I met Gareth last September at the launch of Peter Trott’s book: ‘Wormholt Park – The First Hundred Years’. He told me a bit about his work and that he’s also an R’s fan. He’s now been nominated for one of the first Agilisys H & F Heroes Awards. Emma Heseltine wrote the following article for the local Chronicle:
‘Inspiring Change’ is more than just a motto for Gareth Dixon, who works as the social inclusion manager for QPR’s community arm.
His job is to support those who may not otherwise get the opportunity to work with a Premier League football club, using the sport to work with young people from various backgrounds in his role with QPR in the Community Trust.
Many of those whom the 30-year-old works with are Neets (not in education, employment or training), but there are also former offenders, and he helps all of them develop the confidence with skills to join the world of work.
He said: “It’s not just about playing football. That’s a big part of what we do, obviously, but we offer other activities as well as advice and help. For example, there are people who would not normally go and get advice on sexual health, but if someone comes into the club to talk to them about it, they might just listen.”
“Educational workshops are a big part of what we do – teaching young people about drugs, alcohol, and helping them get out of gangs or avoid them altogether. We’re aiming to reduce re-offending, increase confidence and skills, and give these young people the chance to grow. We get very solid, positive outcomes.”
The Trust’s flagship project is White City Rangers, which offers sessions in football, but also athletics, cricket, street dance and badminton. It runs on Friday nights and focuses on youngsters nearest to the football club, in White City and Wormholt ward. Those who come to the Trust as young people often work their way up, earn their coaching badges and qualifications, and stay on as mentors
Gareth added: “If they see someone they know from their own area, from the same background, it gives them someone to look up to.”In his time at QPR in the Community Trust, Gareth has also overseen the ‘Moving the Goalposts’project, which is blazing a trail to kick racism out of football, particularly discrimination against gypsy, Romany and other traveller communities.
He said “Everybody knows about the campaigns to get racism out of football, and they’re great campaigns doing a lot of good work. But the terraces are still full of people who use certain derogatory words about travellers because they are ignorant. It is the last socially acceptable form of racism and that needs to change.”
Gareth has been nominated in the Charity Worker category in the upcoming H & F Heroes Awards for his efforts in supporting and developing young people. He said: “It is very rewarding to see the positive difference you can make, and it is rewarding for us to be able to employ them later on. I’m honoured to be nominated, I don’t see that I do anything special, but I try and make a difference. It is good to be recognised for the work you do.”
Good luck to Gareth and well done to Andy Evans and everyone involved with QPR in the Community Trust,