Football Beyond Borders released this film in partnership with the National Youth Agency to call on the government to:
Back investment in youth work, creating opportunities with young people and mobilising 100,000 youth workers and trained volunteers across communities, boosted by the recruitment of 10,000 qualified youth workers within 5 years.
Protect youth services. Left unprotected, youth services have already been cut by over 70% in a decade. Greater support today saves long-term costs to the public purse. Youth work transforms young lives. Urgent action is needed to secure a national guarantee of regular youth work activities for all young people.
Sam is a qualified Youth Worker, having studied Youth and Community Work degree at Bolton University. Sam is interviewed throughout the film about what he does in his role as a youth worker, but he also reflects on his own upbringing, and how his experiences of being disengaged at school benefit his career in youth work. His experience as a Bolton-based practitioner, in the North West region, is vital local understanding which helps him connect with young people from the same community.
FBB works with young people who are passionate about football but disengaged at school, to help them finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood. We do this by providing long-term, intensive support, built around relationships and young people’s passions, in the classroom and beyond.
In the film, Sam meets one of his first mentors and colleagues, Leon Crosby, who explains what youth work means to him:
“The power of youth work is to explain to a young person that it’s OK to be vulnerable. Vulnerability based trust. I’m going to be vulnerable with you as a youth worker, and you’re gonna be vulnerable with me as a young person. And it’s there we can start talking about issues.”
Football Beyond Borders work with over 2000 young people nationwide. Students on their programme are 11 x more likely to receive their GCSEs in English and maths than those who are excluded from school and last year 95% of those who were imminently at risk of exclusion when they started working with them finished the year still in school.
Take Fernando. Fernando is creative, articulate and confident but throughout school he struggled with self-regulation which got him into a lot of trouble, and he ended up in a lot of fights. The football pitch was a space that led to more fighting. When FBB started working with him in Year 8, Fernando was deemed to be at risk of exclusion.
Fernando had few attachment figures in his life and severe mental health issues in his family. However, when he was enrolled onto FBB, he was immediately elevated to a central figure in the group due to his charisma, relational skills, leadership skills and footballing ability.
Fernando received many external opportunities through FBB, including workshops with EA Sports and Chris Smalling.
Through working with FBB practitioners Stefan and Lorenzo, Fernando became more self-aware and his self-regulation improved. He formed positive relationships with his teachers and his peers.
Fernando collected his GCSE results this summer. He achieved a Level 9 in English Literature and a Level 9 in Music. He passed all of his other GCSEs with Level 6s and 7s.
We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: