FOOTBALL training with a side order of maths, English and science, if desired, are now going hand-in-hand at a club first established to bring hope to children in a deprived area of the city.
Alpha United Juniors Football Club, founded by Mohammed Waheed and friend Humair Shahid, has had its eyes on improving the lives of youngsters in their district since the football club was set up three-and-a-half years ago.
That dedication earned the club the FA Community Award last August, presented at Wembley, for its positive affect in the community around BD7.
Since then, Mr Waheed and Shahid, plus numerous volunteers have been guiding the club up to include a girls’ section which has reached double figures.
A disability football group is also on the cards.
But the main move has been the introduction of Saturday classes to help children increase their chances of success in their GCSEs.
“The educational project is something we piloted and are now running as we really want to make a change for the better in the community,” said Mr Waheed.
“It is a tuition programme for Year 11 students who will be sitting there exams in the summer.
“The exam marks in the local area have seen a sharp decline and by providing this service to those that are already engaged with the group is a great way to make a lasting long term effect.
“It was Nasreem Karim, the aunt of one of the club members, and part of part of Platinum Partnerships Solicitors, and Zafar Afsar of Spencer Youth Project, who helped get the project on its feet. She also recognised a need to engage in youngsters to help encourage their education.
“Nasreem helped access some funding and we have also received funding from Greenmoor Big Local, via Cnet, to help with costs.
“We want to keep the cost to parents as low as possible so we charge them only £5 every four weeks.
“This means their child is getting an hour’s tuition in the subjects for around 63p.
“The funding we raise helps to pay for the qualified GCSE teachers who come from schools in Leeds and Bradford.
“We pay them £30 an hour but they do far more.
“We have approximately 10 children from Year 11 and already there has been results noticed through their homework marks.
“It’s obvious the pilot has been a success so we want it to carry on and grow. Maybe try to get more funding so we can get more children and more tutoring hours.”
Alpha United has also recently partnered with Bradford-based disability club PHAB (Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied) and will be offering free football sessions geared towards disabled and able-bodied children.
Mr Waheed added: “This is part of our community initiative to be all inclusive. There isn’t much in the way of disability football, so we have tried to provide a service for this group.
“It is a great project that we have started and were invited to Nell Bank by Bradford PHAB recently to deliver a session on their away trip for the weekend.”
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