Hornchurch Tigers Junior FC nominated for London Sport Awards
- Credit: Keith Di Palma
A Hornchurch football scheme has been shortlisted for a London-wide award.
Tigers Junior Football Club was nominated for the London Sport Awards 2021 for its Tigers Futures programmes, which helps young people to become coaches and referees.
Tigers' chairman Keith Di Palma said it was an "honour" to have been shortlisted in The Enhancing the Workforce Award category.
He told this paper: "We were absolutely gobsmacked.
"To get into the final of the awards really hit home that we've done a good thing for the community."
You may also want to watch:
London Sport chair Jillian Moore added: “The efforts of our shortlisted nominees have helped make a big difference through the power of sport and physical activity.
"I want to congratulate you all for your outstanding contribution to your communities and wish you the best of luck during this year’s ceremony.”
- 1 Collier Row shooting: Police release CCTV in bid to trace man
- 2 'Heads should roll': Drug dealers left on Romford streets for eight months
- 3 Weekly Covid cases across east London revealed
- 4 Deep clean of Havering aims to get streets 'back to how they should be’
- 5 Gallows Corner Tesco development proposal refused
- 6 Mum opens Romford juice van to offer healthy snacks and drinks for kids
- 7 'Cover up or terrible mistake?': Family told hostel death inquest will not take place
- 8 Harold Hill man to be sentenced for ATM robberies
- 9 Sentencing of Harold Hill ATM robber is postponed
- 10 'Gentle giant' driven propped up on van's floor with serious head injury, inquest hears
Keith and his wife Lisa, who is club secretary, have been involved in the football club for the past 23 years.
The couple launched the Tigers Futures scheme seven years ago, offering free training and support for people aged 14 or over to gain other skills in football.
Keith explained: "There was a lot of antisocial behaviour, and it was a way of getting young people off the street.
"It's all free, and they come to training sessions for younger players, help out with activities and run sessions themselves."
Each year, around six or seven new referees qualify from the programme, and the club pays for their formal qualifications when they turn 16.
"It's just gone from strength to strength," Keith added.
"Some people who join at 14 are really shy and quiet, and Tigers Futures gives them so much more confidence.
"We get such good feedback from parents, who are grateful for what we do."
Local companies, including Hornchurch's Trophyland and Sovereign Home Improvements, have provided the young people with referee kits.
Both Lisa and Ford Motor Club worker Keith, who works day and night shifts, are volunteers and Keith said all money made from the Tigers goes back to the children.
He said: "At the moment it's really busy.
"Our weekends are completely full of football.
"And we spend a few hours each weekday night on the club as well."
The winners of the London Sport Awards, sponsored by the City of London Corporation, will be announced during an in-person ceremony held at the Guildhall on December 6, subject to Covid-19 guidance.