East Ham MP Stephen Timms will miss West Ham

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- Credit: Archant

I hosted a reception in Parliament for West Ham United Foundation the other week.

The 150 guests included club vice-chairwoman, Karren Brady; executive chairman of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore; and John Whittingdale MP, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

Visitors might well have been puzzled that the MP for East Ham was host! But West Ham has played at the Boleyn, in East Ham, since 1904 (before that they played briefly at a ground in Browning Road). Next year, the club will move to their new stadium.

After 112 years, they will finally be back in West Ham. My days as their local MP are numbered!

Karren Brady said the club would remain committed to supporting the neighbourhood around the Boleyn, as well as to their new location.

The foundation, under chief executive Joe Lyons, is the club’s community arm, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. They support community-based sport; use soccer to encourage young people in education; and promote community health and well being. They invest heavily in Newham, but are active across East London and Essex.

Premier League Clubs all now have community foundations. Richard Scudamore, in his speech, said West Ham’s was among the best.

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The speakers included local people helped by the foundation. Iqra, from East Ham, was described by Joe as one of the most inspiring women he knows. After a Leadership Through Sport and Business course at West Ham, she is now employed as an assistant accountant.

West Ham is right to be proud of the Foundation, and of its achievements over 25 years.

Joe Lyons took the opportunity in Parliament not just to highlight past success, but to set out ambitious future plans.

I wish the Foundation every success as it aims to work with a further one million people over the next decade. More from Stephen

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