AN MP has praised a project supported by former Albion player Charlie Oatway which helps young people turn their lives around.

Hove MP and former shadow education minister Peter Kyle visited the Extra Time project run by the Russell Martin Foundation (RMF), a charity run by the Brighton-born former professional footballer, to speak to young people and staff on the project.

The project supports families and young people between the ages of 11 and 14-years-old suffering from a range of problems, including anxiety and depression.

Mr Kyle said: "Projects like Extra Time are absolutely vital to helping young people across our city, who for a variety of reasons, are struggling with school and education.

"It is even more important when you consider the huge impact coronavirus and lockdowns have on their mental health.

"What struck me most from being here and speaking to the young people was how much the staff provide a safe and positive space for the students to rebuild their confidence and equip them to go back to school."

Staff at the foundation work closely with them over 12 weeks to improve their confidence whilst also teaching core school subjects including Maths, English and Science.

The project, which supports 20 secondary schools in West Sussex and ten in Brighton and Hove, also provides a mentoring scheme for students when they return to school.

Charlie Oatway, former Albion midfielder and first team coach, experienced his own problems at school before becoming a professional footballer and works as a family liaison officer for the project.

He said: "The kids that come to our centres are dealing with a whole of range of issues and situations in their lives which makes it difficult for them to engage with school, so it's really important that we give them the right support and environment here.

"I can relate to what they are going through because on my own experiences and I think that helps in terms of building trust and giving them confidence they need."

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