London Mayor Sadiq Khan Rejects Met-Track For a Third Time
Met-Track CEO, John Powell MBE, has expressed his profound disappointment at the charity's application for support from the London Mayor's 'Young Londoners Fund' being rejected for a third time.
One of the most successful projects of its kind in the capital, whose vast experience over more than 15 years in turning round the lives of thousands of young Londoners, must now face the potential reality of closure in 2020.
"Our funding from the National Lottery Community Fund reduces year on year and is due to conclude in August," explained John, "so right now things are looking pretty bleak.
"There are some excellent schemes going on in London that fully deserve funding, but we are one of the most experienced, and have consistently delivered some frankly outstanding results.
"The Mayor says he is committed to reducing knife crime and the toxic gang culture that has invaded our city. Yet where was he when one of our students was stabbed to death in Hillingdon recently? Where is his support for a project that has attracted plaudits at the highest level including Lord Sebastian Coe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, and a host of international sports stars, let alone some of the Mayor's own City Hall projects!
"We are a multi-agency concern working with numerous partners ranging from several sports national governing bodies to the Police and HM Prison Service. Strange how these organisations whose resources are already massively stretched, are willing to engage with a charity such as ours, yet City Hall is not.
"Our official launch as a registered charity last December was, ironically, in the Mayor's own back yard in City Hall, attended by several of his staff, notably the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), and his Countering Violence and Extremism project staff. All expressed admiration for our work.
"Projects failing to gain funding have been given generic feedback, yet not one of the points they highlighted could conceivably apply to our application. We have been showered by teachers and supporters asking why on earth such a successful project could be rejected by the man who is supposed to be in charge of our city, let alone three times over."
Met-Track was founded by CEO John Powell whilst he was still serving as a Police Superintendent in London, combining his skills and experience as an international level sprints coach. It didn't take long before demand saw it expand all over London.
Initial funding from the Met' ran out as austerity cut in, but the project was rescued by the National Lottery in 2013, and its 3-year deal was later extended for another four.
"People see that we are funded by the Lottery and think we're ok," John continued, "but we have to raise an increasing percentage of match funding ourselves, and the current 25% of operating costs being supported runs out completely at the end of the current academic year.
"Gaining a third grant from the Lottery would be an extremely challenging exercise and, as I understand it, would be highly unusual. Without significant support in the next few months, the Mayor can look forward to saying goodnight to Met-Track."