Changing lives through Football Staff Exchange
From 8 to 10 October, staff members from Feyenoord Foundation, Aberdeen FC Community Trust, PFC Ludogorets 1945, Vitesse Betrokken, KAS Eupen, Inter Campus, Legia Foundation, Saints Foundation and KAA Gent Foundation came together to share their experiences, best practice educational programmes and practical sessions during a 3-day EFDN Staff Exchange at Feyenoord Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The Exchange was funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Union.
Introducing clubs and practical sessions on Day 1
The “Changing lives through Football” Staff Exchange kicked off with a warm welcome by Martyn Rijkhoff from EFDN. After the introduction of EFDN, each club presented the work of their club’s foundation and the community projects they deliver.
Aberdeen FC Community Trust kicked off with a presentation of their physical activity projects and Inter Campus presented their didactic plan to support children. After the theoratical sessions both Inter Campus & Aberdeen FC Community delivered practical sessions to showcase how they bring their theory into practice. The first day was wrapped up with a fun game of football (7-a-side).
Community Projects’ presentations, Workshop, Stadium Tour and Study Visit to the New Club House of Feyenoord Rotterdam on Day 2
The second day of the EFDN Staff exchange began with a detailed presentation by Saints Foundation on their “Community Champions Project” and “Premier League Kicks Project”. The “Community Champions project” aims to improve health, educational and social outcomes for young people who live in deprived areas, specifically those who find it difficult to engage within a traditional school environment . The “Premier League Kicks Project” aims to inspire children and young people to achieve their potential as well as working together to build stronger, safer, and more inclusive communities in Southampton. Vitesse Betrokken presented their community projects such as “Vitesse Goals” which involves players as role models for children to promote a healthy lifestyle and “Vitesse Hattrick” which engages with children who find it hard to focus by involving them in neighbourhood contribution.
After a stadium tour, the staff members visited the recently opened community centre of Feyenoord. The club offers sports programmes on the pitch in front of the community centre led by Feyenoord neighbourhood coaches. The community centre has its own learning centre where pupils from surrounding primary schools participate in after-school educational programmes.
Presentations, sharing of knowledge and expertise and providing of the Youth Pass on Day 3
The final day began at the community centre with a practical session conducted by Feyenoord. They presented the various projects of Feyenoord to keep people active. Legia Warsaw Foundation presented the “Lessons with Legia” programme which uses football to educate children in lessons from math, geography etc. The community project uses new technologies to make the learning fun.
KAA Gent Foundation presented a number of their programmes, such as “Gantoise Plantrekkers”, “Geestige Buffalo’s”, “Buffalo Cup”, “Buffalo League” and “Buffalo Dance Academy” etc. Working with the motto #morethanfootball, staff members from KAS Eupen of the Aspire Zone Foundation shared their various social & community programmes and projects. Last but not the least, was the presentation from Ludogorets on their best practices to demonstrate on-field skills, make friendships, acquire a healthy lifestyle etc.
After all club and programme presentations, the participants of the staff exchange discussed the challenges and limitations that they face in their projects. Some of the discussions were on analyzing the impact of a project, the level of expertise of coaches in various projects, fundraising ideas, staff organisation, challenges in communicating with parents etc. The 3-day exchanges concluded by awarding all staff members the Youth pass of the Erasmus Plus Programme.
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