Football coach calls on others to give young a goal

A FOOTBALL coach and school caretaker from Swiss Cottage is the latest person to back the search for community heroes in Camden

Ed Thomas

A FOOTBALL coach and school caretaker from Swiss Cottage is the latest person to back the search for community heroes in Camden.

Martin Toogood was central to saving Hampstead FC and works tirelessly to promote sport amongst young people, not least at Swiss Cottage School where he works.

Having picked up an Epic (Exceptional People in Camden) award two years ago, he is now urging others to get voting for people they think deserve recognition.

"I got involved with youth football because I could see how much the kids enjoyed it, which was very rewarding. I get a lot out of it and it has become a real social thing for me working with the other parents," he said.

"It was nice to get the recognition but that's not the reason I do it. There are lots of people who do great things in the community so the Epic awards are a really good way of recognising the good work they all do. I would definitely encourage people to nominate someone for an Epic."

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Since becoming involved with Hampstead FC in 1997, when his son started to play for the team, Martin has worked hard for youth football in the borough.

"Football gives the youngsters something to aim for, a goal. It also helps their self-esteem and mental well being - and is obviously good for their health," he said.

"I would definitely encourage more adults to do work like this with young people. A lot of the time young people get a bad press but they really just want something to do and this provides that stimulant."

Camden Council is behind the EPIC awards, and the search is on once more to find deserving people.

Anyone living or working in the borough can nominate a community hero under eight award categories - Exceptional Young Person, Exceptional Work with Young People, Exceptional Contribution to the Local Environment, Exceptional Contribu-tion to Sport and Leisure, Exceptional Contribution to the Arts and Culture, Exceptional Contribution to Community Safety, Exceptional Carer, and Exceptional Older Person.

The closing date for nominations is April 4, and top prizes are up for grabs including a Eurostar trip and shopping vouchers for nominators.

A glitzy award ceremony will be held at the Koko nightclub in Camden Town in June.

Use the nomination form printed here to put forward your hero, or pick one up at leisure centres, libraries, council offices or the Ham&High offices in Swiss Cottage.

Alternatively, log onto or www.