A Hangberg man hopes to see his new initiative take off after he secured new premises at the Hout Bay Harbour.
Ricardo Phillips started The Hout Bay Leopards in 2017, first as a soccer club, but then it slowly developed into so much more.
“I have always had a passion for working with kids, working with our future and making sure our kids have a safe space for them to explore and grow,” he said.
In 2019, they officially shifted focus to become a youth development programme, concentrating on after-school programmes which were attended by many of the Hangberg children.
“Creating opportunities for our youth to dream the impossible and keep them motivated for positive change is what we hope to achieve,“ Mr Phillips said.
They often host up to 100 children a day.
In October 2021, they secured their own premises at the Hout Bay Harbour, sharing the space with other NGOs in and around Hout Bay.
“Our youth always need a place to go to and the centre is about creating opportunities and working together with different organisations to make sure kids get trained in the skill they good at,“ Mr Phillips said.
He added that many children see their parents leaving their homes during the early hours of the morning, only seeing them in the evening again. The Hout Bay Leopards collects the children after school, keeping them occupied until they are required to go home to their parents.
“We’re also keeping these kids safe and off the streets, because who knows what they can get up to, which is why we make sure to collect them and keep them busy,” Mr Phillips said.
He said the programme had already developed new coaches, aged 16 years, training to become professional coaches, as well as players having joined semi-pro clubs through their programme.
“The programme gives these children the opportunity to use their talents and we make them better people to go out there and conduct themselves in the proper manner, equipped with the know how and knowledge to be able to survive out there,” Mr Phillips explained.
To get in touch with the Hout Bay Leopards, contact Ricardo Phillips on 073 975 7533 or visit their Facebook page for more details.