September 4, 2014 News

“Representing a big club like Celtic was a privilege”

Ade Akande was the first ambassador for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, which was launched in October 2011.

Ambassador Ade

Ambassador Ade

404 Not Found Ade first role as a paid staff member was to travel to Celtic Park, home of Celtic Football Club, as they embarked on their 125 year anniversary they were eager to begin community work in East London, following in the footsteps of their founder Brother Walfrid.

Ade has been asked to represent the Rio Ferdinand Foundation as an ambassador at the upcoming Maestrio charity match that is being held in Celtic park, Scotland.

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“Representing a big club like Celtic was a privilege and to be chosen to help promote and deliver their sessions in East London was just unreal.”

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Ade grew up in the gritty part of south east London, which is known for its high levels of gang crime, territorialism, drug dealing, drug abuse and mass unemployment and Ade, who lives local to the Aylesbury Estate, has been regularly attending programmes put on by 5 Star Active’s partnership organisations since the age of 14.

As a youngster it was not always easy to stay away from negative activities and Ade found himself hanging out with the wrong people. However, despite this, Ade always had a love for football.

Ambassadors Ibrahim & Ade

Ambassadors Ibrahim & Ade

Many of his close friends received prison sentences for serious crimes, but Ade made sure he was not going to be another product of this environment, and this was with the help from the charity Active Communities Network.

“If it wasn’t for football I wouldn’t be here today,” said Ade. “I have always played and loved football, but being around negative surroundings I soon found myself involved in negative activities and football soon became less of a priority.”

His association with the programmes came through his school life when he was in year 11, where he became an active member of Southwark Tigers FC under 16’s team, and he demonstrated true passion for participating in sporting activities.

After his time with Southwark Tigers, he continued to participate in the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s Colombo 16+ 6-a-Side football sessions in Waterloo, London.

Regularly attending these football sessions, Ade has been a participant for 6 years and even though Ade was younger than many of the other young people, he always showed great levels of commitment and professionalism by encouraging others and also taking up roles of importance by being captain and sometimes refereeing games.

“When I’m playing football I feel like I’m in another world because nothing else matters,” said Ade. “All the problems and obstacles I face from living in my area are gone.

“Had the youth workers from the Colombo session never reached out to me to come to their session on a Thursday night only God knows what nonsense I would have been doing instead.”

Ade achieved 10 G.C.S.E’s at B-C and in his final year of school Ade went on to play for Staines Town Academy as well as attending Kingston College studying a sports science BTEC course.

After experiencing the serious loss of a close friend through a fatal shooting incident in Peckham it motivated him to pursue positive aspirations, which led him into further education at St Mary’s University, where he has completed a BSc Sport science degree in 2014.

“Going to university was never part of my plan in secondary school, but I’m thankful that I went and now graduated”.

Since September 2011, Ade was given the opportunity to carry out his work placement through ACN (Urban Stars Projects, Rio Ferdinand Foundation projects, Kickz projects and with Celtic FC) where he achieved over 270hours of volunteer community sports coaching as part of his course requirement.

Ade really put value into his placement and gained some professional development, by attending courses such Introduction to youth work, employment and enterprise, Peer mentoring, and Child protection training.846

Overall Ade proved himself to be a strong frontline community worker and is due to return to continue his voluntary work away from study commitments.

This was recognised by the senior project staff members, which placed him in a good position and was able to offer him a position as a paid sessional staff member.

“My aspirations are to gain full coaching qualifications as well as hopefully becoming a full time worker, as a project manager or team leader for Active Communities Network.

“I would like to help people like me from a young age so it doesn’t have to take them as long to realise that crime is not the way”.