Miliband opens new Nottingham Forest youth training centre

Nottingham Forest is to help train hundreds of young Nottinghamshire people at a new centre at the City Ground every week.

The centre will focus not only on football skills but on job-seeking and healthy living.

The club's Nottingham Forest in the Community charity will spend £600,000 a year running the Champions Centre.

The centre, opened by Labour leader Ed Miliband, will work with businesses, local authorities and health providers.

The charity wants to improve sports participation among disabled people and offer job interview tips and health advice to help the long-term unemployed.

Funding lost

Roxine Currithers, a 25-year-old dancer from Nottingham, said: "This will allow me to meet new people, and get some more advice on a new job as I have been employed as a dancer for about five years - so I am hoping to get more opportunities."

Jack Blake, a 17-year-old footballer on the Forest youth team, said he realised he needed to learn more skills.

"I think it is important to have a back-up plan if you don't get what you really want in the first place - you need to have an education to fall back on and you can learn a lot of things here like life skills and other things," he said.

Funding for an earlier project called Playing for Success was withdrawn by the coalition government so the club decided to use its charity to raise cash for the new scheme.

'Good hook'

"The funding was removed during the change in government but we decided to use our charity at Nottingham Forest to sustain this fantastic facility," Forest community director Graham Moran said.

He said the approach to charity work by Nottingham Forest had changed dramatically in the past few years.

"Our aims are to increase interest in football and encourage physical activity but also to use our brand to influence young people and provide training and advice in other areas.

"We know our brand is a good hook."

The club will work with the homeless charity Framework, New College Nottingham and Nottingham CityCare, a provider of NHS services, to develop programmes for young people, he added.

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