Thursday 15 March 2012
Players and dignitaries from the world of football attended a reception hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales this week to mark 15 years of the Prince's Trust Football Initiative.
The partnership with the Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association has helped more than 20,000 young people through football since 1997.
Three Premier League players discuss why the initiative is important to them.
"I have been doing The Prince's Trust Football Initiative for six years now, it's something I really enjoy. I was approached when I was 28 and I felt I was in a position where I could help.
"If I can inspire one of them, it's worth it"
- Kevin Davies
Sitting down with the kids and listening to their stories, I can relate to it. I grew up on a big council estate in Sheffield, I am one of six and I know how difficult it can be. I know how difficult it was for my parents and without that support from my family, I may not have had the career I have had so far.
I sit down and tell my story, and maybe someone can relate to it. For me, if I can inspire one of them, it's been worth it.
When I walk into the room and there are a few Bolton fans in the group and you see the look on their faces, you know straight away that they will be willing to listen to you and willing to work that bit harder."
"It's really important. I think it's brilliant helping young kids. I've been lucky in life, I've been blessed and I've always wanted to give something back.
Obviously being a footballer, I know how big football is in England and through football, we can raise that awareness and get the kids involved. It's brilliant.
"It’s important for footballers to get involved"
- Jermain Defoe
A few years ago I did a Q&A with a group of kids and they just fired questions at me. It was tougher than a press conference.
Things like that are important for the kids to have, a one-on-one like that with the people they see on TV. I come from east London, I've been through a lot as well, so they can ask you questions and you can just be honest. They respond to it.
Hopefully they can look at footballers and think if they can achieve something constructive in their life then we can do that as well.
That's why it's important for footballers to get involved. Any time I am called upon I will be ready to do stuff like that."
"The Prince's Trust Football Initiative breaks down barriers very easily. Everybody knows about football, everybody knows about sport and it's a way into the Trust that they possibly wouldn't have found any other way. It's gone from strength to strength.
"I see a difference in young people"
- Dion Dublin
I sense more confidence from the young people in the scheme, a sense of achievement that comes from people that have not had ideal backgrounds and upbringing.
The amount of people that have come through this is amazing, that's what the Trust is all about.
That's why I like getting involved in things like this because I see a difference in young people and the way their lives turn around and change."