearted games - while also keeping an eye out for any balls, or children, that might blow away.
Thankfully all 120 turned up to lunch where there was little evidence of the weather dampening spirits - especially with the player's arrival imminent.
"It's fun playing in the rain. I like getting wet. I would play football all day," said 10-year-old Albie.
Albie got his wish with more football after lunch. The boys and girls took part in a quick warm-up session before being divided into teams in preparation for the players’ entrance.
Kitted out in red team tracksuits, the Brentford players were greeted by their teams and a friendly gust of wind. However, they braved the rain and wind to shout their teams to glory. Or not, in the case of Brentford goalkeeper Richard Lee.
"I was manager of my team and when they went 3-0 down it made me realise that management is not for me," said Lee, with tongue slightly in cheek.
"I wasn't able to inspire in the way I was hoping. But you could see they were excited, trying to show off their skills and there are some really talented kids out there."
One of those talented children, with words as well as the ball, was 9-year-old Jack, who wasn't afraid to get to the heart of the matter at the Q&A.
"I asked Clayton Donaldson if he liked playing for Brentford. He said he was happy at Brentford and is enjoying his season. So that made me happy," said Jack.
Donaldson’s partner up front Marcello Trotta also proved very popular with the kids who barraged the Italian with a number of questions.
After the Q&A session, the young fans formed an orderly queue to squeeze autographs onto a matchday programme and take photos with their favourite players.
"The best bit was getting the autographs just now - my favourite player is probably Donaldson - because I walked out with him when I was a mascot in 2011 and in that game he scored and ever since he's been really good," said Jack.
Inspiring a generation
A favourite with many, Donaldson is no stranger to participating in community events. For the second year running, the striker has been nominated as Brentford's Community Footballer of the Year for The Football League Awards.
"I have been going to schools and to the the Learning Zone at Griffin Park to meet the kids and answer questions. I've been telling them about Kick It Out and racism as well which is good to explain to the kids at a young age. Basically just being there for the kids and explaining how football can keep you out of trouble and off the streets," said Donaldson after signing his hundredth autograph with a smile.
"I used to come to these events when I was little. I'm from Bradford so all the Bradford City players would visit schools and youth clubs. The feeling I got would be amazing and I couldn't wait to meet the players. It's always good to see their smiles as they walk in and it's always good for the players."
It was certainly eye-opening for Richard Lee who learnt the difficulties of management.
"I hope we have provided a bit of inspiration and motivation to push them a little bit further. Hopefully we have been able to do that for them and they have asked some great questions," said Lee.
Another great question came from 10-year-old Miranda Connor who had travelled all the way from Miami, Florida. After Miranda asked Farid El Alagui how he had got into football, the striker explained things could have been very different if his mum had found the basketball court.
"My favourite player is Sam Saunders - and also Trotta - I think he is really good. I think Brentford can go up this year and I will be keeping updated from the States," said Miranda.
With the exciting development of a new 20,000 stadium at Lionel Road on the horizon, Brentford are hoping to expand its fan base both home and away.
"I heard Luis Melville (Trust's Development Manager) say the children were given free tickets to a match and this will encourage parents and friends to come to games. If you can latch on to a few of them permanently then you have done your job," said Brentford Club Captain Kevin O'Connor, who has been with Brentford since 1999.
O'Connor has seen many highs and lows at Griffin Park but feels something special is developing.
"The quality of the squad is very good and everyone can see that. We are having a great run and must keep it going into the New Year."
Since the event, Brentford have done just that and are in prime place for promotion. Who knows maybe meeting 120 young fans was just the inspiration they needed over a busy festive period.

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