November 27, 2014 by News

Rio Surprises local role model on Surprise Surprise

A dedicated youth worker gets a life-changing gift from his hero, England football legend Rio Ferdinand.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation would not exist without Rio, who grow up on an estate and has an extreme passion for giving back to society, and last night he surprised Trevor Elliott on the popular ITV show Surprise Surprise.


Trevor, who is also known as TJ, grew up on an estate in Streatham but instead of being dragged into gangs or other criminal activity, he dreamed of becoming a football player. However, this didn’t work out and he did the second best thing he could think of – he opened a youth club to help other young people in his locality.

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TJ is a role model to the young people in his community and he sat up Lambeth Action for Youth, a free youth club, so all local young people have a chance to meet other young people and engage in a safe environment.

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Lambeth Action for Youth was set up to provide opportunities for young people to have access to a range of fun & educational activities which include multi-media workshops, sports, dance and much more.

“I had no idea that people felt this way about me,” said TJ. “I just love helping other young people.”

The 23-year-old’s own role models are David Beckham and Rio and he said on the programme that his role models are, in general, football players who grew up in South London.

“It is such a privilege to meet Rio.” Said TJ.

After the introduction to TJ and his amazing work in the community, Rio came on stage and he looked humbled and happy to meet TJ.

“I can see a lot of myself in TJ,” Said Rio. “If I hadn’t become a footballer I would have wanted to become a youth worker and go back in the community. It is a great benefit to see young people gaining a better life, because you’re helping them onto pathways with education and careers. So I would like to take my hat off to TJ.”

Watch the whole programme here…

“I know how it is to be in a house and have to raise money to help with this and that, and we would like to take that stress away from you and pay the rent for the youth club for the next year.

“I started my Foundation, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, for similar reasons and we would like to give you a mentor and myself as well to help you with the structure, raising money and bring the youth club further.

“I want to be here to help you develop as a person and as a youth worker.”

Before Christmas TJ will be bringing some of the young people from the youth club to the Rio Ferdinand Foundation office at London Bridge to show them around and have the opportunity to meet the Rio Ferdinand Foundation staff.

After Christmas, we will continue to work with TJ on a personal level with our staff helping to mentor him and will work him to make Lambeth Action for Youth an even better organisation.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation will also deliver qualifications (from employability to youth work) to the young people in the organisation over the age of 14 to give them a chance to gain qualifications for their CVs and help them build towards positive futures.

If you would like to help TJ and Lambeth Action for Youth, please donate here…