Kick It Out and 'Next 20' Ambassador Nathaniel Chalobah promote equality at Sulivan Primary School
‘Next 20’ Ambassador Nathaniel Chalobah joined Kick It Out for an absorbing afternoon at Sulivan Primary School in south-west London on Thursday (23 February).
The Chelsea midfielder is one of Kick It Out’s 20 player representatives from across the Premier League, English Football League and The FA Women’s Super League who help spread the organisation’s messages of equality and inclusion in schools across the country.
As part of his role, Nathaniel joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, at the school to deliver an equality workshop to Year 5 and 6 pupils.
Discrimination was the key topic of discussion, and pupils were given the opportunity to reflect on their understanding of issues such as racism, sexism, as well as appropriate language and behaviour.
Nathaniel enjoyed working with the pupils and emphasised how important it is for footballers to use their position as role models to make a positive impact on young people.
He said: “It’s been fun, I’ve done a few of these events with Kick It Out before and it’s always good to come and speak to the young people. These are important issues that aren’t always talked about and I think they learnt a lot today.
“Kick It Out are doing great work and a lot of the young people were really engaged, but I think if there’s a role model or someone in the public eye who can come in and have a conversation with them, they’re even more switched on and tend to focus more too. I really enjoyed it.”
Kick It Out’s equality workshops are designed to take participants out of their comfort zone, and the pupils were challenged to consider how they might respond if they witnessed or suffered discrimination.
Nathaniel was impressed by their answers: “They knew what they were talking about. Sometimes when you talk about topics like this it can get awkward and people don’t want to come out and say things, but I think the children were fearless today and showed a lot of courage to make good points.”
Paul echoed the ‘Next 20’ Ambassador’s sentiments and expressed his hope that the event would have a lasting impact on the pupils at Sulivan Primary School.
“The pupils were brilliant – they were enthusiastic and didn’t try to avoid the difficult questions. The school have already done a great job in giving them a basic understanding of equality, but it was great to be able to push that further today and challenge the pupils to broaden their awareness.”
He added: “Most of them didn’t have much of an idea about what it is Kick It Out do, so I enjoyed educating them about our work throughout all levels of football – from the professional game, all the way down to grassroots.”
The event concluded with Nathaniel taking part in a Q&A, as the young people were given an opportunity to ask him about his career and life off the pitch.
Nathaniel enjoyed giving the pupils an insight into his experience coming through the Chelsea academy, although he joked that he wouldn’t like to face them in the club’s media room on a weekly basis.
“I think hearing their questions was very interesting because you can’t really see them coming and a few were harder than an interview or press conference – you just don’t know what the kids are going to ask!”