Praise for new community centre in Queen’s Park
Teens to get extra science and maths lessons at new 'hub'
15 September, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Celebrations outside the Queen’s Park Gardens Community Hub this week
It started as a few volunteers providing free weekly football sessions in Queen’s Park – but just a year and a half later the group has opened a new community centre.
Thanks to the spirit and dedication of its young volunteers, the Queen’s Park Gardens (QPG) Community Hub has opened in an old school building in Kilburn Lane.
It provides maths and science lessons for youngsters, homework help, and English lessons for adults who are trying to learn – all for free.
The QPG Football Academy was founded by Ryan Dalton and Philip Andokou, both Queen’s Park Community Councillors for the area.
There were 120 children on their books within a months and the operation soon expanded to provide a host of other sports.
The next mission was a base, and with the help of Wilberforce Primary School, they have now achieved that dream.
A later addition to the team, David Fakhr, 18, joined up as a coach and has worked his way up to head football coach and co-director of QPG Sports.
Both Queens’ Park locals, Ryan and David are driven by a passion for improving the area in which they grew up and providing free activities, which they felt were lacking.
“We really wanted to focus on the education element,” said Ryan, 27.
“When we were doing the sports stuff we were noticing that some of the kids were struggling to read the forms. It’s also for the parents, too, so in the holidays they know their kids are going somewhere safe.”
Ryan, who is studying for a masters degree in marketing, is using his skills to get help and sponsorship from construction firm Wilmott Dixon and London Sports Trust, among others.
“This helps keep kids off the streets, dealing drugs and things like that. I’ve had friends who have gone down the wrong path and I could easily have done too,” said David, who has already been a volunteer for several years.
They are working closely with nearby schools and are training young people as sports coaches to boost their chances of employment further down the line – and they don’t want to stop yet.
“I’d like us to have another building and eventually work all over London, with this as the blueprint,” David added.