A dying father, who has dedicated his life to helping youngsters into employment, is making a final plea to Birmingham businesses to back a new pioneering charity founded in his name.
Matthew Kendall, from Kings Heath, has only a short time left to live as he battles incurable oesophageal cancer.
But friends and relatives have launched the Matt Kendall Foundation to help 16 to 25-year-olds find work and reach their potential.
“I couldn’t be more proud of it,” said father-of-one Matt.
“Hundreds of people have come to me and told me that I have made a difference to their lives, and equally I could say the same about them.”
“So I thought: ‘what a great way to take something bad and make something good out of it’.
“This could do more good than when I was alive – this could be the best opportunity I have to change young peoples’ lives for the better.”
The foundation hopes to tackle the huge barrier in the city where disadvantaged kids struggle to find a stepping-stone into employment.
With one of the youngest populations of any city in Europe, with 39 per cent under the age of 25, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high.
Despite the growing talent pool around 10 per cent of under 25-year-olds have no job- almost double the national average of 5.8 per cent.
With that in mind, Matt has dedicated his life to helping young people in deprived areas of the city through sport and mentoring.
And with the launch of the Matt Kendall Foundation, he hopes his vision will continue long after his passing.
The charity aims to provide grants for education and voluntary work in the hope of providing a vital boost into long term employment.
“It was my friends’ idea – I didn’t have the ego to do it” added Matt, aged 35. “This really will be a continuation of my life’s work and it is really important to know, before I go, that young people will be getting the help they need. My work has enriched me beyond what money can buy.”
Now Matt is urging any businesses who share his passion to come forward and invest in the foundation to help make his vision a reality for young people across the city.
Sophie Wilson, Trustee of the Foundation added: “Matt is a really inspiring person, and is really well known and respected across Birmingham. The foundation is in part about keeping his memory, and his way of empowering young people, alive. But it’s also far more than that.
“Birmingham can be one of the hardest places for young people to get a break and get into that job, that career or that training they need.
“We’re looking for local businesses who care about Birmingham and its young people to come forward now and pledge whatever they can to help us get the foundation started.”
For details email firstname.lastname@example.org.