On Thursday afternoon, Stevenage FC defenders Terence Vancooten and Luther James-Wildin joined Stevenage FC Foundation at Fairlands Primary School to help deliver No Room for Racism workshops to Year 5 pupils…
The workshops were delivered in line with the Premier League’s No Room For Racism campaign and allowed the pupils to discuss the topic with the class and the players.
As part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme, the duo supported the workshops on allyship and the importance of being an ally. The pair moved from table to table, sparking conversation and understanding what being an ally means to the children. The players also spoke to the children about what being a good ally means to them and how it impacts their daily lives as footballers.
Terence Vancooten spoke openly about the importance of participating in workshops like this. “As footballers, we know a lot of young people look up to us and want to be like us. Being here today was important because they’re hearing it from a different voice, rather than a teacher, parent or whoever.
“If it’s in football or just everyday life, giving them information on how to deal with racism and discrimination is so important.
“I think it’s great these kids are learning about how to talk about racism or any sort of discrimination and how to stop it in the future”.
As part of the workshop, the children pledged how they would help make their school community and the wider community of Stevenage a more inclusive and equal place for all. The pupils then shared their ideas with the players and the rest of the class.
Luther James-Wildin said this about today’s workshop: “It was so good to see what we saw today. Young people talking about how to be an ally and the importance of being an ally to those who may be discriminated against.
“Workshops like this are so important to teach young people, make them aware as early in life as possible, so they can hopefully identify it and change what is currently happening in the world.
“I was really impressed with some of the pledges that the children created, knowing they wanted to make a real difference to their community”.
Luke Wilkins, Primary Education Officer at Stevenage FC Foundation, had this say:
“Today was a big step forward for us as we are educating the next generation on an important topic that can be difficult to discuss – but one that holds a great weight in society.
“Days like these have a huge impact on the lives of the children. To have First Team players come in to support the workshop and speak with the children so openly on the importance of being an ally and how they can be an ally is such a powerful tool to have”.
Mrs Pollen, a teacher at Fairlands Primary School, said the workshops were a real success and highlighted the importance of their relationship with Stevenage FC Foundation.
“The No Room For Racism workshop with Luke, his team and the players from Stevenage FC was an excellent way to reinforce a compelling and important message to the children within our school.
“Fairlands always strives to be an inclusive school that promotes the key message of ‘No One Is The Same, But We Are All Equal.
“Today’s workshop was a brilliant reinforcement of this message in the context of racism. It allowed our children to reflect on their actions and how they can positively support others and celebrate diversity”.
Nathaniel, a pupil from one of the Year 5 classes, shared his thoughts on the workshop.
“The workshop was really good because it reminded us how important the anti-racism message is and how we can promote it with our own behaviour. I will play my part by speaking up if I see racism happening”.