The St. Matthew’s Project started life in the summer of 2004 and has developed, literally, from a kick-about in the local park for young people from one estate, St. Matthew’s, in Brixton. The origins of the project are linked to an even smaller ‘community’ – Springett House – a large L-shaped block on the southern edge of the estate, backing onto Brixton Water Lane. The young people from Springett House were initially extremely reluctant to interact with their peers from the rest of the estate but barriers were broken down by organizing a series of friendly football matches and the creation of ‘Springett F.C’, the forbear of St. Matthew’s F.C. The young people from Springett soon came to see themselves as part of the wider estate community and that they had many shared interests and experiences with other young people from around the estate. Using the same approach, the young people from St. Matthew’s came to interact with their peers from the Tulse Hill Estate and surrounding streets, overcoming long-standing hostilities and coming together under the SMP banner.
The Project now regularly engages with over 100 young people every week, has secured grant funding since 2004 from a variety of agencies, developed over 50 F.A qualified coaches, developed girls football in Lambeth and consistently provided free, fun football activities to young people living within one of the most deprived 10% SOAs in the country. In addition to football specific activities we’ve arranged trips, encouraged youth volunteering, delivered healthy lifestyle workshops and provided one-to-one support to our young people where necessary.
We are currently working closely with Lambeth council and other local agencies towards the establishment of a recognised hub in Brockwell Park, continuing to attract young people from across the SW2 / SW9 area and providing them with opportunities for personal development, in order to help them fulfil their potential.