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Local School Opens its Doors to Community Sport

Thanks to Thames View Junior School and its new Headteacher, James Smith, more community football will soon be offered to local residents, particularly girls and young people in the local area.

Thames Ward Community Project and its local delivery partner, Creative Wellness, have had a problem for several months which we just couldn’t seem to resolve. After supporting Creative Wellness and its founder, Barking Riverside resident Khushnood Ahmed, in running a number of very successful girls football sessions via the Barking Sports For Change Coalition supported by Nike, the GLA and Laureus Sport, we couldn’t seem to find the group an appropriate, accessible and affordable space for this activity to continue to take place locally. Having run a number of successful sessions on the Thames View Playing Fields in the summer the group needed to find a playing surface that was levelled, marked out with proper goals for their sessions to be able to continue.

TWCP staff explored a number of different options which all seemed to present barriers that were impossible to overcome be it due to cost, availability or lack of clarity over who owned and operated the space and could give permission.

A fortunate turn of events came via social media when staff realized that a local football club, Premier Kids Soccer, who were tagging the @ThamesWardCP account into lots of the excellent activity they were running at the Thames View Junior School presented an opportunity to connect with the club director and later the school headteacher. Both of these meetings were a breath of fresh air as the PKS Chairman and Club Manager, Bank, also works within the school and was able to introduce us to James Smith, the new headteacher. Mr Smith welcomed the opportunity to connect the school to the wider community with open arms and couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about the opportunity for his students to gain more opportunities to play football outside of school as well as offer up the school facilities for use by the wider community outside of school hours. For TWCP and Creative Wellness this has been the culmination of countless emails and phone calls and so to have such an outcome was really incredible after encountering so many obstacles.

TWCP will continue to explore the possibility of improving the surface of the Thames View Playing Fields to increase the organised sport that can take place there but, in the meantime, we want to send a massive shout to Premier Kids Soccer for the excellent work they do and thanks to Thames View Junior School for their commitment to the wider community it serves! We look forward to working with you both in the future.

It's a great breakthrough after countless efforts from myself and TWCP for the girls of Thames Ward. After a successful pilot, the girls wanted to carry on but due to lack of space we couldn’t continue. Their families noticed that they had increased in confidence and physical activity. The girls that attended didn’t get a chance to play in school because either they were not selected or lacked confidence. I am thankful to Thames View Junior School for giving a chance to our girls to learn, play and thrive.