Celebrating Brent’s football heritage

The Jason Roberts Foundation is one of the key sports providers in LB Brent.  Based at the Bridgestone Pavilion in Stonebridge Park, a vibrant and diverse part of the borough but one that continues to experience high levels of deprivation.  JRF engages with a wide range of people within the local community, of all ages and abilities, to deliver a host of different sporting activities, helping to improve their physical, mental and social well-being.

JRF also knows that Brent has a great footballing heritage with many top flight players of recent decades being born and bred in the borough.  The list is a real Hall of Fame:

  • Paul Merson
  • Jerome Thomas
  • Richard Langley
  • Eartha Pond
  • Raheem Sterling
  • Jamal Campbell-Ryce
  • Gary Waddock
  • Dave Regis
  • Jason Roberts
  • Rachel Yankey
  • Edwin & Brian Stein
  • Dave Beasant
  • Ricky Hill
  • Cyrille Regis
  • Luther Blissett

All have graced the game at the highest levels of the men’s and women’s game, many in the Premier League and at international level.

To celebrate the contribution of these people, JRF secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to run Inspire to Achieve.  This project aimed to engage with many of these footballers, tapping into their skills and knowledge to inspire local young people to achieve their ambitions.  Players have made visits to their own local primary schools and held sessions with young people, to talk about their experience and how growing up in Brent helped shape their lives.

JRF has also held a series of community events with several of the players to explore their careers further with them and giving local people the chance to talk with them about their local roots and the tremendous heritage of football in Brent.

A fantastic outcome of the project has been an exhibition on the external perimeter wall of Wembley Stadium, the home of football, celebrating these Brent footballers, so that all visitors to the iconic venue can share in the heritage of the borough. Fifteen large portraits are displayed on one of the upper walkways, depicting these local inspirational figures, for all to see.  Ideally, the exhibition can be retained for the long term, with interpretation highlighting the contribution that these players have made to the history, culture and heritage of Brent.