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A summer to savour for Street Reds

It's been a summer packed with memorable moments for our Street Reds participants who have enjoyed a variety of unique experiences.

| by Matthew Brown

The last month has been a busy one for our Street Reds participants. During the summer break, the youngsters enjoyed a host of impactful activities, experiencing everything from a trip to a prestigious football venue, to taking part in vital educational workshops that have helped our young people stay safe during summer.

Throughout the summer months, participants joined up with counterparts from clubs across the country for inter-club tournaments, including some that have been youth-led and others inspired by the Lionesses’ run to the final of the Women’s World Cup.

Young people have also taken wisdom from workshops with other organisations, to embrace feelings of positivity and self-expression, and learn about overcoming challenges in their own lives. The importance of staying safe when swimming in open water was also reinforced at a special exercise for our young people at Salford Quays.

The views of the Street Reds Youth Voice panel continue to be key to the programme, and they had a chance to look back on the summer activities at the end of the month, by offering their thoughts and opinions to help shape how sessions will look in the season ahead.

“It’s important that we continue to engage with our participants in the summer months, and that we reach them by providing a range of activities – both for enjoyment and educational purposes,” reflected Tom Sellers, Community Engagement Manager for the Foundation.

Our summer activities harnessed the feel-good nature of an action-packed summer of sport, including the Lionesses embarking on their sensational World Cup run. Girls from across our Street Reds sites played in a tournament of their own at The Cliff and then cheered on our national heroes together by watching England’s win against China on the big screen.

One of the participants, Harriet, 10, said: “I’ve enjoyed playing with different girls who I’ve not met before. It’s been an amazing day.”

Another, Emily, 10, added: “We’ve been playing in matches and now we’re watching England and eating lunch, which makes me happy.”

Girls from Street Reds also had the chance to play on the Old Trafford pitch earlier this summer, for the adidas pitch day. Continuing with the international theme, male participants experienced what it’s like to be an England player by visiting the national team training centre, St George’s Park.

Our young people took part in a training session with FA coaches, and had a guided tour of the world-class facilities, which included the chance to see silverware and memorabilia of past England teams and visit the players’ changing rooms.

There were a host of other tournaments during the summer, too, with young people having the chance to play against other PL Kicks participants from other nationwide clubs.

“It’s been a really good experience playing here,” said Lukas, 13, among the group who visited St George’s Park. “We’ve got to make good friends and learn how to play like we’re the Three Lions.”

Another participant at St George’s Park, Stephen, 13, added: “The coaches taught us new stuff that we didn’t already know and we got to play on really good quality pitches.”

Education has played just as prominent a role in our engagement with Street Reds youngsters in the summer. Solve, Centre for Youth Violence and Conflict, delivered a workshop to help our young people learn about dealing with difficult personal challenges and how they can overcome them, while focusing on developing positive mental traits.

Another experience saw young people learn the basics of staying safe in open-water, as well as learning how to reduce risks and incidents while in the water and developing life-saving skills.

“Our activities have exposed our young people to opportunities to gain new and important knowledge,” continued Tom, our Community Engagement Manager.

“Taking the young people out of the usual Street Reds environment and engaging with them in different and wide-ranging settings is also of great value, especially during the summer, when chances for them to take part in other activities might be limited.

“It’s been an enjoyable summer with some fantastic experiences, which we’re sure our young people will take with them into the future, as they continue to grow and develop.”

Sessions for the 2023/24 season will kick off at 19 sites across Greater Manchester beyond in September; click here to find out more.