FBB announces Chris Smalling as patron at launch of North West programme

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FBB announces Chris Smalling as patron at launch of North West programme

Yesterday was a very proud day for our organisation, as we officially launched our FBB Schools programme in the North West of England. Over 100 of our newest FBB participants from our 7 new partner schools in the North West took part in a football tournament and got the chance to meet Manchester United and England International footballer Chris Smalling, who was officially announced as a patron of FBB.

Chris Smalling was delighted to be a part of the launch and going forward he is tasked with helping to raise the profile of FBB in the North West, as well as supporting our fundraising efforts. Speaking to journalists at the launch, Chris said:

“Football Beyond Borders is changing lives – it’s changing mentality and belief through engaging and effective learning. We are living in a society which pigeon holes your ‘am I good enough’ mentality to a restrictive curriculum of English, Maths and Science. Football Beyond Borders opens up a young person’s landscape to creative industries and learning, establishing new beliefs in ability to succeed.

I am excited to be in a position to help the organisation expand and establish itself in the North West, having witnessed the difference it has made to the lives of young people in the South. Manchester has been my home for the last 9 years and the patronage offers me the opportunity to give back to those that have given me so much throughout my career at Manchester United.”

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Exactly five years ago, we delivered our first FBB  schools session at the Archbishop Lanfranc Academy in Croydon. Since then it has been a constant process of learning with many volunteers sacrificing huge amounts of time and energy to enable the next generation of young people to prosper.

FBB’s co-founder Jasper Kain said: “Launching in the North West of England marks an exciting new chapter in our journey. From when we first met with Chris, it was clear that our mission resonated with him, and that he wanted to play an active part in supporting our work. Five years since we started our first programmes in London, it’s a huge honour for us to be working in the North West and Chris Smalling’s involvement is a huge boost to our efforts to combat the issue of underachievement in schools for students from working class backgrounds.”

Speaking at the football tournament, Ruari, one of the young participants from Stockport Academy,  was delighted at being involved with FBB: “I feel so lucky to have gotten into it. It’s the best opportunity I’ve had in a long time and I’m very thankful for it. Already FBB has helped me with my self-confidence. People sometimes say I can’t do it, but now I say I can do it, and that’s thanks to FBB. Win or lose today, I’m happy to be a part of this programme.”

The football tournament was followed by a series of public presentations given by the different groups of participants at the 7 schools, who shared the final product of their first FBB Schools project. There was then a Q & A with Chris Smalling, hosted by two of the young people from Salford City Academy.

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Thanks so much to our special guest, Manchester United and England footballer Chris Smalling for becoming an FBB patron and for making these young people’s dreams come true. A huge thanks too to our partners Salford City AcademyUnited Learning for hosting us and making it possible.

Look out on our social media channels for updates on this story as there was a great deal of media outlets present covering the day. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates. 

If you would like to volunteer or find out more about our programme in the North West, please contact Jack Reynolds: jreynolds@footballbeyondborders.org