Six of the West Midlands community clubs, including Coventry City and Sky Blues in the Community, were at West Bromwich Albion’s The Hawthorns to unveil the ‘Strike a Change’ mentoring programme, launched in the name of Sky Blues legend Cyrille Regis.
Former England striker Les Ferdinand was the star guest, along with a number of young people from community programmes of the six clubs to take part in the launch.
The charity, led by members of Cyrille’s family after his passing in 2018, will begin a two-year programme to support 14 and 15-year-old students with a passion for football who are disengaged in school or their local community.
The Albion Foundation hosted at The Hawthorns, with Walsall FC Community, BCFC Community, Wolves Foundation, Aston Villa Foundation, along with Sky Blues in the Community, all attending the launch of this fantastic initiative.
The ‘Strike a Change’ mentoring scheme provides a unique opportunity to work with young people across geographical boundaries and club rivalries, exploring major issues such as Equality, Mental Health and Social Responsibility.
Cyrille’s brother, David, is proud to see a programme of “real meaning” launched in the Regis name.
“My brother was passionate about helping young people. He never turned down an opportunity to engage with the local community. The part of his agency work he enjoyed most was mentoring young players.
“It’s incredibly important in today’s world. Young people need mentors they can relate to. They need someone who can give sound advice and help achieve their potential. And it’s not only for sport - it’s crucial in any walk of life. Not every young person has a parent or family member to guide them through times of hardship.
“I’d like to express huge gratitude to all six clubs for coming together in Cyrille’s name for a programme of real meaning. It’s humbling. We’re truly honoured. Hopefully the themes we see in the scheme will be demonstrated across the wider community.”
Once media duties were completed, events moved into the Richardson Suite where Julia Regis, Cyrille's wife, welcomed everyone and gave an overview of the CRLT and the Strike A Change programme.
There were inspirational talks, plenty of stories told and a Q&A session giving VIPs, including 1987 FA Cup winning hero Dave Bennett, the chance to educate youngsters on the right paths and choices to make in life.
The community trusts and foundations from all six clubs were then mixed together and split up into groups for a series of workshops, where leading figures from the world of football shared their knowledge and wisdom with more than 200 young people.
Dave Busst, Head of Sky Blues in the Community, said:
“We are really happy with how the launch went and thrilled to be a part of such a fantastic initiative."
For more about the Legacy Trust, visit Twitter.com/CyrilleRegis