These programme notes were written by Head of the Hatters Community Trust, Kevin Thoburn, for the Chesterfield edition of This Is Our Town.
I'm really pleased to report on the successful first games last week as a result of our Beds and Luton Community Youth funded project to establish a sustainable youth football club structure in High Town.
For many years, High Town lacked any organised youth football teams. Last season we began weekly training sessions in People's Park alongside new trainee coaches with the aim of setting up teams in this part of town to compete in local leagues from this season, as well as establish a volunteer community club structure to administer the teams.
In 2016-17 we were thrilled to report great success in Marsh Farm with the formation of a new club called Luton Nations Youth FC. They are now well established in local youth leagues and have now been joined by our new partner club, High Town Youth FC who last week made their Chiltern Youth League debuts.
Luton Borough Council and Luton Airport work in partnership through the Community Youth Fund to improve the quality of life of the people of Luton and particularly to provide positive activities for children and young people and reduce anti-social behaviour, strengthen community cohesion and improve health and promote health equality.
Setting up new community clubs are ambitious projects, targeting socially disadvantaged areas of the Town. To help parents and kids form football clubs takes a lot of time, effort and money.
It is a challenge, especially where a high number of parents in these areas are new to the country and English is not their first language. Talk to anyone currently involved in running a team about just one issue, safeguarding, and they will tell you how much necessary work is involved.
All that hard work and effort is well worth it when you see the youngsters turn out in their brand new kits and representing their part of Luton for the first time in many years.
If you want to start up a youth football club in Luton it may be worth giving our Community Office a call on 01582 737568 for a chat, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Community Adult learning
We are launching some of our new adult learning courses in the next couple of weeks and details of the first two courses are detailed below.
1. Free Community Coaching Programme
The Hatters Trust have again been awarded funding from Luton Adult Learning and the Skills Funding Agency to provide 18 free spaces to local adults to learn coaching skills and gain their FA Level 1 badge absolutely free through successful completion of our coaching learning programme.
Our champions will then aim to deliver sports activities to members of our local community and try make a real contribution at local level to the sports provision in Luton.
The Trust now employs around 40 full-time, part-time, apprentice and volunteer staff to deliver the ever increasing number of social, health and educational projects we are involved in each week.
Not all of our staff are simply focused on our youth development or talent identification centres which feeds our schoolboy academy – many are focused on their community contribution through school work with mentoring and educational projects, as well as the increasing social cohesion work being done in some of our more deprived estates.
The type of 'coaches' we need for this kind of work don't need to budding Guardiolas or a Nathan Jones (although it would help!) – but local people who really care about Luton and the community they live and work in, and who recognise the power of football to be at the heart of all Luton's communities.
Our first induction evening is Thursday 12th October – 6.00 pm at the stadium – and if you would like more information simply either email Daniel at email@example.com, or give us a ring at the Community Office on 01582 737568.
2. Go Lead Go Stress Free adult courses available
Did you know that every year one in four of us will experience a mental health problem? It may feel like the last thing you want to talk about but the fact is that feeling stressed out is pretty common – it's bottling it up that causes the problem!
Well, the Hatters Trust have teamed up with Luton Adult Learning again to come up with courses that we hope will help people better self-manage their mental health symptoms.
What are the symptoms? Pretty common you'll find – poor sleeping patterns, mood swings, difficulty in finding and keeping work and generally finding it stressful just dealing with everyday life, and perhaps even becoming more isolated are all sure signs of mental health problems.
Our Go Lead Go Stress Free courses are six-week sports courses specifically designed to support adults in how to develop and use leadership skills in day to day situations.
Football, Learning and Sports courses involving playing and relaxing through a combination of five-a-sides and classroom based subjects such as communication, what is a leader, working with others as well as putting it all into practise through improvising techniques.
Put simply, imagine what Nathan Jones has to go through during a game and imagine how he copes with all of that stress and how he manages to deal with everything that happens unexpectedly during the game, and how he puts into practice his strategies to deal with the unexpected events in this afternoon's game – coping with life and stress is very similar.
If this is sounding familiar, then our courses could be for you. Give us a call at the community offices on 01582 737568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about these courses which begin from next month.