The second Gillingham FC Street Soccer programme, currently being run in partnership between the Community Trust and the Street Soccer Foundation, has just passed the halfway mark.
The programme is working to support and develop young people in Medway and across Kent, who are currently experiencing homelessness and/or unemployment.
“We achieved solid outcomes from our inaugural programme with Gillingham FC with 8 young people graduating the course” said Keith Mabbutt, CEO, Street Soccer Foundation.
“Three young people went on to secure jobs, four became appointed Ambassadors and one is currently going through their professional coaching badges with a view to becoming a fully qualified football coach. We have a terrific new group of young people this time round, and we’re hoping for similar positive achievements when they graduate in mid-April.”
Nationally, more than 1 in 7 young people are currently unemployed in England and the number of young people who are homeless has tripled since 2014. In the Medway region alone, there are almost 1,500 young people currently claiming unemployment benefits.
Reece is one young participant on the Street Soccer programme who found out about the course from his local Job Centre. He currently claims Universal Credit but joined the programme because he wants to develop himself and learn more skills.
“I am finding the programme excellent and it has really helped me develop my own skills” he says. “They plan each session very well and I hope to be able to become a coach on graduating”.
Other young participants say the programme allows them to make new friends whilst providing them with a happy and positive environment. One member of the group, Liam, said: “It’s amazing, brilliant and outstanding… I love the Street Soccer programme and would recommend it to anyone!”
Last week course participants enjoyed a visit from two Employers, Metro Bank and IPS International, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. Both organisations spoke with the group about existing opportunities and how they can be applied for.
According to Government research, three-quarters of SMEs who employ apprentices report seeing improved productivity.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, said: “Apprenticeships give people of all ages and all backgrounds the skills they need to succeed. That is why more than 90% stay in employment after their scheme ends.”
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman said: “Taking on an apprentice makes good business sense. Small firms that do this provide young people with excellent practical on-the-job training, but also see a positive impact inside their own businesses. I encourage all small businesses to think about how apprenticeships might work for them too.”
Street Soccer CEO Keith Mabbutt is confident that with the help and engagement of the local Kent business community, the programme can achieve some fantastic results once again.
“Now we’re at the halfway point, we start to turn the key in terms of getting the group to really start thinking seriously about what they want to achieve from the course. We’re a team together, but fundamentally our goal is to achieve a positive outcome for each individual.”
SAVE THE DATE! The Street Soccer team is holding a fun Street Soccer Quiz Night for all Gills fans and local businesses on TUESDAY 18TH APRIL 2017. 7pm for a 7:30pm start. There will be a cash prize for the winning team and lots of other exciting prizes to be won on the night too! For details on how to enter your Quiz team please contact Rosie Paterson ASAP as places are limited. Tel: 01634 623400 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Quiz will take place at The Star Meadow Sports Club, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 2AA.