24 February 2014

The coveted Barclays Premier League Trophy was the centre of attention in Khayelitsha’s Football for Hope Centre near Cape Town today as Barclays reaffirmed its financial commitment to the Grassroot Soccer (GRS) South Africa Coach Development Programme run in conjunction with Barclays Spaces for Sports.

The programme, delivered for Barclays by Grassroots Soccer, goes far beyond the fields of football. Over 190 GRS coaches between the ages of 18 and 30, who worked with over 39 000 youth in their communities in 2013, have been empowered through training focused on employability and financial literacy skills over the past year. The aim of the project is to encourage all people to live healthy and productive lives through the medium of sport and to embody good citizenship in their respective communities.

Hands-on experience

The Grassroot Soccer development courses are enhanced by additional hands-on experience as well as offering mentoring and voluntary apprenticeships. Khayelitsha has been one of the successful areas of the programme, with 35 of the 190 coach intake over the past year, hailing from this community in the Western Cape.

Bafana Bafana legend that played for Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic during his playing career in the Barclays Premier League, Mark Fish, accompanied the Barclays Premier League trophy to inspire those present.

Said Fish: “Good citizenship should be a part of everyday life and it is key that people understand the importance of life skills such as entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Even footballers can’t play football forever, and it is crucial to have some sort of business acumen to fall back on when one’s playing days are over. Barclays needs to be commended for taking this empowering step towards creating a brighter future and for striving to make a difference in communities through this programme.”

Barclays Spaces for Sports

Chris Barkley, Grassroot Soccer Director of Business Development & Strategy said: “From a Grassroot Soccer perspective, we are very grateful for the support Barclays provides this project both here in South Africa as well as in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We have no doubt that the fruits of this success story will see many of these people put through the programme, going on to take advantage of high-level employment or educational opportunities in the near future.”

The programme, funded by Barclays through the Barclays Spaces for Sports programme, has made a positive and meaningful impact over the past 12 months, according to Gideon Serfontein, Head of Citizenship at Barclays Africa.

“Our community investment will continue to focus on helping to create sustainable local communities in which people are empowered to shape a positive future for themselves and their families, and are able to make a meaningful contribution to their local economy. In doing so, we partner with public benefit organisations such as Grassroot Soccer that achieve development goals through viable, innovative and sustainable skills programmes, thus allowing communities to prosper.”