Our recent expansion to the North West of England gathered pace with our first reward trips seeing over 30 young people go to Manchester United matches at Old Trafford during January.
The trips were facilitated by Manchester United and England International footballer Chris Smalling, who is a big supporter of the FBB programme. The young people who attended were hugely grateful for the opportunity to watch United, and all of us at FBB would like to send our huge thanks to Chris for supporting our work.
For many of the participants it was their first trip to Old Trafford and as they came off the bus near Old Trafford one of the group of year eight and nine students could be heard stating “I can’t believe this is really happening!” Their faces were full of smiles.
“We had barely even seen anything and the young people were already cheerful!” FBB Project Lead Matt Fejos said. “Being able to elicit such an immediate sense of happiness is truly something special.”
The group was mesmerised by the sight of the stadium as it filled with more and more people. Once the players stepped foot on the field, and Chris Smalling was within their vision, the young people began to roar!
The first match saw participants from Stockport Academy watch Manchester United against Brighton.“The kids were completely mesmerized the entire time – not a single one took their eyes off the match,” Fejos said. “They each were talking to each other about how they were going to recreate those shots later that week.”
The match served to kickstart a writing project which will see the students produce match reports. Discussing the importance of the events like these that FBB organises for young people, Fejos reflects on an impactful experience he had as a boy.
“My father took me to watch Man United when we were on holiday from New Zealand 20 years ago, and I even remember doing a creative writing project off it too,” Fejos said. “These memorable experiences linked to our passions can have the most meaningful impact. They are great to use to illicit learning experiences and it can be these experiences that lights passions and dreams in young people. It certainly did for me 20 years ago.”
FBB utilises the universal passion for football to drive young people to be the best versions of themselves. Football trips can harness the power of sport to show young people the inherent capabilities they possess.
“There are many kids who are disengaged learners and for whom school isn’t working, and outings like these can be so critical to a young person’s life,” Fejos said. “My goal is to help develop their passion for football, ignite a spark within them and give them new experiences. FBB definitely uses the unique power of football for good in this respect.”