On Friday 11th December, disadvantaged young people from across London got the opportunity to play against England legends in the 11 Foundation Charity Cup – a five aside football tournament organised Carly and Joe Cole - which featured some of England’s best ever footballers and raised over £30,000 for OnSide, a pioneering youth charity.
Joe Cole called upon his former England team-mates, Wayne Bridge, Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch, David James, Paul Konchesky, Joleon Lescott and Steve Sidwell who all reunited for the tournament in support of the 11 Foundation and its work on behalf of OnSide.
OnSide is nationwide network of 21st century purpose-built youth facilities that exist to ensure that every young person, regardless of their circumstance or background, has a safe space to go to try new activities, pursue their passions and achieve their full potential.
Representatives of two London Youth Zones - the Future Youth Zone in Barking and Dagenham - and the Legacy Youth Zone in Croydon - took part in the tournament which was supported by businesses and organisations who donated to support the tournament. Everyone played against Joe’s ‘England Vets’ team in the knock-out rounds of the tournament, which was heavily contested and made for a great evening of football and entertainment. The England Vets stepped aside at the quarter final stages of the competition, and Hackney FC went on to be crowned Champions after a hard fought battle against BT Sport FC in the final.
The 11 Foundation, set up by Carly and Joe Cole, is based on the belief that connectivity is at the heart of all our beings. The 11 Foundation creates unique collaborations, campaigns and events to provide support and funding to established charities and organisations. Its work is focused on health related initiatives, environmental projects and the provision of opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
The money raised will support Future Youth Zone in Barking and Dagenham, which is an area where one in three young people live in low income households and young people are three times more likely than their peers in other parts of the country to suffer from mental health problems. The 11 Foundation will also enable young people from across the network of youth zones to access education and empowerment opportunities designed to benefit esteem and other mental health issues.
11 Foundation founder Joe Cole said: “In these challenging times disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in our communities need our help more than ever. So many young people are facing new challenges as a result of Covid. Our support will help OnSide to keep their doors open to young people who quite simply need a safe place to go and have the opportunity to do something positive.”
Fellow 11 Foundation founder Carly Cole added: “Joe and I set up the 11 Foundation instead of a charity as there are already so many charities out there doing great work, but many need additional support. The 11 Foundation is about empowerment and education and our collaboration with OnSide will not only grant funding but also provide young people with the opportunity to expe-rience programmes of work designed to boost confidence, resilience and improve health and well-being.”
Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive, Onside, said: “Young people face huge new challenges both now and in the coming years as a result of Covid. We are delighted the 11 Foundation have chosen to support OnSide Youth Zones - helping us to do more for young people across the Youth Zone Network nationally at this important time and giving them much-needed hope and belief in themselves and their future.”