All People Active are a community investment company working within the deprived estates in Milton Keynes (e.g. Lakes, Beanhill and Netherfield). They were established due to the Directors identifying a need from Young People for more affordable sport and physical opportunities within the area. They identified that there was a lot of private provision for example leisure centres and commercial providers but to a lot of young people this is seen as inaccessible because of cost. They also identified a lack of provision for young people who are inactive.
In the summer of 2018 All People Active completed consultations with young people on specific estates in Milton Keynes to find out the barriers young people faced when they wanted to be active and the types of activities they would like to do. Once this information was sourced All People Active then started to forge relationships with local partners such as Leisure Providers and the Council, which is where the idea for this football session was born. The local authority identified a group of 15-18 year old male asylum seekers and refugees who wanted to do more physical activity and saw the benefits that this could have in making them feel part of the community by building friendships and confidence. Their Youth Worker had already established a group together and held regular meetings over food to talk through issues. At these meetings it was identified among the young people that they had a strong interest in football and the Youth Worker thought it would help engage them in the programme that she had planned, to help develop their self confidence, communication and independent living.
A football session was then added to the same evening as their planned meetings and this was held at Sport Central, MK. This venue is in one of Leaps priority areas which has been identified as an area having the greatest activity need. This venue was picked for the session because it is in the centre of Milton Keynes and close to the bus station. The facility consists of top quality 3G pitches and All People Active were keen for the young people to experience the high quality facilities so they feel part of the community and give their self esteem a boost from feeling that they deserve to use a top facility.
The group of young people the session are aimed at are 15 to 18 year old asylum seekers and refugees. To date 18 young people regularly attend these session. 88% of these young people live in one of Leaps top 6 priority areas, predominantly Woughton & Fishermead and Central MK. From speaking directly to the young people the main reason for inactivity was due to being new to this County so they do not know what opportunities exist. From completing motivation profile wheels with the group of young people it was found that the main motivations for attending the sessions was to feel good, followed by having fun and spending time with friends and family.
Impact of the sessions
James Gregory (Director of All People Active) has seen the following differences in the young people who attend the sessions-
- The young people are now more socially confident with each other and also towards the coach
- Their football ability has improved which has lead to increases in confidence. This is because everyone is similar ability and there are no outstanding players which might make the not so good players feel undermined.
- The belief the boys have in their own ability has increased
- Empathy and life skills have increased as the coach and session has created an environment where, its not all about winning and beating everyone.
- From playing as teams during the sessions and from the socialising at the end of each session the young people now feel like they belong to something worthwhile.
- Three of the young people at the start were identified as too good for the session and are now playing regularly for the men’s team which is straight after the young people’s session.
- Increases in confidence levels
- “The boys are newly arrived in MK with very little.... they started off quiet and now a group of friends that they call their own”
Saleh (19 year old participant)
- He was not very active before the sessions started as he didn’t know where to go and didn’t haveany friends to go with. He has always had a love for football as he used to play in his home country, which is why he decided to attend these sessions as well as the desire to get fit.
- At the sessions he feels good and enjoys it because all his friends come together and it’s a good opportunity so see everyone.
Male (17 year old participant)
- He was inactive previously as he did no physical activity. In his spare time he use to watch YouTube and enjoyed playing the PlayStation. Being active was not on his radar.
- He attended the sessions as his Carers felt it would be good for him
- The benefits he has found of attending the sessions includes- “gets out my stress” and “fun time with friends”
- Family and friends have noticed a difference as “now go and do sport where before I would just be in my room"
Male (19 year old participant)
- “When taking part in sessions I feel good”
- “Football has increased my confidence”
- Since coming to Milton Keynes he has been inactive even though at home he used to play all the time- “I love football”
- He has inspired a lot of people to be active as he is the organiser of the boys who attend the local college and ensures everyone knows what time the taxi is coming to pick them up and are in the right place at the right time.
- He is keen to take more responsibility and help lead the sessions.
Other feedback from young people-
- “I love playing football and look forward to coming to Sports Central. It helps me stay healthy and improvemy football skills from a qualified coach”
- “I feel more a part of society as I get to other things like Christmas party, summer Eid party, football tournaments and trips”
For more information on the project please click here