Leyton Orient Kickstarted the new year with a community get together for 13 local homeless guests, along with a number of community stalwarts and young people.
Former West Ham United starlet and Dagenham and Redbridge legend Anwar Uddin came up with the idea of a New Years Day get together for a diverse group of people and teamed up with the O’s Community Liaison Officer Howard Gould and Stepney FC coach Emdad Rahman to organise the special day.
So a New Years Day lunch and football event was organised within the clubs brilliant and enterprising community hub to host guests who were provided tea, coffee, lunch, and sweet treats, before taking part in the pre match pitch flag bearing parade and players welcoming guard of honour.
At half time the young people were invited onto the pitch where they were presented a club scarf by Anwar before joining the Chief Executive Danny Macklin for a group photo and penalty shootout with club mascot Theo the Wyvern.
FSF Diversity and Campaigns manager and Glebe FC boss Anwar commented, “Today is a new year and what better way to showcase the impact of football than to bring people together. The festive period and new year is a time of great happiness but we often forget there are others who are less privileged – Who experience things like personal difficulties, financial problems and even struggle to have a roof over their heads.
“It’s about involving everyone and letting people experience normality – I think we’ve achieved that today.”
Leyton Orient Community Liaison Officer Howard Gould added, “It’s a great pleasure for us all at Leyton Orient to host the group here today and hopefully it will be a very happy year for all. We have a great reputation as a community club and this fun day and all its activities will hopefully be the beginning of a great 2019.”
Amongst the guests was MFA Zaman who overcame homelessness to become an anti homeless campaigner and charity volunteer. He concluded, “Homelessness can affect anybody. Most of the guests here today are proud people who have simply been unlucky in life.
“Today I’ve met a few fellow guests who didn’t even eat, they just enjoyed the game and left. I would like to thank Anwar and the Leyton Orient for providing us with such a great and unforgettable memory.”
In the battle of the two former Tottenham stars Justin Edinburgh’s O’s move four points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League after Macauley Bonne’s 32nd-minute header sealed the win against Peter Taylor’s Daggers in E10.