1. Skip to content

September - York City Football Club

Phil from York City said: "The idea for the sessions started from working in partnership with the local youth service where their local knowledge of young people inspired the idea to develop football sessions in deprived areas and use the branding by York City Football Club (YCFC) to attract young people.

We developed a model where the coach would "walkabout" within the area directly prior to the session, this time would be used to build rapport and encourage them to join the football activities. Participation was also encouraged through bring a friend reward systems (including free tickets to games). These various reward systems also encourage them to keep coming back to the sessions. The aim of the rewards are to help with the moral of the groups as well as rewarding them for positive behaviour with in the community.

Using this model to engage young people meant our sessions are tailored to the young people's needs and wants. We ask the participants regularly what they would like from the sessions and how they would like the sessions to flow. They choose the pitch sizes, teams and the rules of the sessions which allows them freedom to design the sessions themselves.

The club is aimed at 11 – 25 year olds who are disengaged in local sport and/or the community. The sessions are within at areas where anti-social behaviour has been identified as a problem, we aim to get people active within a safe and controlled environment.

To market the session we use social media (developed with the young people who participate). Flyers & posters (these are particularly handed to the police and other partners who may refer young people to our sessions). There are also the walk around chats with the young people as mentioned above.

To encourage participation within our sessions we ensure the main aim is enjoyment and building relationships as mentioned above the young people play a major part in structuring these sessions. The sessions also allow the young people to express themselves through sport and to socialise with coaches, volunteers and each other. They can also express themselves through our dedicated social media channels. The sessions also offer an opportunity to speak with staff over any issues that they may have such as relationship issues, drug use and smoking cessation

We will sustain the club with further marketing and promotion including targeting specific groups/areas of young people in conjunction with our local partners. We will also do local press releases and local PR events over the summer to help sustain the project.

We are aware that a young person's motivations and needs can change over time, through our close relationships with other local sports/activity providers we will help any young person stay active by supporting them to access a new club or activity.

We make this easy for the young people as we ask them what they would like to try where they are able to travel to so that we can help them access sessions and we will sometimes ring and arrange a date for the young person to go down or to find out as much information as possible including a contact name to enable the young person to feel confident to attend. We also try to inspire young people to offer them different opportunities such as 1st steps in to coaching workshops, work experience opportunities and also allowing them to become involved back in the programme as a Young Leader or Staff member.

Many participants entered our programme through referrals from the police/local authority. One participant has been involved with the police, since joining our sessions now volunteers within different projects we run, he has also set up his own KickAbout session. He has since given up smoking and is not involved with any anti-social behaviour.

"It was great to see so many youths attending the sessions this keeping them safe, fit and off the streets. It was good that some of the youths involved with Anti-Social Behaviour were attending on a weekly basis therefore keeping them out of trouble. It would be great to have more sessions on other areas of York as it's proving to be a great success."