Graduates of Luton’s Football for Peace (FfP) programme met Prince William at a recent event in the Copper Box, London.
Twelve youngsters from Luton worked with other ambassadors from across the country to organise junior tournaments and coaching sessions for young children. They were then addressed by Prince William.
Venus Ashu, one of the Luton ambassadors, had the opportunity to explain what completing the programme had meant to her.
She explained that for her the beauty of the beautiful game lay in bringing people from different backgrounds together.
At that point nothing else mattered but putting heart and soul in to getting the ball in the back of the net.
The Duke of Cambridge spoke about what football meant to him and talked about his appreciation of how football can play a role in creating peaceful and understanding relationships.
The Football for Peace programme was organised as a partnership between Luton Town Football Club and Luton Borough Council and brought together young people from different cultures, faiths and backgrounds.
Cllr Aslam Khan, from Luton Council, said: “Through their initial experience earlier this year these enthusiastic ambassadors have learnt a great deal. I’m sure meeting famous footballers and the Duke of Cambridge will re-enforce their energy and enthusiasm to inspire others from all sections of our community for many years to come.”
The Luton ambassadors were Ali Gaygusuz, Daniel Bobinski, Elliot Busari, Eren Guner, Ilhan Gurbuz, Jasmine Whitmore, Kerry Mulvihill-Reed, Tanaka Furawo, Venus Ashu, Vincent Mwenda, Drew Stent and Ryan Slack.
Starting back in February, 20 of Luton’s young people took part in an extensive programme of workshops, coaching and events management to take them to their current position. Some have now been employed by LTFC whilst others are moving on to similar careers.
Community Operations Manager at the Luton Town Football Community Trust, Daniel Douglas, said: “We thought our stadium event would be the highlight of the project and while it was a great day, the trip to the Copperbox took the project to a different level.
“HRH was incredibly down to earth and really interested in listening to our ambassadors from the town, and when the players turned up the kids just flipped – Mezut Ozil was especially a big hit with the Turkish boys from Farley Hill, as were Bacary Sagna, Louis Saha, Carlton Cole, Mathieu Flamini and Mamadou Sakho.”