Opportunity for participants to get behind the scenes at Preston North End
Future U, a programme to support school students to progress into higher education, teamed up recently with Preston North End (PNE) to show a group of young people how to develop a career in football and also learn about studying at university.
Theo Blackburn, outreach worker from Future U and James Stansfield, inclusion coach at PNE delivered the sessions at the football ground. At the event, students from schools and colleges across Preston also received a stadium tour prior to the match and had a penalty shootout at half time.
The session was also part of a programme called Kicks, which is the Premier League’s flagship initiative and is funded by the League and Sport England. It sees fully qualified coaches from Preston North End Community and Education Trust deliver footballing sessions to those from deprived areas or hard to reach groups in Preston.
James Stansfield, inclusion coach at PNE, said: “It was a fantastic event and I enjoyed being able to give some of our most dedicated Kicks participants the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at Preston North End.
“Future U along with our education department delivered fantastic workshops surrounding further opportunities for our Kicks participants and I’d really love to see them wearing the PNE kit and representing us with pride in the future.”
"Listening to the talk on education at Preston North End made me think about what I want to do when school finishes and sounds a really good chance to be involved with a club I love."
Future U, a £2.2 million Lancashire initiative, is led by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and involves institutions and organisations across the county, including Lancaster University, Edge Hill University, the University of Cumbria, Blackburn College, Myerscough College and West Lancashire College.
A network of 53 schools, in addition to colleges, higher education providers and local agencies work together to create activities tailored to the needs of their own.
The programme received funding from the Office for Students (OfS) as part of its £60 million National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).
NCOP is a national network of local partnerships which provides higher education outreach to young people from years nine to 13 in areas across England where higher education participation is lower than expected.
Connor Brown, from Parklands High School, who took part in the Future U event said: “When I first started attending Kicks, I didn’t realise I’d get the chance to go to a North End game and play on the pitch at half time. I was buzzing! I’ve always supported PNE, so I really enjoyed seeing the different things that go on, especially stuff that you don’t see when you’re just a fan in the stands.
“Listening to the talk on education at Preston North End made me think about what I want to do when school finishes and sounds a really good chance to be involved with a club I love. I had a good night and really hope there’s another opportunity to do something like this again.”