‘We need you’ – Leon Mann and Eniola Aluko send direct appeal at Football For All as FBB celebrates first graduation day

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‘We need you’ – Leon Mann and Eniola Aluko send direct appeal at Football For All as FBB celebrates first graduation day

Football Beyond Borders kicked off its third annual Football For All event in different style this year. FBB co-director Jasper Kain had to take a deeper, midfield role as one of our first FBB Schools graduates, Matthew Young, took centre stage hosting star guests Chelsea and England forward Eniola Aluko and leading journalist Leon Mann.

In front of a packed room of 250 guests at Amnesty International’s HQ, with Sky Sports presenter David Garrido and Copa 90’s Eli Mengem in the audience, Matthew – alongside fellow Archbishop Lanfranc student and FFEM participant Andrea – led an evening of debate, celebration and reflection showcasing just how far FBB has come in three years.  

Sky Sports’ leading Spanish football expert and FBB patron Guillem Balague chaired three live debates, with participants as young as 10 putting forward their reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi should be FBB’s next patron, while advanced screenings of the latest FBB TV projects helped mark the YouTube channel’s landmark 100th film, which it completed in October.

‘Welcome to the future’ is a motto Leon Mann lives by, and having already introduced FBB participants to Everton midfielder Yannick Bolasie, Mann sent an appeal to all our young people in the audience.

“We need you,” said Mann. “We really need you, because at the moment we have a sports media that is incredibly undiverse, where he have a lot of one positionality. What we need to tell stories in more engaging ways and representative ways is to get you guys involved.”

England international Eniola Aluko spoke about her impact as a female footballer. “When I was growing up I didn’t have female role models in football. It was the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena that I looked up to, but they didn’t play my sport. Hopefully now, that’s what I am to a young girl that plays football.”

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Head of our new digital agency FBB Productions, Nick Connell, then spoke about the FBB Productions social enterprise we set up at the turn of the year with seed funding from the Bromley by Bow Centre, and how we can help deliver on Mann’s appeal with our new FBB TV Youth Voices digital training programme.

FBB TV Youth Voices aims to provide the support, skills and public platform to 12 young people to make their voices heard, allowing us to really increase the level of youth participation in all of our digital work. The youngsters will be filming monthly studio shows at Copa 90’s studio as well as other studios, plus other features and social media content – all in a bid to develop skills and create future job opportunities for these young people.

Nick said: “With FBB Youth Voices we’re especially looking for media professionals to help out with the training, reward visits and work placements for the team, and we’re also very interested in speaking to potential sponsors. Just imagine your brand featuring alongside this fresh, youth-created media!”

It’s been a year which has seen us take our participants on three football tours, have one of our youth leaders travel to Barcelona to meet Neymar and see our first ever year group graduate with certificates from Guillem Balague, but with more help we could offer even more opportunities for young people.

“The past year has been a huge one for us,” said Jasper Kain. “We have doubled our programmes and are now working with over 300 young people each week. We are piloting our first project in Cardiff and have plans to expand into further UK cities in the coming year.”

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Join the FBB Family – Become a supporter!

It is the generosity of our supporters that makes all of this possible and allows us to offer our participants once-in-a-lifetime reward visits and international tours. It was amazing to see so many FBB monthly supporters in the audience last night and we were delighted that many more of you pledged to become FBB monthly supporters on the night. We had a target of thirty new monthly supporters, and we are almost there!

This is an amazing contribution and gets us almost all the way to being able to provide the reward visits and tours for our three new FBB Schools programmes. We would love to reach our target of thirty new supporters to fully fund these reward visits for the entire year. Help us achieve this!

If you haven’t already pledged or didn’t get a chance to return your pledge card, you can make that possible in 60 seconds by clicking here