I am talking with Charlie Brown from 2TR (two touch rulz) Football who runs a variety of community activities around football in Haringey and other London boroughs, especially on inner city London estates.
We talk about how they create work experience and work opportunities for some of the teenagers, what transferable skills they can acquire, flying out to Egypt to represent England in the SATUC World Cup (check out the youtube clip), starting a London Estates Cup and what Charlie hopes to achieve in the next few years. Another wonderful example of community spirit and great humans amongst us!
Their website https://www.2trfootball.com/
Youtube clip from the SATUC World Cup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcnWr_WBugg
Their Instagram https://www.instagram.com/2trfootball/
Their Twitter https://twitter.com/2TRFootball
pod instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anybodyeverybodytottenham/
pod website : https://www.anybodyeverybodytottenham.com/
pod twitter: https://twitter.com/AnybodyBody
If you fancy supporting my hobby - buy me a coffee :)
Hi I'm Jamila and anybody everybody Tottenham is a bi monthly podcast, introducing the good people of Tottenham to you. Welcome back. It's 2023. And we are also according to the Chinese New Year, entering in the year off the water rabbit. Apparently, it signifies prosperity and peace. So today I'm talking with Charlie. And I met him on a workshop, an online workshop about disability and sports in Haringey, and I just really liked his calm demeanor. And I just think Charlie has a bit of a voice for radio, and I hope you enjoy it. Today on the podcast, I've got Charlie Brown from two TR my very first sports person. Welcome, Charlie.
Thank you, Jamila. Pleasure to be with you today.
Okay, Charlie. So can you tell us a little bit about you and your connection to Tottenham before we go into what 2TR is?
Unknown Speaker 1:10
I was basically born in South London, but we moved to North London when I was very small. So I have an affiliation and a connection with the whole of London. My original work in Tottenham, in the area of Tottenham in Haringey was through a colleague who used to work for Camden. And then we were both delivering similar projects in the borough of Camden. And then when she moved over to the Haringey borough and worked for Haringey Council, invited us up to become part of a consortium, which was based at lordship recreation ground,
when was this roughly?
Unknown Speaker 1:45
Oh, that would have been in about 2011. (Okay, so 10 years) 2011 / 2012. So, yeah, just round about 10 years. So then yeah, so from that, from that it's just grown bit by bit.
And do you think there is anything special about Haringey because especially you've got the comparison to different boroughs.
Unknown Speaker 2:05
But Haringey is a very unique bar. It's got its own football team in the Premier League, which, like some other boroughs as well, it gives you that little bit extra sporting edge, and there's a bit more of an inspiration for young people to go past to see it and to feel that yeah, I could possibly become part of something that's bigger than the deprivation that you see across the road. What I like about Haringey, their activities programs are very targeted, but also very broad. So they have a wide range of activities for all ages, and for all genders etc, all abilities.
And is that special is that different to other boroughs, what you've seen?
Unknown Speaker 2:45
It is kind of special in as much as that is it's happening, it's actually happening as opposed to more developing. The other boroughs are not as far forward in their development programs and delivery programs for all sorts of ages and all sorts of abilities. Also, specifically for us, as a football organization, Haringey is blessed, very blessed with 24 estate and Estate Park mugas which is the multi use games areas. So one of the projects that we've recently delivered was the London estates cash cup, and I specifically had to go all around the whole of London looking for suitable playing areas for a mini sited football game, which is our game two touch rules. Some of the boroughs don't even have - massive estates - and don't even have one football playground area or multi use games area in there in that particular estate.
So those mugas, are they accessible to all the kids at any time? Or are they locked?
Unknown Speaker 3:45
Mostly, they're accessible, but they're not anytime because a lot of them will close at nine o'clock, some of them which are floodlit, the floodlights will only be on to a certain amount of time. And then after because they're residential as well, which is said that they do get locked. Some of them are continually open. So they'll be open 24 hours a day, they're in parks, open parks, etc, with park gates, or gates to the mugas so they might be open all the time, but majority of them that are caged, particularly the astroturf ones, they'll be gated, but you do have other ones as well. But Haringey is definitely blessed with a lot of mugas, which is great. And you know, they are all wheelchair accessible, usable at any time. So that's very good in the borough.
So what is your background related to football, etc?
