Offiah visits charity – funded school

Date published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Former England player and Rugby League legend Martin Offiah has made a special visit to a school in Feltham to meet staff and pupils, who have benefited from the support of Wooden Spoon.

Offiah took time out to meet children and staff at Forge Lane School to sign autographs and pose for photographs before taking a tour of the school and seeing The Wooden Spoon Outdoor Play & Learning Centre.

The former Wigan star was there on behalf of Wooden Spoon, who are the Official Charity Partner of RLWC2013 and have invested £10,000 in the school to help build the outdoor play and learning area for the children.

The school’s immediate area is classified as one of the most deprived in Hounslow while over 50% of the pupils do not have English as a first language and a specialist centre for autistic children was also set up in 2012.

The centre is now running with two dedicated ASD teachers, seven teaching assistants and an on-call team of therapists for the children which are drawn from different areas of West London and Slough.

Ealing resident Offiah said: “It was great coming to Forge Lane and see up close what the money from Wooden Spoon has gone towards and the difference it has made. The kids seemed to absolutely love the play area.

“You don’t always get to see the other side of charity work but it is so valuable to see what you are helping to support. I thought the school was fantastic and you could tell how dedicated the staff are.

“The kids were really great and asked a lot of questions. Hopefully there will be a few who will be interested in getting involved in Rugby League in the future.

“Wooden Spoon are committed to helping a Rugby League legacy from the World Cup so I really do hope this has made a difference.”

Offiah has retained a strong interest in promoting his sport since retiring and maintained a keen interest in the fortunes of the national team during their run to the semi-finals.

And praising the success of RLWC2013 in capturing the public’s imagination so far, Offiah insisted it was important for those involved in the game to see the influence Rugby League was having away from the field through the charity.

“I know some of the players have come and seen some of the projects and that is really important for them. I guess it helps put things into perspective.

“The players enjoyed a fantastic tournament, and they were desperately unlucky to miss out on a place in the Final in the manner that they did.”

Wooden Spoon Capital Projects Director Brian Hodges was also in attendance and paid tribute to Offiah as well as the partnership.

“We are very grateful to Martin for coming down and showing his support for Wooden Spoon as it is invaluable for our ambassadors to see the good work,” said Hodges.

“The partnership with Rugby League World Cup 2013 has been brilliant in helping us raise the profile and push on helping more and more young people throughout the country.”

Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, is the official charity partner for Rugby League World Cup 2013. For more information visit www.woodenspoon.com

For further information please contact Sam Wakefield: samuel.wakefield@fasttrackagency.com07788 352002