Defender says 'it's important for me to do this'
Elliott Omozusi continued to engage with local young people recently when he visited Mayville School in Leytonstone, the venue for a ‘KICKZ’ session led by Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme (LOCSP).
Since returning to the club at the beginning of the year, the O’s right-back has used the opportunity to visit some of the community sessions run by LOCSP in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of gang culture and highlighting his own unfortunate consequences that cost him time in prison.
“It’s important for me to do this,” said Elliott, “as it’s not only about relaying a message but it helps with my own personal values. I realise I’m very lucky to have been given another opportunity as a professional footballer and so by going out and recalling my experiences, it not only gives me a chance to make the young people think differently but it also keeps me grounded and appreciate what I have including good people around me.”
‘Kickz’ is a London wide project funded by the Premier League Charitable Fund and the Metropolitan Police and targets some of the most disadvantaged areas in order to create safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential.
John Mensah, LOCSP Development Coach said, “It’s great to see Elliott here, opening the eyes of some of these young people. Making it real. We can tell them all day long about the dangers of being associated with wrong individuals but when it comes from the mouth of a professional who’s been there, the realisation that they need to be aware of who they hang with really seems to sink in. Mixed with the fact that he mentioned he’s played against players like Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs, some of the jaws really did hit the floor!”
Elliott intends to continue visiting the various community projects and has been requested to talk to young people in Redbridge as part of the Met Polices’ Total Policing initiative ‘Diversion Through Sport’ in September as well as visiting the Young Offenders Institution in Chelmsford later in the year.