Unknown Speaker 4:37
Yeah, mine is not just football even though football is the main area that we deliver at the moment since the year 1999. I was based and worked at a community center called Highgate new town which is currently being redeveloped they've leveled the center and they're putting back a new center. So we get a brand new facility which we go back in. So from 1999, I was there delivering some community football that developed into them opening a community gym and a youth center. So my whole background is just developing from scratch, and starting community projects, community activities and initiatives. And they have been since 1999, for young people, for adults, also for the over 60s. So we also, I'm also a qualified personal trainer and GP exercise referral trainer. So we've worked in developing health initiatives for Highgate, Newtown, and delivered those in all around Camden in the borough. So it's a quite a broad spectrum of what we actually deliver in terms of, but it's all community based. It's all basically delivering projects that are for the community and help people within the community.
Why did you get into this? Like, why is this so important to you the whole community aspect of sports, and
I think, I just love people, really, right. So didn't just want to work with, you know, children five years old, even though we run football for young children, or 55 years old. It's the whole community, you gain a lot I feel by sharing and experiencing what other people are experiencing and, you know, being able to learn together develop together, I think it's an important part of social life and life itself. So I enjoy working with all the age groups and people of all all kinds.
Yeah. Have you noticed any changes over the last 10 years that you've been in Haringey for the positive for the negative, maybe even also related to COVID? I don't know.
Unknown Speaker 6:46
Yeah, I could probably go back a little bit further, even though we've been working in Haringey, specifically for about 10 years delivering programs we've always been traveling around the area and been aware of what's been happening with different communities over the years and we've worked specifically with - I'm not sure if you know Clasford Stirling, He's based in Haringey over at lordship recreation ground in the Broadwater Farm community center. Now, he's been around since the 70s, delivering activities in Haringey. So we're well aware of what he has been doing for the last 40 years. He was instrumental in building the actual community center before there was a center there. So we were aware of that one minute there wasn't a center there. Now there was. It was - a lot of it was down to the kind of work that he was doing. He's currently involved with us running our England football team, because we, our program is football but also social outreach, so Clasford we represent England in SATUC underprivileged children's world cup. So he actually runs our England team. So having spent a lot of time speaking to him and and looking back over the years, Haringey has changed quite a lot. There's a documentary that we did together, and the whole CTR team and on it, he mentions how broadwater farm was one of the worst estates in the country. And then now it's become one of the better estates in terms of the what's happening in the area. They've recently built a new hub on the rec. The Friends of the park, they do a fantastic job in making sure that the park is well kept and there's lots of different activities, Haringey Council, and also the LSAT consortium work together to provide so many different activities that are inclusive, and now communities basically, working together. So there's been a lot of changes. We've seen a lot of changes, not just as service providers, but also service users over the years in Haringey, so I'll give Haringey an applaud for that.
And what about like children and participating in sports? Is there like a problem? Or is Have you not seen any issues there? But kids are getting lazy and playing too many computer games, you know, like some
Unknown Speaker 9:05
massive problem. Yeah, there is a massive, there's a trend with young people not wanting to get out and socialize and do the kind of activities that were available many, many years ago. And other one of the problems as well as, as you mentioned, some of the gated facilities and the estates where you'll see all the time over the years, no ballgames. So all sorts of activities that children could have done on their own or with their friends - they're no longer available. So you do have to have more organized activities. Some of the stuff that we deliver is specifically on estates. So, it's on their doorsteps, they can just come, look out the window, see people playing and then come down in this. It's an organized sport that parents can see an adult, that's there supervising, everyone's in bibs, etc, etc. So, yeah.
So can you tell us a little bit about what exactly you're doing. You're already touched a little bit on it, especially what is two touch rules football.
Unknown Speaker 10:08
Right? Okay. So, two touch rules football is a newly priority designed game by myself, a good friend of mine who I grew up with when from nine years old, and we've sort of like now adults and we coach football together. So we've designed this specific game where it does what it says on the tin, in as much as that you can only touch the ball consecutively twice. So there's no team player that can individually take the ball and run with it. So there's no individualism. It's all about working together to achieve a goal and in this context, an actual goal. So we use the, we quickly realized that having delivered tournaments and activities that the game itself worked, but there was also social elements to the game that we could design a social program, which we did call the mind and play that we had somebody with very, very experienced a bit of a mentor to myself as well, Peter Isaac, and he came along, and he looked at how the game is and how we can structure a course to deliver for young people, to get them engaged through the football, but also to start thinking about life. Start thinking about choices, start thinking about behavior, start thinking about how they, their individual actions, have an action and reaction and etc. And it's all connected. Specifically, in this game, you can't do everything on your own, you need to know that you have to be supported. But you also have to recognize how to give others support as well.
How many people are in one team? Or does that not matter?
Unknown Speaker 11:43
Ours is a mini sided game. So very similar to the FA mini sided games, they have five players up to nine. But because we don't have a traditional goalkeeper in this game, we designed some goals that identify the game that have two barriers on it. Ordinarily, where the goalkeeper could save the ball easy. Some barriers work as a goalkeeper. So we have four players up to eight players, depending on the size of the pitch, the pitch, the age of the player, etc.
