Russell Martin Foundation chosen as Crawley Mayor's Charity of the Year

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Charity set up by Russell Martin backed by Crawley's new mayor

A charity founded by a Premier League football manager from Sussex has been chosen as the Mayor of Crawley’s Charity of the Year in recognition of the work it is doing support young people in the Borough.

The Russell Martin Foundation (RMF), set up by former footballer and current manager of Southampton Football Club Russell Martin in 2017 for him to give back to the county where he was born and grew up in, set up its Extra Time project in Crawley in September 2023 to help young people who have been excluded from mainstream education.

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The charity works with the Gatwick School, Thomas Bennett Community College, Ilfield Community College, Hazelwick, St. Wilfred’s and Holy Trinity School to help re-integrate students facing a range of issues, back into school through a 12-week programme of education and support.

Young people from Crawley at an Extra Time session.Young people from Crawley at an Extra Time session.
Young people from Crawley at an Extra Time session.

Young people referred to the programme which provides one-to-one mentoring and teaches core school subjects including Maths, English and Science, are often impacted by domestic violence, have been sexually and criminally exploited or involved in gangs, poverty, self-harm and community violence.

The programme works closely with social services, young offending services and local police who deliver sessions on gang culture, knife crime and exploitation. The majority of young people who have completed the programme have re-integrated back into schools where ongoing mentoring is provided by RMF staff. The project is also supported by Nuffield Health who provide weekly sports sessions for young people on the programme.

Councillor Sharmila Sivarajah, who represents the Bewbush and North Broadfield ward on Crawley Borough Council was elected as the new Mayor of Crawley last month. The decision to choose RMF as her Charity of the Year will see the new Mayor support local fundraising efforts for the charity and increase awareness of its work across the Borough.

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Councillor Sivarajah, commented: “RMF has been doing some incredible and valuable work to support some of our most vulnerable and in need young people over the last year. Helping young people who are facing a range of issues, re-integrate back into school and education and hopefully giving them better life chances is something I’m passionate about, so I’m really pleased to support the charity in this way and hopefully support the work that they are doing.”

Extra Time project manager Gerry Coleman with the new Mayor of Crawley Councillor Sharmila Sivaraja.Extra Time project manager Gerry Coleman with the new Mayor of Crawley Councillor Sharmila Sivaraja.
Extra Time project manager Gerry Coleman with the new Mayor of Crawley Councillor Sharmila Sivaraja.

Alan Sanders, CEO, The Russell Martin Foundation, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the Mayor’s Charity of the Year. I think it shows the positive impact that our work has already had in a relatively short time in Crawley, and I hope it can lead to the ongoing delivery of the Extra Time project across the Borough and potential expansion so that we can provide much need and targeted help to more young people who are struggling.”

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