|Brentford FC Appoint Anti-Racism Coaches|
New team of 8 to help tackle race crime in the borough
Budding footballers in the London borough of Hounslow are tackling xenophobia and kicking out racism as part of an innovative sport education programme.
Brentford Football Club has teamed up with Hounslow’s Community Safety Partnership, a collaboration of agencies including Hounslow Council and Hounslow Police, to deliver an education programme, which uses artwork, stories and photojournalism to illustrate xenophobia, race crime and its impact on victims.
Brentford FC has employed eight new coaches who will deliver the programme, as well as teaching football skills. Each coach will work in a different area of the borough, so the programme has the potential of reaching more young people.
Cllr Phil Andrews, Hounslow Council’s lead member for community safety, said, “Using football coaching as a vehicle to educate young people in subjects like race crime and xenophobia is an intelligent way of initiating discussion. Footballers are a role model for many young people and it is important for us as a society that messages are communicated in a way that will be respected and acted upon. ”
The programme that will be offered is called the Heartstone project. It uses photojournalism and storytelling to initiate dialogue with young people about racism and xenophobia. Resources that will be used include photographs of racist graffiti in parts of Hounslow and other boroughs in London.
Mark Green, community safety officer (race crime), said: “The purpose of this project is to get young people talking about their experiences of racism in the areas where they live, and looking at photographs helps to start those discussions. In addition, the project supports victims as they are able to share their experiences with others and challenge the behaviour of perpetrators, as it is likely that both will be part of a group.”
The Brentford coaches will also be taking the programme to children in neighbouring boroughs including Ealing and Richmond.
Research by Heartstone has shown if the materials are used for at least 30-60 minutes a week it can reduce racist bullying by 60%.
December 26, 2008