A cross-border football tournament backed by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation kicked off in Derry on Friday, with several youth clubs taking part.
The cross-border football event took place at a GAA ground in Creggan.
The tournament brought together young people from the North of Ireland and the Republic.
Around 75 young people aged 15 or over from counties Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh and Leitrim attended the five-a-side tournament at Seán Dolan’s GAC.
They had an opportunity to play football, but also share their hopes for the future and build new friendships at an event at St Mary’s youth club.
The Rio Ferdinand Foundation was started back in 2012 and helps provide mentoring and employment pathways for young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Ferdinand, who won 81 England caps and made 455 appearances for Manchester United during his playing career, said it was all about trying to give young people a better life, both physically and mentally.
“Our aim is to give young people opportunities from disadvantaged backgrounds and give them a real sense of worth and value,” said the TV soccer pundit.
“Some of these children come from communities where they think there is a dead-end in the road and not really bright prospects ahead and those are the kids we go after.”
Ferdinand said that a big reason for wanting to help children like this from across the UK and Ireland was because he was one of them growing up in a council estate in London.
“It’s about trying to help others be able to see the best of side of themselves,” he said.
“My mum was a big community person, so was my dad, and I think they are the inspirational figures as to why I am doing this now.”
Paddy Harte, IFI chair, said: “Creating opportunities for young people from border communities to come together, learn new skills and develop lasting friendships is a vital part of this project and offers opportunities that may not otherwise be available to so many young people.”Tags: