Over 6,500 young people reached through PFCC funded football programme
A football club is using its popularity and respect among young people to share hard-hitting safety messages.
Colchester United Community Foundation carries out outreach work in the name of the football club, focusing on health, participation, education and inclusion.
The work, which aims to inspire, enrich and unite communities, is carried out via a range of programmes aimed at young people.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) has contributed £12,000 to Colchester United Community Foundation in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2022-2023 Community Safety Development Fund to carry out its community safety projects, including –
- Fly Like an Eagle…12-week one to one motivational mentoring scheme in schools, gives young people an opportunity to identify their goals and objectives, to recognise negative behaviour and the impact it could have on their future, such as not going to school.
- Many Minds, One Heart…mental health presentation in schools, to explain the importance of looking after our mental health and how mental health affects overall wellbeing, choices and behaviour. Gives young people simple steps to take to support their mental health.
- Unite Our Communities…extremism presentation in schools, to show young people the impact of race-related crime and prejudice, how to be part of a cohesive society and how they can support others and improve social integration.
- Unite Against Knife Crime…school presentation to raise awareness of the effects of knife crime on communities, to help young people to understand County Lines and to inform them of the support networks around them.
Since the PFCC begun funding the work in 2019, more than 6,500 young people have been reached.
PFCC Roger Hirst said: “Football teams, by their very nature, attract followers, including young people who carry a high level of respect for those wearing their favoured shirt. By using that level of attention for good in this way, the football club is helping to share extremely important messages and life lessons to our young people.”
Ed King, health and inclusion manager, said: “Whenever Colchester United walk into a room, young people stop and listen, especially those who are hard to reach and young males who may disengage with others. With us, they are going to pay attention and listen. They have a relationship with the Colchester United badge and so they sit up and take notice.
“That is why schools are really keen to work with us. We go in in our tracksuits and the young people are interested in what we have to say. Football club charities are so crucial for that reason. There is a need for it. Football has a power to engage people.
“The aim of this work is to spread awareness to as many young people in the area as we can. These are very important messages in terms of community safety, so we want to give the opportunity for young people to access our programmes to support them in their extra-curricular lives.”
Of the PFCC funding, Ed said: “The funding is crucial for us to continue the work we are doing and to have that impact on young people. It allows us to deliver our educational workshops, to promote safe behaviours and for young people to learn key life skills which help them in life outside of school.
“Our partnership with the PFCC enables us to continue to develop young people in our area. It is fantastic for us to have that opportunity.”