London Sport Uniting London Award Winners 2024

In response to rising youth crime and gang violence in Lewisham, a locally embedded organisation initiated free weekly football sessions at Deptford Lounge, combining football coaching and youth work. The programme utilised a hyper-local approach, addressing root causes of violence, such as food poverty, physical and mental health improvement, family support, education re-engagement, and recreational activities.

Coaches with unique perspectives on the issues faced by young people in the area built strong relationships, facilitated long-term engagement, and fostered positive development. From September 2022 to October 2023, the initiative delivered 204 free hours of football coaching, engaged 106 young people, involved 25 young people in HAF (Holiday Activity and Food) programs, and provided 100 free meals. The approach reflects a public health strategy, working alongside psychologists and mentors to prevent youth involvement in criminal activities.