400m sprinter and member of Team GB, Martyn Rooney, with the team.
Since it was announced that the Olympics were coming to town in 2005 the UK has been promised a lasting legacy. After nine months of hard work, John Paul II Foundation for Sport (JP2F4S) is helping to deliver that legacy by opening the doors of Sports Squared, a new sports club launched in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Sion-Manning School, St Charles VIth Form College and Queens Park Rangers Community Trust.
Sports Squared will open on Friday nights initially, offering local children and young adults the opportunity to get involved in sport in their area. Using the sports facilities at both Sion-Manning School and St Charles VIth Form College, the club will offer sessions in basketball, dance, fitness, football and trampolining.
Coaching and teaching will be supplied by staff at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who have also partly funded the project, and football coaching will be supplied by staff from Queens Park Rangers Community Trust (the charity arm of Queens Park Rangers Football Club).
The club will be located in Kensington and Chelsea, which might have a reputation as a borough of privilege, but is actually a 'borough of extremes'. While many of the most affluent in the country live there, the ward of St Charles, where the club will be based, ranks as one of the most deprived in the whole country. Having a facility such as this, in this area of London, will help to bring together young people in a positive environment and teach them about core values such as hard work and mutual respect.
Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Family and Children's Services, said: "The Olympic and Paralympic Games provided a summer of sport that will never be forgotten and the task now is to make sure that as many young people as possible have opportunities to get involved in all types of sport and exercise. Sports Squared will give local youngsters a chance to try out a range of sports with quality coaching on hand."
Andy Evans, CEO of QPR in the Community Trust who are providing the football coaching said: "After an incredible summer of sport that culminated in a London Olympics and Paralympics that positioned sport as a powerful tool to inspire and excite the whole of the country, we are delighted to play our part in providing a legacy for the young people of Kensington & Chelsea. "Legacy is not just about inspiring those to take up sport, but also providing access to facilities for them to pursue those dreams, therefore we are very pleased to have access to the school and college facilities after school hours. This is a true partnership with a real and lasting community impact that can only improve the quality of experience for the young people of this neighbourhood."
The Foundation was first announced by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the UK in September 2010 and launched in October 2012, JP2F4S will enable an ever increasing number of people - in particular the young initially - to achieve inner peace through sport guided by the principles identified by Pope John Paul II and set out in his declarations and writing.
Building on the momentum of the London 2012 Olympic Games the charity will continue to co-ordinate existing sports facilities in Catholic schools, parishes and colleges and, where necessary, create new ones in the Catholic dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood (the diocese incorporating the 2012 Olympic Park). Teachers, trainers, parents, parish priests and volunteers have been identified to provide leadership and organisation.
Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, Chief Executive of John Paul II Foundation for Sport, said: "We are delighted to be launching the first of the JP2F4S clubs. Sports Squared is the 'template' we shall be using to start many more legacy sports clubs under the JP2F4S banner. The dream is to free up numerous school sports facilities, particularly in evenings, weekends and school holidays, to enable young people to get off the streets to concentrate their energies and so turn 'gangs into teams'.
"Our vision is to also work in collaboration with all those organisations who are already doing incredible work in the UK and internationally, together to share best practice, campaign on issues we have in common and support each other to achieve our goals. We all have one goal - to achieve peace through sport."
Once the work of the charity is established in these three London dioceses, the intention is to spread outwards as far as possible. This will include working with existing groups who are located outside these dioceses. While Catholic in inspiration, the Foundation is open to all who wish to play sport for peace.
Chair of the Foundation's Board, Professor Simon Lee, explained: "The inspiration behind the John Paul ll Foundation for Sport is Pope John Paul's enthusiasm for sport as a means of building spiritual character through excellence in sporting skills.
"In his life and teachings, Pope John Paul II showed that every sport, at both the amateur and the competitive level, requires basic human qualities such as rigorous preparation, continual training, awareness of one's personal limits, fair play, acceptance of rules, respect for one's opponent and a sense of solidarity and unselfishness. We will be promoting sport as a catalyst and conduit to enable all people to embrace a greater vision of, and higher values for, themselves and those around them."
For more information please visit www.johnpaul2foundation4sport.org