With the London 2012 Olympic Games less than a month away, West Ham United Community Sports Trust is playing a vital role in helping local people to lead healthier lives.
A registered charity, the Trust provides a wide range of services across east London and Essex with a strong emphasis on community participation and inclusion.
Thanks to the Trust, thousands of residents of all ages have and are being given the opportunity to try new sports and activities, learn new skills and acquire qualifications that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
As part of the Trust's three-year Community Plan, which was implemented in 2010 and has since been updated and expanded, people from all backgrounds have been given access to a wide range of initiatives and schemes.
With the goal of 'Promoting convergence and community participation' the Trust - based at the Club's Community Sports Ground in Beckton - individuals and groups alike are benefitting from its activities, which include:
*Training and mentoring schemes - Trust coaches are involved in a number of projects aimed at training the next generation of young sports coaches.
*Youth training projects - Youngsters are invited to take part in training schemes to enable them to gain skills and qualifications required to become full-time sports coaches.
*Employment - The Trust currently employs 25 full-time apprentices.
*Player involvement - First-team and Academy players from West Ham United regularly attend community events organised by or in conjunction with the Trust.
*Youth exchange programmes - Trust coaches and mentors are invited to visit other countries to broaden their own education and to experience new cultures, while foreign students are invited to visit to take part in Trust schemes. For example, a group of Danish higher education students recently visited east London.
*Multisport delivery - The Trust currently provides coaching in 14 sports in addition to football, including a host of Olympic sports. Courses are also provided for youngsters with physical and learning disabilities, offering opportunities to those who might not otherwise have access to sports coaching.
*Social inclusion - The Trust is committed to making sport accessible to people from all ethnic backgrounds, with the active promotion of the Asians in Football project helping to bring the game to the wider community of east London and beyond through coach and club development schemes.
*Healthy living - The Trust has implemented a wide range of partnership projects aimed at helping people of all ages to lead healthier lives. Examples of this provision include free men's and family health workshops and a partnership with the Age Concern charity.
*Education - Based at the Boleyn Ground, the Inspire Learning Centre provides out-of-school-hours educational support to local children and adults with the aim of inspiring and motivating under-achieving students.
*School holiday courses - The Trust holds a variety of affordable general and specialised football and multisport coaching courses throughout east London and Essex
The London 2012 Olympic Games will see the world's greatest athletes visit east London, inspiring local people of all ages to try sports they might never have tried before.
With the support of the West Ham United Community Sports Trust, access to many of these sports has been made easier and cheaper than ever before.
Looking further into the future, the Trust will play a vital role in the provision of the legacy of London 2012, providing coaching, mentoring, education and employment for the next generation of young people growing up in the local community of east London and Essex.
For details of how you can become part of this very special organisation, click here.