An inspiring partnership has seen Paul Canoville, the first ever black player for Chelsea FC, announced as the new Fearless Football Ambassador as he calls on current and ex pro players to follow his lead and support Fearless.org – the youth service of charity Crimestoppers – to help cut youth violence.
Fighting hate crime including racism and supporting young people to achieve their best, are key priorities for the charity Crimestoppers and The Paul Canoville Foundation who have joined forces in this pioneering new partnership.
It follows Chelsea FC honouring Paul’s important contribution to the club by naming part of Stamford Bridge in his honour when The Canoville Suite was officially opened earlier this year.
Recent trends show serious youth violence rising so Fearless is keen to engage with local partners to build on preventative measures that aim to help tackle youth violence.
Paul Canoville is a former professional footballer signed up in 1981 by Chelsea at the age of 19. He was soon subjected to a tsunami of abuse by his own fans. Due to injury, his career was cut short and his life was followed by numerous hardships and obstacles, from homelessness, addiction, cancer and mental health issues. After turning his life around, Paul was determined to give something back to the community and, in particular, to young people. The Paul Canoville Foundation was established in 2015 and works with schools and youth organisations to promote wellbeing, confidence and resilience through workshops and sport in conjunction with partners.
Fearless works in partnership with secondary schools, youth groups and other organisations across the UK, speaking directly to young people on how to report their concerns about crime, 100% anonymously. The interactive workshops, which are led in London by outreach worker Kenya Lamb, are designed to engage young people to spread the Fearless message and help them better understand the consequences of crime and criminal activity.
Fearless Football Ambassador Paul Canoville said: “This is about our youth making their communities safe again. We’re not asking you to be a snitch – but to be a hero to help stop youth crime.
“I’m calling on fellow ex pros and current players to follow my lead in supporting the Fearless project to help cut youth violence. Being aware of how harmful crime can be is also key which is why I’m so pleased to be working with Crimestoppers and Fearless to help address this issue in the wider community.”
Kenya Lamb, Senior Fearless Outreach Worker for London, said: “We’re so happy to welcome Paul Canoville to our team, to act as a Fearless Football Ambassador. His role will build on the great work of his foundation and help promote our charity’s role in giving young people a voice to speak up anonymously about their crime concerns.
“Fearless offers a unique service guaranteeing 100% anonymity to young people who pass on what they know about crime via the charity’s youth service website Fearless.org. I know that as a young person, there’s growing reluctance to report crime or give information to the police, so Fearless is here to debunk those fears and empower them to make better choices in their journey to adulthood.”
More information about Fearless and the resources available to young people and their peers can be found at Fearless.org.