How a local football charity supports their community

Man looks just past camera

BRIDGE the Gap are a charity based in Southampton that aims to support and build communities between men aged 18 to 35 through football.

The primary way they develop their communities and relationships nationwide is by hosting weekly, non competitive, six-a-side sessions that places participants on random teams and anyone can join.

This has meant many first year university students who are looking for new friends or new community have attended sessions.

Furthermore, to make the sessions as accessible as possible players are charged £4 on entry.

This more casual style of football has become appealing to people in the local area, as of September around 30 players were turning up each week (which is 20 less than the 50 player cap), however by January there were more than 80 players at one session.

Speaking on why the sessions have gained popularity, founder Tristan Lury said: “The space we provide has open access to anyone and allow you to come and play.

“If you are away for a week it does not matter as there is no commitment and people keep on bringing their friends.”

Since the organisations creation by Lury in 2019 it has expanded to new locations and churches across England and Wales, as well as bringing in West Ham defender Ben Johnson as an official ambassador.

This rapid growth has given Lury the ambition to open 50 Bridge the Gap locations by 2026.