And how long is the game?
Unknown Speaker 12:14
Again, it depends on the structure of the tournament, how many teams you have, but It's same as any mini sided game that the FA would deliver.
Okay, roughly how long is one game?
We did the London estate cash cup, it was eight minutes each way. So sixteen ...
Oooh so very speedy, (very, very quick.) So is it the idea very often that you have different teams playing against each other rather than spending a longer period of time in the same teams playing?
Unknown Speaker 12:42
so yeah, so we have different models. So there are the models that we have called turn up and play. Where we go into an estate. Those are self sustainable sessions where we have concessional rates for the young people to come. It's three pound per player, if they have a sibling, the second sibling will come for two pounds. If they have another sibling, they will come for one pound. And if they have a third sibling, four players, six pounds is the maximum they will pay. So any low income family with lots of kids can come in, it's affordable. So then what they, what players would then do, they will just turn up from the estate. Just get them into teams depending on how many turn out make the teams as evenly as possible. And then they will just play games. We have other bespoke type sessions. And then we also have the holiday sessions, which is what we deliver in Haringey mostly, which is we'll do a two hours of just games fun games not just two touch football. We've mixed the two touch football in with skills drills and fun games. So the two hours is filled with a lot of sort of learning different types of learning.
And you are actually delivering quite a few sessions in Tottenham, isn't it? You've got a lot of different astro turfs or playgrounds where you're doing which ones are you at?
Yeah, so currently we deliver in Lordship Rec, Brunswick Park, Hartington Park, Fairland park and Chestnut Park. Those are the main ones we deliver on a regular basis. We also have delivered a tournament activity in duckets common where we had players from each of those parks plus one of our Camden parks come together to have a tournament. And that was just before the lockdown. So we didn't have it again because of the lockdown after that. So yeah, those are the basic five parks that we mainly do in Haringey.
What have been some highlights of the last 10 years?
For me, without a shadow of a doubt it's the mind and play program that we have. So the mind and play program is a specific week long program where young people will come to us as like an internship or a work placement. So Monday to Friday, they're with us. We then go through the whole ethos of the game. We then try to demonstrate how they would deliver a 2TR session.(?) the health and safety sides of it, and how to engage with the young people, what to be aware of, etc, etc. And then by the end of the week, they actually get to deliver a session a live session within the community. From that program we've had well over 500 young people come through the majority of which have been from Haringey. I think there's probably about eight or nine different schools, secondary schools in Haringey, who have jumped onto the program. We're still currently got about four workers, young people that are working now to this day, from courses that have been gone in the past, but we've had about 12% of the 500 come through, have gone on to some sort of paid sessional work. And then a lot of them have gone on to full time work now.
Yeah. How old were they? When, how old are they when they are going for this?
The earliest for the minor play programs is 15/14 Year 10. And then it can go right up to sixth form. We've had sixth form colleges send young people to us. So they are 17/18. But we've had, we've had younger ones that have come from the community roots. So where we deliver turn up and plays. In fact, this year is quite interesting, because a lot of the younger younger ones who started at 13/14 and then now they've been working for a year or so they've their friends are like Oh, can we work? Can we start working? Can we start working sort of thing so we've had quite a few offers this year for young people to want to start working so yeah,
so it's nice to see the development. Have you, is there like one kid that you remember in particular where you're like, Oh, that was a nice story line of them getting more confident? I don't know or
yeah, there's there's loads, lots we could be here all day telling you about the different individuals from Ossama to Darius and Abdul, the ones that = ironically, today when I bumped into Stuart in Iceland, just about two hours ago. And he was saying about his stepson his computer, but Damien, Damien got referred to us from Camden Council. He was expelled from school or suspended from school at the time, because he brought in a knife. Now he he's a very unassuming sort of very slim, and not Butch sort of young boy. Now when I spoke to him, he was saying that he was getting bullied. So he took the knife to school. So anyway, he came and started working as a volunteer. He was really good. And one of the main things that is so important is timekeeping. So he was always on time. So we thought, okay, if he can be on time, that's a very good beginning. Let's see if we can get him some paid work after about three or four months of him coming regularly to volunteer. So when he came on to do some paid work, it was one particular day where he was always out on his bicycle, BMX bike, doing lots of tricks and wheelies and everything. And they used to hang around in Caledonian road. So he was saying to me the next week, the work clashed with a date that he was supposed to be out with his friends. So we had a little chat and explaining to him, you know, you're at this stage. Now, you're 17. Now, you know, do you want to put your work first? Or do you want to be out, you know, making money or making friends, you know? He decided to come to work. That same evening, down in Caledonian road, there was a stabbing, and it was his friend. And the the incident, which is in the papers, the guys that did the stabbing, were out to nick the bikes. So they were trying to get the bike of his friend, had he not come to work, he would probably have been with that group, one of the friends rode off and got away, the other ones didn't, that might have been him. So it's, it's kind of like when it is quite deep when you think about it, in terms of what could happen, but it could have saved his life, being able to come to a football session and get involved not only just be there, but to be paid as a worker, as a member of staff. It's it could have saved his life,
and to be in a safe space in some ways, isn't it?
