AFTER the tragedy of Grenfell in 2016, Queens Park Rangers Football Club have been proud to help the local community by using the power of football.
QPR in the Community Trust coach Nawf Elasri has been providing football sessions underneath the Westway, which is only a stone’s throw away from Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, for locals who have been affected by the Grenfell tragedy.
As seen on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday this weekend, Rangers attacker Ilias Chair and Mark Prince recently attended a session to get an understanding of what the area has been through and to offer some words of encouragement to the session’s participants.
“I thrive when I am motivating young people,” founder of the Kiyan Prince Foundation, Mark Prince, told www.qpr.co.uk: “I hope I can put some words of positivity into their lives and help them make the right decisions on their journeys.
“QPR understand and appreciate the value that I can bring to young people within the young sector and are rightly utilising that. The club have been able to put me in front of young people and that’s what this is all about - creating resources that can get to young people.
“The Grenfell area has suffered a lot and coming to these sorts of events allows them to feel more valued. The spirit of the community is something I share with them and we have to inspire and encourage them to think about how they can use the pain to create a solution.”
Rangers first-team star Chair was also in attendance and the Moroccan playmaker understands some of what local people have been through, having experienced a tough upbringing in Belgium himself.
“I can see myself in their shoes,” Chair told www.qpr.co.uk: “when I was 18, 19 I had some of the same struggles as them. I felt that no-one believed in me and I can see why they are frustrated. One thing I have learned is to never give up and always do your best to overcome challenges. That was the message I was trying to give to the lads.
“I understand how devastating Grenfell was, as I had just come to London when it happened. Me and the club are trying to do everything to help the community and events like this hopefully show that.”
Local resident Bilal Bihy was grateful to Prince and Chair for visiting their session, reiterating Grenfell’s ongoing impact on the area.
He said: “I had a friend that died and people who were here [for the session] were impacted by Grenfell, so it’s had a huge impact. As a community, it was heart breaking.
“The only good thing to come from it is how the community reacted. We all came together and to see that was like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. This shows that the club care and the fact that Mark and Ilias have taken time out of their own day means a lot.
“Today just empathises how important perseverance is. If you keep going, don’t give up and never take no for an answer, you can achieve your dreams.”
"I understand how devastating Grenfell was, we are trying to do everything to help the community"