Sports shop will steer youth in right direction

New shop will get kids involved in Westminster sport and give unemployed youngsters a chance

A new sports shop is set to open in Church Street which has the double aim of getting young people involved in sport and helping unemployed youngsters back into work.

Circle Sports, which is due to open in mid-February, will sell discount sports clothing and equipment while also promoting sports opportunities for young people in Westminster.

Money raised will go towards grassroots sports programmes for youngsters in the borough while the shop will be run by long-term unemployed 18-24-year-olds to help them get back into work.

Circle Sports founder Turly Humphreys says making sports clothing and equipment affordable to all, and providing funding for different projects, will help young people get involved in sport.

“My son is very good at sports and I have spent my whole life on sports pitches with him,” she said.

“I have seen a lot of kids who have been very talented just drop out along the way.

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“This is about getting people on the right path. It’s about setting goals and trying to achieve them.”

The shop, which Ms Humphreys says she wants “to look better than other sports shops on the high street”, will sell a mixture of 70 per cent new and 30 per cent second-hand clothing and equipment donated by manufacturers, clubs and members of the public.

It will also feature a display wall with local sport information, photos of ‘local hero’ athletes and have a table football machine.

Ms Humphreys, who has lived around Maida Vale and Little Venice her whole life, says she chose the Church Street area because “it is one of the most interesting streets in London”.

“I think the area has more diversity than anywhere in London and more character than any other place,” she said.

“You have also got a very strong sense of community spirit here.”

She says she wants to create projects that are run by the communities they are located in and she aims to work with up to 20 long-term unemployed youngsters each year to build their skills and opportunities.

Volunteers will be taken on for six-month periods while it is hoped permanent apprenticeships and NVQs will be offered further along the line.

Nikita Joseph, 19, is one of a number of people currently on six-month work experience contracts with Circle Sports funded by Westminster Council.

“I like the idea of being part of something from the beginning,” said the Harrow Road resident.

“The whole concept of what Turly is trying to do is good for the community.

“I’m proud to be a part of it because it’s giving back to the young people and getting kids off the street.”

Fellow worker Hassan Kamrul, 22, left school at 16 and had been unemployed for much of the past year. He said that setting up the shop had been an inspiration.

“We are a real part of something good here and I feel really good being part of a team,” he said.

The shop is currently looking for donations of sporting equipment, clothing or kit that is new or nearly new.