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The Efe Obada Youth Camp Launches In South London Hosted By The NFL Foundation UK, The Greater London Authority And The Bigkid Foundation

Efe Obada, in partnership with the NFL Foundation UK, the Greater London Authority and the BIGKID Foundation, hosted a youth camp

Efe Obada, in partnership with the NFL Foundation UK, the Greater London Authority and the BIGKID Foundation, hosted a youth camp on Thursday 13th July in Crystal Palace, to showcase the positive impact of NFL Flag football on young people in South London.

Efe Obada, who grew up in South London and plays for the NFL club Washington Commanders, is an ambassador of the NFL Foundation UK and the BIGKID Foundation. 

During the event Obada was involved in guiding 150 children, comprising of BIGKID Foundation’s beneficiaries and local schools, alongside beneficiaries of other NFL Foundation UK community partners, through mindfulness and team building workshops, before engaging in NFL Flag training drills and an NFL Flag football game.

NFL Flag is one of the fastest-growing sports globally, empowering youth athletes around the world and instilling a lifelong passion for flag football. 

The non-contact format is fun, exciting, fast and accessible for all, with women and girls driving some of the fastest growth.  Flag football is currently played by more than 20 million people in more than 100 countries, by all ages and genders.

Efe Obada, in partnership with the NFL Foundation UK, the Greater London Authority and the BIGKID Foundation, hosted a youth camp

Debbie Weekes-Bernard (Deputy Mayor of London) attended the event along with prominent advocates for equal access to opportunities through youth sport, including, Phoebe Schecter (Team GB NFL Flag Player, IFAF and NFL Global Flag Ambassador and BIGKID Foundation ambassador), Shaninga Marasha (BIGKID Foundation Chief Executive), Henry Hodgson (NFL UK General Manager) and Afia Law (NFL International Flag Football Development & Youth Marketing Manager).

Also in attendance were NFL enthusiasts and high profile stars in sport and entertainment, including, former Watford striker, Troy Deeney and Top Boy actor, Nicholas Pinnock.

Both joined in the activities and showed they were just as skilled in flag football, with Deeney in particular, playing a starring role at Quarterback. 

The NFL Foundation UK launched in 2021 as part of the NFL’s international charitable endeavours and in partnership with the Mayor of London’s ‘Sport Unites’ fund that saw the duo commit a combined £1 million to deliver NFL Foundation UK’s work in the capital.

The partnership delivers NFL Flag Football programs, training, and equipment to help young people aged 12-20 access positive pathways and develop the skills, confidence, and self-belief to create their own future, impact society and reach their potential.

The program currently works with 15 community groups across 18 London boroughs, delivering youth football to engage over 4000 young people in the capital, 50% of which are female and 78% who are from a diverse ethnic background, helping underrepresented young people have equal access to opportunities.

Using the power of sport it reaches communities to help achieve positive outcomes for young people around education, employment, building inclusive communities and improving physical and mental wellbeing.

The BIGKID Foundation is a community charity on a mission to end social exclusion and youth violence in communities across London through sports engagement, leadership programmes, and mentoring support.

Since 2018 it has been running Flag Football initiatives and it works across 24 schools delivering the sport at a grassroots level.

During 2022, it worked with over 2,500 young people and recorded in its annual survey that 79% improved their well-being as a result of its services.

Efe Obada, Britain’s current longest-serving NFL player commented, “I grew up in South London, so this is a homecoming for me and I’m able to give something back to my community.

I only began playing American football at the age of 21, so working with the NFL Foundation UK and the BIGKID Foundation to help provide more opportunities, in a sport that I love, and especially with flag football, brings me a lot of joy.

The future looks bright and I love seeing the positive impact it can make on kids’ lives.  I can’t wait to see more South Londoners in the NFL in the future.” 

Shaninga Marasha, BIGKID Foundation Chief Executive, said, “Working with NFL UK over the past few years, it has been wonderful observing how these young people are growing in confidence and the community they are forming through flag football.

Efe has been a great ambassador for us and seeing how he has flourished in the NFL will only inspire more children to follow their dreams.”

Debbie Weekes-Barnard, Deputy Mayor of London said, “Sport has the power to unite communities, inspire confidence and provide a positive platform for young people to express themselves and learn valuable life skills.

That’s why I’m delighted to be joining forces with the NFL, the BIGKID Foundation and London’s very own NFL star Efe Obada, to launch an exciting summer youth camp at Crystal Palace, providing young Londoners with the opportunity to learn and play flag football.

At City Hall we know the value of investing in young people and communities, and we will continue to work with partners and youth organisations across London to build a safer, fairer and more prosperous city, where no-one is left behind.”

Henry Hodgson, NFL UK General Manager, commented, “Sport has the potential to have a powerful influence on young people’s lives, and as part of the NFL Foundation UK program we are seeing first-hand how NFL Flag is impacting young people on and off the field. 

We are proud to partner with Efe Obada, the Mayor of London and the BIGKID Foundation in delivering this important work in the community and look forward to engaging more young people across the UK through the NFL Foundation UK in the years to come.”

To find out more about the work of the NFL Foundation and the community initiatives it supports across the UK, please visit

For more information on the BIGKID Foundation and its mission to end social exclusion and youth violence, please visit,