What are your future hopes? What do you want to do next?
Right. So we've just introduced a tournament called the London estates cash Cup, which we had the finals on November, the 19th. The Estates cash cup is where we were looking to introduce the format of football that we have on a weekly basis elsewhere into different areas of London, into different estates. They can be run by young people, once they're old enough, obviously, to be left on their own. And then they have the right qualifications of first aid and child protection, etc, to be able to deliver those sessions. So that's the main aim between now and the next few years to see if we can introduce the two touch game into other areas to run those sustainable sessions. So they're not only reliant on funding, it would be great for the mayor to step in and see the benefit of the program. The London estates cash Cup really worked, we want to try and get some sponsorship for the for next year's because we given 1000 pound per winning team age group, which came from 2TR. So we're trying to look at the present moment if we can get some funding for next year's, but then also to use that to introduce the game to other areas in London. And then to employ young people from those specific areas. To deliver those sessions. For instance, we have one on Thursday in Camden, where one of the young boys who plays the game every week, so he knows the rules inside out. He's now getting paid to referee for the primary session, he's only 14, but then he'll deliver the session for the 7/8/9/ 10 year olds,
I think it's really nice to see the progression that they can then first of all, it just starts off as a game and then for them to take responsibility and be in charge.
Yes, yeah. It's transferable skills. So the skills even I've got one person who's working, he came when he was 15. He's still working at the minute. They will because they work during the holiday times, but he wants to be a doctor. He's got straight A's, and he's working. Just because he wants to be a doctor doesn't mean that the skills that he's not learning from or is learning from us at the minute - they're transferable. Time keeping record keeping ...
... communication with so many different people, probably with parents and children of different ages.
Exactly. Problem solving is very useful, even though it's a football session.
So you're trying to get across London. You're just trying to go back to South London. I can see.
(laughs) Yeah, definitely South London, we didn't have a good take up in South London. Like it's, getting the connections over there getting the right people
It would take some time to build it up, isn't it? And do you have any girls participating?
Oh, yes. If you see on a Thursday, Una, Olivia, Inis, Cara, they'll come down and play - they score.
Do you think because of the women's team, how they did this year, that there is a renewed interest or more confidence from girls to try it out?
I've seen it develop. A great deal. As I say we were based in Camden initially. So you have the Chelsea manager right now. She's one of the local Camden, she used to be in sports development in Camden. So and then we had some Arsenal players back when we used to do the presentations for our children in the community center 2001/02/03 we used to get Kirsty peeling (?) who was an arsenal player at that time to come along and give out the medals. So we had girls in the sessions from back then we ran a women's session and the girls session on Thursday evening. So I've seen the progress in the women's football is immense. I was there at the arsenal when they were still at Highbury watching the women's FA Cup game. So that was in the old stadium in Highbury. So I watched them develop over the years and the standard of football was really is so amazing how much it shot up. And in the community you see that level of inspiration filter in, a lot more girls doing football Clasford and myself ? lily in Haringey Council also delivered some girl sessions. And they're currently delivering women girls football at the moment in Broadwater farm.
Are they separate? Or are they also playing in mixed teams,
they're mainly separate at the minute the ones that I know of the ones that we deliver. 2TR specific, they are mixed. So we have the girls that will play within the boys session. It's just any gender can come and turn up and play. And it's great because, you know, one of the best players there is a girl. She's absolutely amazing. So, and then even when we did the London estate cash cup, we went to West London and had the under 14 - the best player there was a girl she was on the losing team because the rest of her team wasn't as good as what she was. And they were all males. But you know, she was the best player by far of all of the players that played in that tournament.
Nice. Girl power. Okay. The other thing I was wondering because you mentioned it that you're in some World Cup. What was that?
