The reason I joined the West Ham United Foundation programme was because I had heard positive things about it and I knew by joining it would allow me to carry on studying whilst doing the thing I love which is play football at the same time. Now I am in my second year of the course I still love the Football element as this is my passion, I also like the fact I can study about the game and the different avenues I can learn about in the sport and build my football knowledge whilst getting a sports diploma 

Michael Drew – Currently in Year 2 of WHUF Learning Academy

Being a part of the learning academy for a number of years allowed me to develop so many skills I never knew I possessed whilst training full time and playing the sport I loved. The football used to keep me motivated and playing with like-minded players and knowledgeable coaches created such a great atmosphere. When on the course I gained my FA level 1 coaching badge and this made me decide I wanted to go to University.

While at University I became a sessional coach for the Foundation and this created an opportunity when I had completed my studies to get the full-time role I now have.

Gideon Sengulay Thomas – Ex Learning Academy Student – Currently employed by WHUF as a School Hub Officer

Since the start of our relationship in 2013, West Ham United Foundation has worked collaboratively with our University to deliver our degree programmes and other higher education projects. With West Ham United Foundation being an award winning community organisation, and sharing principle values that compliment the vision of University of East London, we have established a unique offer for our degree students, providing them with an environment in which they can flourish in a pioneering University and Premier League Football Club

Professor Marcia Wilson, Dean of the Office for Institutional Equity

I loved being part of the WHU Foundation’s degree programme and thoroughly enjoyed my time on the course. Through the unique opportunities available I was able to build my CV with a range of experience within community and elite sport. The course gave me the knowledge, skills, networks, and confidence to successfully move into employment

Aaron Johnson, UEL Student

As the Grant Manager who assessed this project [WHUF Beckton pitch development] I always thought it would be a really good project. It has, however, exceeded expectations to become a flagship site connecting with all of the Foundation’s target groups and will make big impact in terms of the new National Football Facilities Strategy. Well run with a strong combination of affiliated and recreational football and very busy. West Ham Foundation are looking to come in for further funding soon for additional facilities - the way it runs this project bodes well for further success

Ben Dunning, Football Foundation Grant Manager

The West Ham United Foundation have been a big part of our whole system approach to tackling local issues such as Holiday Hunger. Working alongside 3 consortium groups in Essex, Basildon, Harlow and Chelmsford, they were able to share resources, provide coaches and most importantly share their experience of delivering holiday hunger programmes in the past, to help all projects across Essex to develop their approach. Ross and his team presented past projects and the impact they had had and have been integral to the development and delivery of the 3 consortium projects

Louise Voyce – Active Essex

Holiday Hunger is a massive issue in Harlow.  All of the families that we engaged with told us that there is just not enough, affordable activities and support available in the school holidays.  At each session we delivered, we were able to offer the families a range of physical activities and the opportunity to socialise and share a healthy meal together.  Without working with West Ham and Harlow Council, this project would not have been the success that it was and I sincerely hope we are able to work together again on this issue in the future

Kelly Tarling – Rainbow Services 

I’m a 30-year-old mum of two and we have been living in a women’s refuge since April. Living in a refuge has been difficult for us all, my children’s lives have been tipped upside down, but they have just taken it in their stride and don’t make too much fuss. I have watched my son’s confidence and happiness drop and I have been unable to help much. I was blessed and truly grateful to receive tickets for my son to take part in the Healthy Hammers summer camp this year. With thanks to the great team that were there doing activities with the children, I have slowly but surely watched my son rebuild his confidence in perfect timing before the start of school term again, my son has really come out of himself now and he is now much more happier than I have seen him in a long time. It’s nice to see him smile a real smile again

Participant’s Mother, Harlow Programme

Over the last three years working with West Ham United Foundation, we have provided our children, many of which are from the most vulnerable backgrounds, with an exceptional opportunity to enrich their lives through the Saturday and holiday leadership and social development programmes. The curriculum has been tailored to our needs and provided our children with a safe, secure, fun, and engaging programme that they will remember for a very long time

David Cregan, Virtual School Head Teacher 

I have been lucky to experience life and obtain a wider perspective. I have also realised that there is more to life guided by my personal mantra "Life is a journey and we choose our paths" Hence I opted to take the less trodden path which was applying for apprenticeships rather than following the popular route. I was happy to be chosen by LTSB among many to pursue accounting as well us be trained on leadership skills, interview skills and sports. Through this training, I was able to confidently go through several job interviews and recently, became successful at acquiring an opportunity with RSM as an Analyst in the Technology and Management Consulting department. I am currently enjoying my apprenticeship as I look to grow and progress my career

LTSB Participant

My coaching Journey with the West Ham United Foundation has been a life changing opportunity. I began as a participant in 2013, obtained volunteering experience, and after completing my FA L1 gained a role as a sessional coach. Through the Coach Education programme I have gone on to complete a range of qualifications including FA Level 1 Futsal, FA Level 2 Talent Identification, FA Mentoring Adults Course and most recently achieving an FA Level 2 Football. The courses have increased my interest and desire to become a coach and I have recently been employed as a full-time community coach and aim to inspire and mentor the next generation of young female players and coaches

Najma, Community Coach  

WHU Foundation should be congratulated for their continued commitment to coach development. They have consistently supported the development of the individual through their coach education pathway, which goes beyond the delivery of formal coaching qualifications, helping them to develop both coaching and life skills allowing the coach to gain valuable experience

Les Howie, Head of Grassroots Delivery, The FA

My journey with the Premier League Kicks Programme at the West Ham United Foundation has been enjoyable, challenging and a great learning opportunity. Moving to the United Kingdom at the age of 14 I have faced many barriers such as communication and confidence. With the help of my coaches and peers, I believe I have overcome these barriers allowing me to develop both as an individual and as a player. Joining the Kicks Programme 2 years ago has allowed me to be part of something and has continuously provided me with opportunities and pathways to establish my future aspirations.

Mario Lucas Simut, PL Kicks participant

The partnership we have with the WHUF is invaluable to our school. The Community Hub Officers deliver a wide range of extra-curricular activities for our students and also provide expert coaching in a variety of sports. They support students both inside and outside of the classroom, through working on literacy, numeracy and confidence building amongst others. Our students have great relationships with the hub officers, who provide mentoring and tailored interventions to support and develop them. We have also been able to access a range of programmes through the Foundation, such as Literacy Skills, Enterprise and Mental Health, all of which have benefitted our students greatly. Furthermore, the foundation have provided CPD opportunities for our staff to develop their knowledge and skills as well. We are really excited about what the future holds for our partnership and for all the great things we know are to come!

Ellen Fairest – Community School Hub, Ormiston Park Academy, Curriculum Leader (PE) & Vocational Coordinator