Football Beyond Borders and FourFourTwo team up to tackle social problems
Love football, but find school a challenge? Sounds very familiar to FourFourTwo, as we were always happier watching hours of Bundesliga than we were learning basic German (more volleys than verbs, if you like). Yet it’s kids who can’t get enough of football but, for various of reasons, struggle at school that Football Beyond Borders was created to help.
Their mission is to use the power of football to create a learning environment in which young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can develop the skills, attitude and character to succeed in education and wider life. Which is why FourFourTwo have partnered up to support them in 2018.
The brutal reality for football-crazy kids is that just 0.012% of young people playing organised youth football in England will succeed in becoming a Premier League player. So if not everyone can be a full-time professional, how do you harness that passion for football and help youngsters achieve their goals in other areas? This is how.
Football Beyond Borders work at schools and youth centres, using football to engage with young people. Programmes combine classroom-based learning – where literacy, creativity and problem-solving are examined through the prism of football – with character-focused football sessions.
They’ve not done it alone – and FourFourTwo is far from the only fan. Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, West Ham’s Mark Noble and Yannick Bolasie of Everton have all taken time out to meet Football Beyond Borders’ kids and even be interviewed by them.
Gary Neville has also been involved, hosting a fund-raising event for the charity. “Young people need to be taught differently,” the Neviller told FFT’s own Gary Parkinson recently. “We need to adapt as teachers, as parents and make them tougher. That means coaching them in different ways, making them more resilient, making them understand more, giving them more responsibility and making them independent thinkers.”
Football Beyond Borders helped over 600 young people in 2017. Their aim is to create an inclusive society in which every young person is provided with the support, skills and opportunities to become active and engaged citizens. We think they mean citizens as in ‘of society’ rather than ‘rapid Manchester City supporters’ – but it could well be both.