Yes. So a few = what year? 2014 Because we will we had the mind and play program fully underway. One of our board members his son, he was doing some English teaching for a Qatari Princess they were going to run this new, brand new World Cup called the SATUC world Cup which stands for SHEIKHA AL-THANI for underprivileged children, because our program was football but also social. He mentioned us - I thought it was a bit of a - is this for real or not? This is you know, you want us to go to Egypt and play in a World Cup? Alright, I have to do my due diligence on this one and ask for a meeting etc. When I met with the family, and the organization SATUC and quickly realized that it's for real. And then we had a year to then run trials and prepare and get a team together under fifteens to travel to Egypt for the inaugural Satuc world cup.
Very cool. So what happened?
So yeah, it was amazing. So the trials were really amazing. There were so many players. We had different sets of trials culminating in a final trial at Wembley, we had about 65 young players all from all over London come and try out. So we narrowed it down to 16 players, which was a first team of eight and a reserve team of eight, because you never know what's gonna happen. And we started training with the young boys and the journey was amazing for them in terms of just starting to play football, to then go in, to fly off, fully kitted, and then to represent England. They had in the satuc World Cup, they had a proper opening ceremony with fireworks and music and dancing and all of which we recorded and videod and it's an experience that they will never forget. We came back with a bronze medal. So third place in that tournament, so yeah, it was very, very impressive for, for what the boys had to do.
Do you remember who were the first two which countries?
Well, Egypt was the host. And so Egypt was the host. And then we lost in the semi final to the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast played Egypt in the final we played in the playoff and beat Morocco in the playoffs.
So is this still going on? this?
Yes. So yeah, they had the satuc. The next satyc was in Bulgaria and then the third one was cancelled because of the lock because of lockdown. So
alright, so are you ready for some top tips Tottenham?
top tips for Tottenham? Well, obviously because we are sport New River has got a lovely facility there. They've got the gym. They've got the track. They've got the football pitches the brand the - sorry Astro football pitches. They've got some great facilities for indoor as well. You've obviously got the big sports center on Phillip lane. There's lots of different types of facilities in terms of activities and Haringey have a fantastic holiday program. It's second to none in terms of obviously the different types of activities that are available. West Indian restaurants Broadwater Farm. Anytime I'm going for a meeting in there,
sorry, what is it called?
It's a West Indian restaurant. You know, it's on the frontline. Okay. Then Broadwater Farm Estate. So there's only there's one row of shops in the farm. So yeah, I've been in there. It's very tasty. Food is very good. I think if you wanted to know the real - oh also lordship recreation. They've got the MCA, which is like a track which is modeled on actual roads. Then children can learn how to ride and look left look, right. They have all the markings, they have the zebra crossings. Fantastic. That's fantastic. And within Lordship Rec. There's different types of activities, bicycles and mugas for football and sport. And then they also have the hub, which is a brand new sort of cafe, stroke, Community Center stroke nursery, so they have different community activities running in there. So it's got lots of good facilities.
The other thing I was gonna ask before we gonna finish up the interview was do you also do it for adults can adults play the 2TR, and could get involved
100% We have a very small staff team. In order to deliver what we deliver, and also to develop what we need to develop if it was 10 More Charlie Brown's we 'd be way far ahead at the minute and a lot of time, because there's no funding, people are doing it from the goodness of their heart. We had in the past, we piloted most of the things that we needed to pilot to see what works and what hadn't worked. One of the things we did pilot was having some corporate two touch football. So when we had Highgate Newton indoor space, we managed to get Parcelforce, McDonald's BMI, to come and play some corporate football on Sunday night, and that worked really, really well. So that's one of the other arms that we need to go back to try and deliver. But obviously, we concentrated mostly on the mind and play. And the tournament side of the two touch rule of the London estates cash cup got more recently. But we'd like to get back to delivering the adult sessions.
If there was somebody listening who is an adult and interested in football. You're always looking for adult volunteers to maybe get some of the projects developed further?
Yes, definitely. Either volunteers or for anybody who's in the corporate CSR side of delivery to be able to say look 2TR can organize a team building type activity where a corporation can come 10/15/20 individuals and then we can organize some games and some team building kind of type of activities which then could support a community based football in terms of you know, corporates, obviously can afford to pay a little bit of something and then feed that back into - on paper it should be quite easy to do, but it's just getting the right individuals to say look, this is something that would benefit our company, but also the community.
Nice, nice. I like it. Okay, so thank you very much for this interview for taking the time.
You're most welcome. Thank you for having me.
So in the show notes, I will link their website and even though they have a Twitter and they have an Instagram, they are not super active, and they still need to have some more followers, so maybe give them a nice follow up to boost up their profile. So I hope you enjoy it today. And you have a wonderful start to the new year. I hope you enjoyed today's episode, learned something new, and let that Tottenham love grow. Take care and until next time, byeee
Transcribed by https://otter.ai