loveLife is thrilled to announce the opening of The Kimberley Football for Hope loveLife Y-Centre, in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape. Launched today, amidst the sounds of vuvuzelas and celebration, the centre forms part of the “20 Centres for 2010” Campaign, the official social campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In close collaboration with Football for Hope and a number of stakeholders such as the community, Yingli Green Energy, streetfootballworld and local construction companies, loveLife helped build this centre in Kimberley and will be in charge of operating it.
The objective of FIFA’s “20 Centres for 2010” Campaign was to build 20 Football for Hope Centres across Africa to provide infrastructure to local organisations which use football as a tool for social development and leave a lasting legacy after the 2010 World Cup. Each centre consists of a building with rooms to provide informal education, public health services, office space, common space for community gatherings and a small-size artificial turf pitch.
Not only do Football for Hope Centres afford an excellent opportunity for youth to play soccer, they also offer education and public health services, so improving the life prospects and overall health of communities. They are created as facilities from which local best-practice organisations, such as loveLife, can reach out to the local young people and their communities.
Speaking about the launch today, Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, says: “I am very glad to have witnessed the opening of the Football for Hope Centre in Kimberley. We have always believed that hosting the first FIFA World Cup in Africa was about far more than organising a football tournament and made a firm commitment to leave a tangible social legacy for the African continent and its people.
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“Building the centres has been an exciting journey for all of us who have been involved, and we are very happy with the achievements. We have seen some fantastic results thanks to the great work organisations such as loveLife are dedicating to this legacy. It is about empowering young people not only by playing football, but also by helping them to tackle the important choices in life.”
The Kimberley Football for Hope loveLife Y-Centre is one of the 20 Football for Hope Centres built throughout Africa. The centre is also one of loveLife’s 22 Y-Centres (youth centres) across South Africa. Based on the Pescodia Primary School Grounds in Kimberley, it is the second centre that Football for Hope and loveLife have partnered on – the other being in QwaQwa in the Free State.
loveLife CEO Grace Matlhape says a Y-Centre is a very successful model of loveLife in facilitating access to healthy living and skills development for young people, and ideally every community should have one. “The collaboration with FIFA on the Football for Hope Centres has helped enable this access and introduce much needed and ever popular state of the art soccer facilities for young people. We are grateful to FIFA, streetfootballworld and all other partners involved in this initiative for investing in the future of young people in Kimberley,” she adds.
The centre will be injected with loveLife’s empowering mix of healthy sexuality, positive lifestyle and skills development programmes. These life-changing programmes are geared towards developing young people’s sense of self-worth, identity, purpose and belonging so they can grow as young leaders, realise their potential and better protect themselves from teenage pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
In harnessing the benefits of football to reach far beyond the football field, a life skills component will be incorporated into soccer coaching. Young people will learn the value of focus, teamwork, hard work and commitment in reaching for excellence and achieving your goals.
The Kimberley Football for Hope loveLife Y-Centre will put extra effort into tackling social challenges that are particularly rife in the area, including substance abuse, teen pregnancy and gangsterism.
Leslie Abrams, loveLife’s Northern Cape Senior Manager, says that the plan is to also work with young parolees who’ve been in detention centres. “Many of them are juvenile gangsters with low levels of education so they struggle to get jobs,” he explains. “We want to find ways to accommodate them so they are not lost to the system. Left unattended, their lives could spiral out of control and they could resort to a life of gangsterism, violence and crime.”
As part of tackling substance abuse, loveLife’s play4LIFE campaign to reduce underage drinking among youth will be implemented at the centre. Basketball, netball and volleyball are also on offer so young people can engage in positive, rather than negative activity, like drinking. Through loveLife’s Cyber Ys Programme, they will learn basic computer skills, so increasing their chances of employment.
“I hope the centre encourages young people to step outside the psychological and physical boundaries they have set for themselves and believe that they can realise their dreams, whatever they may be,” says Abrams. “We are committed to building complete young leaders in every possible way.”
Thousands of youngsters will benefit from The Kimberley Football for Hope loveLife Y-Centre, so expressing the power of soccer in developing lives, futures and communities.