REGENERATE AND THE CSG (by Walter Otton)
‘Regenerate’ was born in January 2000, based on the Alton Estate in Roehampton, and founded by Andy Smith who, at the time, was a season ticket holder in the MHL. Andy was working in the Robert Joy Day Centre in Putney – a Lunch Club for pensioners in the area, who had a sudden influx of new members from Roehampton because their local Lunch Club has been closed by the council due to local cuts.
The situation inspired Andy (with his mum Mo) to set up a new charity to raise funds, acquire donations and re-launch the Lunch Club. After a few successful weeks running the new project, Andy became increasingly aware of the needs of the young people on the Estate. There was no provision for them. Truancy, crime and anti-social behaviour thrived.
For many, a pathway to dealing, gangs, young offenders and prison had become the norm.
I had been running Youth Work in Epsom, Ewell and Worcester Park for about six years as was feeling like I needed a change. Down the boozer before a home game one day in early 2000, I decided to jump ship and work for Andy and set up Youth Work on the Estate for 8 to 14 year olds with the support of a bunch of enthusiastic, committed volunteers.
The nuns in the local convent donated Andy the money to pay my first months wages.
Fast forward to March 2013. I had written a book called ‘The Red Hand Gang’ published by Mark Worrall’s GATE17 label. Much of the book focused on the early years of Regenerate. We held a book launch in the Star and Garter in Putney, raising about £400 for Regenerate via the raffle.
A load of my Chelsea pals were in attendance, including Cliff Auger of the Chelsea Supporters Group (CSG)
During the launch, Luke Clifford was interviewed about how the support of Regenerate had helped him in his life. This was intended to inspire all those who were at the launch that their donations would go to significant use.
Visibly moved by his story, Cliff, on behalf of the CSG, asked if Regenerate would be happy to be the beneficiary of funds raised via the annual Football Supporters Tournament at Cobham. Of course we did! I was fortunate enough to go on the pitch before the Palace game and receive a cheque for £500. This season before the Villa match, Andy and young Zac Jervis were on the pitch with the CSG’s Liz Nurse to receive another £400 donation.
Zac is 8 years old and the grandson of our good mate Den. Den has been hugely supportive (behind the scenes) of Regenerate’s work, especially in the early years. As you can imagine, Zac was over the moon to be on the pitch. After the presentation, he was spotted by Mark Schwarzer who gave him a pair of his goalie gloves – a splendid gesture. Zac then promised to pass these on to his best mate (who is a goalkeeper) – what a wonderful thing for both Mark and Zac to do.
All the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries at Regenerate want to say a huge thank you to all those who took part in the Supporters Tournament in 2013 and 2014 and to the CSG for their generosity.
Read more about Regenerate via their website: http://www.regenerateuk.co.uk/
Craig’s story: http://www.regenerateuk.co.uk/category/news/
Walter’s books published by GATE17 – Between 10% and 100% of all proceeds go to Regenerate: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walter-Otton/e/B00A9JSIVK
DISCLAIMER: All articles written for the Chelsea Supporters Group 2005 (CSG) are those of the author and do not represent the views of the CSG. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited in the article. The CSG do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.