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West Ham United academy gets behind NHS appeal

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 May 2020

West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)

West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)

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Players from West Ham United’s Academy of Football are keeping track of their fitness programmes, while at the same time raising money in aid of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, to support their inspiring local NHS heroes in East London and Essex.

West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)

With Academy training facilities at Chadwell Heath closed under government guidance, the club’s Academy coaches have adjusted their training programme to ensure that the youngsters remain engaged and stimulated throughout lockdown.

Each week, West Ham United Academy players have been set a different challenge by their team coaches.

These challenges range from physical tasks such as a timed 5km run for older Academy players, to skills based keepy-up challenges aimed at the younger players.

As an added incentive, each player has also been encouraged to collect any sponsorship money they can from friends or family, which will then be added to a combined fundraising page, set up to support the brave staff at King George and Queen’s hospitals, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)West Ham academy youngsters showing their support for the NHS (Pic: West Ham United)

Last week, the training plan was focused around these inspiring NHS and key workers, raising awareness and showing support and appreciation for all they do.

In one week alone, players completed technical skills challenges involving ‘rainbow flicks’, logged good deeds that they have carried out, designed posters, wrote poetry, and completed the Academy online Yoga session in a brightly coloured T-shirt representing one of the colours of the rainbow.

The Academy has also encouraged individual fundraising efforts outside of training, such as that of U15 player Mason Terry, who ran 70 km in seven days and raised £2,500 for his local hospital, Southend Hospital Charity.

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The Hammers are putting their efforts into a dedicated set of fundraising initiatives agreed in conjunction with NHS experts, and based on their views on how the Club can best support them in dealing with COVID-19.

The money raised by the completion of these challenges will go directly to supporting the needs of NHS staff at the local hospitals, distributing supplies donated by local businesses and improving staff and patient wellbeing.

Jeremy Sauer, Assistant Academy manager, said: “Although we are far from a regular programme at the Academy for obvious reasons, all players have been continuing to do some excellent work on their own development from home during the lockdown.

“Our staff have provided them with some excellent resources and challenges to help them develop all areas of their game and lifestyle - the boys have inspired us all and really taken ownership of their own learning.

“As we progressed with the home-based programme, it became very obvious that many of the boys were close to or had key workers within their families and communities.

“The Academy has a duty not just to develop footballing skills, but also to educate and inform. So, we decided that we would dedicate one of our home-based programme weeks to key workers.”

Sauer added: “The response has been incredible and humbling. We have seen money raised for our local NHS Trust via sponsored runs and keepy-up challenges. We’ve had first team players and young pros on calls with our teams sharing their support and appreciation.”

Tony Chambers, Chief Executive, BHRUT, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that West Ham has chosen to support our Trust and I think it’s fantastic they’re getting their academy players involved too.

“What a great way to keep young people engaged and active during this challenging time, and a brilliant way to raise money to support our charity. Looking after our staff during this pandemic, and beyond, is just as important as looking after our patients. “That’s why we’re running a fundraising appeal to support their health and wellbeing, so they can continue to provide the best care possible for our patients.”

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/COVID19-appeal-Queens-and-King-George to donate.


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