City workers swap suits for boots at football tournament to raise money for Hackney charity

Cup Champions, Bloomberg, with tournament organisers from the ReachOut! Academy project.

Cup Champions, Bloomberg, with tournament organisers from the ReachOut! Academy project. - Credit: Archant

High-flying city workers descended on Petchey Academy last Friday for an annual five-a-side football tournament.

The tournament was organised by year nine boys to fundraise for a football tour to Barcelona this May, which is run by mentoring charity ReachOut!.

Director Pete Blackwell, who has been working with ReachOut! for almost nine years explained that the annual fundraiser is more than a charity kick-about, saying: “This is a tournament for footballers, not just a charity game. The same guys play every year so it’s important we provide a good service.”

The boys raised £4,000 from the tournament after eight teams from companies such as Bloomberg, Macquarie and UBS entered at a cost of £500 per team. Cup winners Bloomberg were crowned league champions.

Each week, around 150 boys attend The ReachOut! academy in Sigdon Road, Hackney where they complete an hour of academic work, before an hour of football training. Every boy is assigned their own ReachOut! mentor, a volunteer usually from a company in or around the City of London, to help with their studies and act as a positive role model.

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Joe Kinchin-Smith, from investment bank UBS, has been a ReachOut! mentor for two and a half years. He said: “I started volunteering and I just liked it.”

Kye Mitchell, 14, comes to the Petchey Academy every Monday evening and helped arrange the tournament. He said: “I had to write the speech for the opening ceremony. I think it went OK. I like the school work because it really helps.”

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