Gareth Southgate in Hainault to hear how football has changed lives

INSPIRING stories from people who have turned their lives around through football were heard by an audience including former England international Gareth Southgate.

Six people took to the floor to speak about their lives before and after getting help from Air Football, which is at Fairlop Power League, Forest Road, Hainault.

Some have battled drug misuse or mental health issues, and all have pushed themselves to make remarkable changes to their lifestyle.

Colm Whitty, project co-ordinator, said: “It was fantastic to hear their inspirational stories about how Air Football has changed their lives.”

He added: “Gareth Southgate was extremely impressed.

“He was on Sky Sports News later that day talking about the project which was great.

“He was really blown away by it all.”

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The programme gives people a chance to improve their football skills through regular training sessions and they also have the chance to take part in monthly tournaments and regular matches with guest teams.

Players, referred to them from a range of organisations, are also give professional advice and support on a range of issues around health, fitness and life skills.

Representatives from Air Football sponsors, including the North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Redbridge Homes, Fitness First and HSBC, were also at the centre last week to listen to the accounts.