American Football is starting to get a strong foothold in Brent. The local Wembley Stallions are a fixture in the BAFA National League and the Jacksonville Jaguars are back at Wembley Stadium this October.
The Jags are ambitious to build on their association with the Stadium and are investing in local community programmes, through their recently re-launched Union Jax Foundation, to help raise the profile of American football across Brent and get as many people interested in the sport as possible.
WNST is funding the Foundation to run a “Jags Tag” flag football programme in local primary schools and summer holiday camps for young people. This is a non-contact version of the sport, ideal for young people and as an introduction to the game. American football is new to most schools, so this is a great opportunity to get acquainted.
The project was launched at an event held at the Bridgestone Pavilion in Stonebridge Park on 22nd June, with about eighty young people being given a taster session of the different skills required to play American football. For most it will be a sport they have never played before. But the enthusiasm shown by all the participants was amazing, especially in the very warm weather.
Andy Scott, the UK Grassroots Coordinator for the Foundation told us “This programme looks to build on the community work we have undertaken in previous years and we are looking to make a real impact in Brent. The upcoming Jaguars fixture at Wembley Stadium will be a great catalyst for increasing our visibility in the local area and getting more people interested in and playing American football.”
We also spoke to two of the teachers who brought students to the event:
Siobhan Ali, Deputy Head at Preston Park Primary School
Maria Panayi, Inclusion Officer at Park Lane Primary School
Stewart Goshawk, CEO of WNST said “This is a great partnership for the Trust. With the Jags playing professionally at Wembley Stadium and the Foundation working out in the local community, there is a clear connection between our respective interests. We saw today, the fun that the young people were having giving American Football a try and learning new skills. The more people of all ages and abilities we can get being physically active the better.
“We’ve seen a clear increase in the levels of interest around American football and hopefully this programme will help cement this in.”