Tower Hamlets under 12s soccer team battle to raise cash for Jersey trip

Mums are desperate to raise cash to send their ‘football mad’ kids to Jersey to represent London’s East End against teams from all over Britain.

But they only have three weeks to the deadline to find the last �2,000 to send the squad of 13 youngsters in Tower Hamlets District under-12s team.

They’ve already managed to raise �6,000 towards the week-long cultural trip from April 7—which could be jeopardised if they don’t find the rest.

“We’ve been told all Tower Hamlets funding is frozen,” said 37-year-old Ann Shields whose 11-year-old son Louis plays in goal.

“We’ve had grants in the past from Canary Wharf Group and the Jack Petchey Foundation, but can’t keep going back to them—there are only so many times you can ask the same people for money.

“This is an Olympics ‘host’ borough and the authorities constantly try to encourage youngsters to do more sport—our kids are ‘soccer mad’ and this keeps them off the streets.”

The parents are out with their collection buckets at the Co-Op in Poplar’s Chrisp Street Market on the last Saturday of the month—just a week before the deadline. They have been fundraising with a Christmas party, an auction, sponsored penalty shoot out and paying �5 a week voluntary donations themselves.

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“But we’re struggling in this recession and finding it a strain,” Ann added. “Even �5 is a bit of a push for some parents.”

The club draws the best players from Tower Hamlets schools as a stepping stone to a professional academy.

Two PE teachers from Poplar’s Langdon Park and Whitechapel’s Swanley Secondary schools run the 18-strong squad, out of which 13 hope to go to Jersey.

Swanley’s Andrew Grant, 37, told the Advertiser: “There’s no Government funding any more, so we’re having to find the cash ourselves.

“But the economic climate has affected people’s generosity. We’ve only got three weeks left to save the trip.”

The club has launched an 11th hour appeal and is urging pledges to be emailed to