Opinion: Using football to support community
PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 November 2019
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One year ago, we celebrated the launch of the Players' Project, which we believe is the most ambitious and integrated community programme ever created by a Premier League Club.
We embarked on this Project originally as we saw an opportunity to make a real difference to the local communities around the stadium, across the Olympic boroughs, and into Essex. This is something that has underpinned everything we have tried to do since moving to London Stadium. We saw an opportunity to fulfil the legacy we committed to in 2013, to use the power of football and our status as a Premier League club, to change lives for the better.
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What sets this initiative apart is the fact that all of our players, along with the staff supporting them, have so passionately bought into the 11 strands of the Players' Project, tackling issues such as poverty and inequality, the environment and health, among others. The breadth of work by our players is something to be celebrated and I wholeheartedly thank them. Our men's, women's and Academy squads have given over 300 hours of community time, directly working with over 2,000 people from our local communities over this last year alone.
Research from EY has found that the Club contributes a total of £300m to the local economy and supports over 3,300 local jobs demonstrating the positive impact that West Ham has had on the community.
Last year we explained that the Club had invested almost £13m directly across education, health and social mobility projects since 2013, in the London Borough of Newham and surrounding Olympic boroughs and Essex. We committed then to investing a further £10m over three years and I'm pleased to say that just one year into the Players Project, £5m of this £10m committed has already been invested in local projects, taking our total since 2013 to £18m at present.
As we are ahead of schedule on our investment, we are increasing our commitment over the next two seasons and invest a further £10m, an increase of £5m on our pledge, giving us a huge forecasted investment of £28m by the end of 2021.