Matt Kendall, an inspirational and much-loved youth and development worker from Kings Heath in Birmingham, died from oesophageal cancer in May 2015, aged just 35.
Knowing that all treatment options were exhausted after a gruelling two and a half year battle, and that he didn’t have long, Matt used the last of his energy to set up the Matt Kendall Foundation. He was determind that his life’s work should continue, because “the job isn’t done.”
For almost twenty years Matt inspired communities in Birmingham to come together for the common good, and supported young people to realise their potential. His passion for the city, and for what people can do – together and individually when given a helping hand – changed hundreds of lives.
He made a huge impact in Aston, for example, which is one of the most deprived areas of our city. By empowering young people and those that do not have a strong and equal voice in society, barriers were broken down, people from all walks of life came together and the community re-energised itself, leading to more opportunities and a better quality of life for all.
Many of the numerous sports and community initiatives that he set up are now run for the community by the community, including the football league he set up for refugees, which has been renamed in his memory. Many awards were also presented at the 2015 Heart of Birmingham Awards in his honour.
Matt’s approach of empowering young people and communities also took him across the world. The Matt Kendall Foundation continues to enjoy support from people Matt helped in places as far away as Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Chile.
Matt is missed, but his positive energy and ability to change people’s life for the better has inspired many people. We all feel lucky to have known him. Matt’s values of integrity, equality, diversity and community collaboration live on through this Foundation, his family and all our supporters and friends.
As part of his legacy, the Matt Kendall Foundation which is run entirely by volunteers, embraces Birmingham’s cultural diversity and collaborates with other organisations to access and support young people. We are passionate about what we do and the difference that young people can make in their own lives and to the city of Birmingham.
We’re changing lives, just like Matt did.