Senrab F.C. the Tower Hamlets’ football club famed for producing an impressive collection of players, including John Terry, Sol Campbell, Ledley King and Jermain Defoe, has been saved from closure by Crossrail.
The £4,000 was donated to the club by BAM Nuttal / Kier (BNK), who is carrying out work for the nearby Whitechapel station, as part of the Crossrail Community Investment Programme.
ELL reporter, Laurie Whitwell was the first to highlight the club’s problems back in 2009 when Tower Hamlets Council cut their funding from £2,500 to £800 and the price to hire the club’s training ground dramatically increased.
Moving subsequently to the Daily Mail, Whitwell was able to bring their problems to a wider audience, and his campaigning articles lead to ‘significant, but undisclosed donation’ from John Terry in April 2011, and another from Jermaine Defoe, to help with the soaring costs at their old club.
The club has been an important part of the Tower Hamlets community since it was opened in 1961 and today it has 23 teams, with players ranging from ages five to seventeen. This latest donation has been used to buy new strips, footballs and other equipment to ensure the future of Senrab F.C. as part of a wider package of community investment by BNK.
Senrab F.C. Club Secretary, Tony Carroll, said: “This donation provides vital life blood to the club and enables us to buy urgently needed new kit for our players. These have been tough times for Senrab, and we couldn’t survive without the backing of local businesses and projects like Crossrail.”
Laurie Whitwell still keeps an eye on the East End club. He said today: “Senrab has produced a remarkable number of professional players throughout the years and has also given many children in east London a place to spend their time in a productive way. Council cuts have been keenly felt by the club – with a closure on the cards – so it is pleasing to hear a local organisation stepping in to help. I’m sure the money will go where it’s needed. Hopefully more youth programmes in the area can now get the support they deserve.”
BNK’s Community Relations Manager Jade Onashoga said: “We want to put something useful and sustainable back into the community. Senrab F.C. plays a hugely important role by giving local youngsters in Tower Hamlets a positive outlet for their skills and ambitions, and we are proud to support the club.”
Crossrail Project Manager for Whitechapel, John McGrath said: “Crossrail will be working at Whitechapel for the next five years, and is committed to playing a responsible part in the life of the community. Our Community Investment Programme will leave a legacy far beyond the life of the construction works, and help set the standard for future projects.”
When the new Crossrail is opened in 2018 it will connect Whitechapel Station to Canary Wharf in the east through to Paddington in the west. As well as offering greater links around central London there will also be direct trains from Whitechapel to Heathrow Airport.
By Oliver Shaw