A FOOTBALL charity founder who wants to help young people off the streets of the Capital and on to the pitch has issued an appeal for help this festive season.
Soccer4Charity director Dean Philp spoke out to stress “every penny counts” as he looks to push ahead with his charity’s mission to support disadvantaged young people.
Established in 2014, the charity has already brought in more than £40,000 for good causes such as Maggie’s, Cardiomyopathy UK, The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Scottish Huntington’s Association.
Now the 37-year-old’s focus is for money raised to go back into football, not only to help cash-strapped clubs but to enable up-and-coming players to fulfil their potential.
He said: “When I was young there were no computers so every opportunity I had I’d be out kicking a ball.
“There’s a lot more for kids to do these days and it seems some kids seem to have a lot more money. Times have changed but there’s still some kids who don’t have that luxury. I got brought up in a council estate and there were times where my family couldn’t afford to pay fees for me so I know exactly how it feels.
“Parents are often asked to pay for their own training [and] there are lots of added costs on top of your fees.
“We don’t want any kid to go without [and] we need as many players coming through as possible.”
Dean, who lives in Newhaven, was inspired to act around ten years ago after his dad Norrie, also a keen footballer, passed away from leukaemia.
Before he died, Norrie was looked after by staff at Maggie’s and it was this which sparked the idea of a charity football match for family and friends to thank the team.
Soccer4Charity took off from there and now Dean organises matches in which everyone who competes against the charity’s side has to raise a certain amount of cash to play.
A recent game with officers from Police Scotland brought in £3000 and Dean said players and management often went well beyond the amount they are required to raise.
Now he is hoping to persuade other organisations to take part and is also calling on any businesses who might like to become sponsors to get in touch. New businesses would join existing sponsors Red Box Coffee and The Street Bar.
Dean said: “I was very fortunate to represent Scotland and Hearts at under 18s level as well as brief spells at Cowdenbeath and Berwick Rangers. Not a lot of people get that opportunity.
“It gets them off the streets and it gives them something active to focus on.
“We are always looking for companies to play us. It’s good for team bonding within work as well and it’s for a good cause. If they can help one child get to football that’s great.
“Just look at what we are doing and come along to games because every penny helps to keep kids off the street and get them into football. A lot of people don’t understand that even a couple of pounds can help change someone’s life.”
Soccer4Charity’s next match will be against State Street bank on February 26. The match will be held at the Spartans’ Ainslie Park stadium.
To find out more, search Soccer4CharityFC on Facebook.