In an exciting and groundbreaking move, AFC Wimbledon has joined forces with Southfields Academy to help revolutionise education across southwest London - and beyond.
We are opening the doors of our new home to launch our very own Education Hub, primarily for 16-year-olds from our local community.
“What could be more exciting and inspiring than coming to a football ground every day to study your favourite subject,” said our chief executive Joe Palmer.
“This is something I have passionately wanted to do ever since our move back to Wimbledon became a reality. That's when I started sowing the seeds.
“We have a wonderful new arena and this is a way for us to show the community that we are not just a football club on the neighbourhood doorstep, we are an essential part of its entire infrastructure.”
Initially, we will utilise the existing spaces we have in the stadium as classrooms, with the eventual aim of building out multi purpose teaching spaces on the top floor void of our showpiece Cappagh (West) Stand, with both local and international students able to come to the Cherry Red Records Stadium to pursue their studies.
Exciting partnerships with other influential education providers - many of them in south west London - have already been forged so students will be guaranteed a resource-packed programme of courses.
“It will kick off in time for the new academic year next September,” continued Joe.
"The first programme will be a Level 2 diploma in Business, IT and Sport but there's many more courses in the pipeline and they'll launch the following month in October, 2022.
“That's not all, either. In addition to diplomas, we will also be offering degrees, apprenticeships and - in the near future - adult learning opportunities."
The varied programmes will be designed to encourage students back into full-time education and prepare them for apprenticeships, traineeships, university and, ultimately, the world of work.
Added Joe: “We hope the Hub will become an invaluable long-term asset for the wider community, helping to reach in particular students that have struggled to thrive in a normal college setting. We also hope it will help generate wider interest in our club and strengthen our presence in Merton and Wandsworth.
"This is about doing what AFC Wimbledon does best - proving we value our community and are continuously looking for new ways to reach out to those who can benefit the most. And it's also putting our wonderful new ground to the best possible use on all those days when there is no football being played."
By targeting, in particular, students who have underachieved in the mainstream school system, it is hoped the Hub will help reduce the instances of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people across southwest London and north Surrey.
Southfields' chief executive and principal, Jackie Valin, commented: “I was very pleased to play a small part in AFC Wimbledon coming home when I spoke in favour at Merton Town Hall and I am now pleased that we can take our partnership with the club to an exciting new level.
"We already educate the AFC Wimbledon under-18 team and host many of the Foundation’s activities. It's appropriate, therefore, that we are involved in this exciting project. I look forward to Southfields Academy extending our excellent post-16 educational offering to more south-west London young people at the amazing new stadium.”
For initial enquiries in relation to the Education Hub, please email email@example.com
Please keep an eye out on the website for updates on upcoming courses.