The Rio Ferdinand Foundation and our partners at Active Communities Network have been working hard with 16 young people currently studying at UTC Media City to complete a Level 1 Developing Community Activities for Youth at Risk qualification. Young people took part in a two-day training course in January, which aimed at enhancing their personal and professional skills to prepare them for their post-college endeavours. Through attending classes and participating in group activities and presentations, these promising individuals learnt about ways to improve underdeveloped communities, how to establish partnerships and conduct risk assessments, and how to build their leadership skills to help shape them into positive role models.
Aside from completing the two-day course, our youth leaders were required to implement what they learnt through taking part in 10 hours of work experience at the Manchester Regional Arena. RFF partners at Active Communities Network provided our young leaders with the opportunity to participate in a multi-sports camp during the February Half term in which they could assist qualified coaches with training young people aged 5-11 in a variety of sports including basketball, cycling, athletics, boxing, tennis, squash and rugby. ACN’s Project Manager Jamie Lees noted that “The volunteers learnt a lot about themselves through this experience. They were able to build their confidence, self-esteem, and enhance their communication skills, as well as gaining valuable work experience at an iconic sports venue”.
To get a better idea on what our programme meant to the volunteers, we spoke to 14-year old volunteer Giovanni Laylor who helped coach squash and basketball. He said: “this opportunity definitely helped me build my confidence. I was a bit apprehensive at first but when I saw that the young people were actually listening to me, it made me feel good and I felt more like a leader than an assistant! The course helped me to understand what it means to be a role model and the work placement gave me an opportunity to put everything I learned into practice – it was really great for my c.v too!” Volunteer Kira Wilcock also felt like the course helped her build her personal and professional skills and when asked about a key highlight she said “I felt so good about myself after I taught one young person how to ride a bike. I went home and told my mom about it and she said she was really proud of me!”
Overall, the volunteers did a great job at implementing the skills they learnt throughout the course and made a great impression on all the event organisers. Programme Coordinator Danny said that he was very impressed with the level of commitment and involvement of the young volunteers as they assumed more of a leadership role through actively engaging with the young people. He also stressed on the importance of volunteering and said that it’s something he still does today. Given the positive experiences associated with volunteering, students will have more opportunities to participate at upcoming events such as the All Girls Football Tournament on April 28, and The Indoor Biking Tournament taking place from May 30-June 3.
The strategic partnership between ACN, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, and other organizations is what led to the success of this event. Project Manager Jamie of ACN quoted: “We want to continue to work alongside the Rio Ferdinand Foundation in the future, partnership working is vital to the successful delivery of our programmes and we hope to provide more accredited qualifications and work experience opportunities for young people.”
Programme Manager of RFF Victoria would like to thank our partners ACN and UTC. We are very proud of the commitment and hard work from all our volunteers. Finally, a big thank you to our funders Tony Lloyd Police and Crime Commissioner of Greater Manchester Police.