Watford Football Club’s Community Sports and Education Trust (Trust) welcomed secondary school pupils to their community hub in North Watford – Meriden Community Centre – for a unique community event as part of their delivery of the Premier League Inspires programme. The day, full of impactful conversations and activities, saw students from Bushey Meads School, Falconers School, and The Reach Free School attend ‘Safe Space: Tackling Tough Conversations’.
The students worked in rotating small groups, taking part in a range of workshops, talks with inspirational speakers, as well as physical activity sessions delivered by Beast Boxing Academy. This gave the young people the opportunity to have open and honest conversations about topics they might not regularly get the chance to discuss, with experts in the field from Dignify, Impressionable Minds and GamCare. Topics included gambling and gaming addiction, sexualised languages and behaviour, drugs and county lines, as well as physical and mental wellbeing. Local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and the Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team were also in attendance, offering their support.
The Trust’s Community Project Manager (Young People), Lucy Tearle, reflected on the day:
“Events like these are so vital to empowering and educating the young people engaged in our programmes about local societal issues and how to make more positive choices. This day allowed those difficult topics to be discussed outside of a classroom environment in a safe place. I hope that we can continue running more of these opportunities and engaging even more young people.”
Russell Symons of Impressionable Minds added:
“It is amazing to see the hard work the Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust team put in. I have followed the Trust over several years and I am in awe of the dedication and creative thinkers behind the scenes making a positive difference to the lives of young people in the local community.
I jumped at the opportunity to work with students from Bushey Meads School, Falconer School and The Reach Free School at part of the Watford FC Inspires Programme. The young people fully engaged with a really sensitive topic and were respectful throughout. They took part in discussions and interactive sessions to explore drugs & alcohol, mental health and county lines. It is really important that we equip young people with the skills and knowledge around these subjects to build better futures. Thank you for having me.
Another partnering organisation Dignify also spoke of the success of the event, with Helen Roberts commenting:
“Dignify is always delighted to partner with Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust and January’s day in the Meriden was no exception. Tackling tough conversations is something many people avoid; with young people overlooking it. The tough conversations were made accessible, and the young people were accepted and welcomed. The range of conversations was diverse, and the schedule was fast paced which helped keep young people equipped and engaged. We were glad to be part of it and hope there will be more events like this for Dignify to partner with the Trust.”
This event was part of Premier League Inspires – a curriculum-based programme which aims to give young people aged 11-25 years, the skills, resources, and opportunities to reach their full potential in life. The programme focuses on improving confidence, developing skills, gaining knowledge, and creating a positive attitude. It can be adapted and tailored to the needs, abilities, and outcomes of young people and is available for free to all secondary schools or educational establishments. This programme aspires to create a safe space to have open and honest conversations about things that may be affecting young people now and in the future.
If you want further information on any of our work with local young people, then please get in touch with Lucy by emailing email@example.com. You can find out the work of the Trust by visiting their website at www.watfordfccsetrust.com or following @WFCTrust on social media.