American football sessions launched in Hackney

American Football class. Evgeniya Dolina

Two local entrepreneurs have come up with a new way to support government moves to tackle childhood obesity: an American football after-school class.

Rani Lewinson and Faz Hossenally launched the Friday night sessions at Skinners’ Academy, Woodberry Grove, Hackney earlier this month.

Having been born and raised in North London, the two wanted to help Hackney and Islington boroughs to develop sport facilities. According to Hackney’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Commission, nearly a third of 10-11 years old are obese or overweight. The entrepreneurs did their own research and ascertained that deprived boroughs like Hackney have some of the highest rates of obesity in the country.

They decided to set up classes in American football because, unlike soccer, they felt it was “certainly something new and unique“.

They set up their company FloRéal Sports last September, dedicated to coaching technique, with the aim of giving children from different backgrounds access to affordable physical education.

The UK government wants to significantly reduce England’s rate of childhood obesity within the next ten years. Lewinson and Hossenally try to help the children with healthy eating as well as increasing their activity. Club members will get access to special programmes created by the Dallas Cowboys NFL team nutritionist.

Lewinson, 22, and Hossenally, 30, do not rely on any external funding. All the equipment needed for American football they bought with their own money.

Lewinson is doing a degree in Education Leadership and Management and Hossenally is studying Sports Management at Birbeck University. Hossenally remarked they “decided to bring this passion into business”.

Lewinson said: “We want to make it as cheap as possible for the children in the deprived areas of London. We’re not really chasing the money, we’re just trying to make sure we’re getting them to enjoy the sports.”

“Friday night lights”, as they call their sessions, welcome not only Skinners’ school pupils, but also students from other schools in the neighborhood as well. The classes are held at Skinners Academy, Woodberry Grove London N4 1SY. Children aged 8-11 are welcomed at 6pm-7pm, teenagers aged 12-15 attend at 7pm-8pm.

The price per session is £5 but trial sessions for the newcomers are free.

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