Former Real Madrid star player, Emilio Butragueño, this week officially launched the UK’s first Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports School at The Cedars School in Croydon.
Speaking at the launch, the award-winning goal scorer explained how football is a wonderful tool that helps many children develop and grow, not only as sportsmen and women, but also as people.
Introduced by Matthew Sherwood, CEO of the PACT educational trust, which runs The Cedars, he thanked both the school and the council for their help in providing such fantastic facilities and said how great it was the school so clearly shares the values of the Real Madrid Foundation.
The sports school is now one of 75 around the world supported by the Spanish club with the aim of helping children between the ages of 8 and 11 who may be at risk of exclusion. It offers young people activities to develop their skills, both in sports and in terms of relationships and social integration.
The project will be focusing mainly on helping children from the south of the borough, and is a partnership between Real Madrid, The Cedars School, Football for Unity, the council, and the Kinetic Foundation.
Anyone wanting to book onto the free Saturday sessions which run from 9am to 11am can register here.
The Cedars was established three years ago in a listed building on Coombe Lane, adjacent to public land off Lloyd Park. The council has since worked closely with the school to enable them to turn part of this land into high quality sports pitches in order to enable the Real Madrid project to be launched.
“Our young people are the leaders of tomorrow and it’s our job to keep them safe, healthy and happy and help them be the best they can be. This is a brilliant opportunity for some of the children in Croydon’s more deprived wards to learn skills that will help them throughout their lives.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Football for Unity works internationally to use the sport to forge links between young people from different backgrounds and help aspiring players flourish, whatever their background.
The Kinetic Foundation is a Croydon-based sports charity that delivers a wide range of educational services and opportunities for young people to help them learn new skills and improve their employment prospects.