Carlisle United’s Michael Raynes supports Kick It Out workshop in Cumbria primary school
Carlisle United defender Michael Raynes attended an educational afternoon at Castle Carrock Primary School in Cumbria to show his support for Kick It Out on Thursday (28 April).
Michael joined Rishi Jain, the organisation’s Football League Clubs Development Officer, to educate the pupils about the importance of tacking discrimination and promoting equality and inclusion in society.
As someone considering a career in education once his playing days are over, Michael was delighted to have the chance to spend some time at Castle Carrock: “It was a really good day – it’s great to come and do stuff like this and hopefully make the pupils more knowledgeable about Kick It Out.
“It’s always nice to get out and see young schoolchildren – when I was a kid it made your day when people came in to see you.”
Michael appreciated the influence that Kick It Out can have on the education of young pupils, as well as the crucial position he himself plays as a role model.
“Considering how popular football is across the world, getting across what Kick It Out is trying to do is vital for them at such a young age,” he said. “If they can understand basic principles in the classroom, then when they are watching football on a Saturday, hopefully the message will get through.”
“It does help to put a face towards it. They’ll see us playing on a Saturday but to have us come in and chat about it one-to-one, it gives a different dimension to their learning and hopefully we’ve made a difference.”
The day began with an education workshop delivered by Rishi to a classroom of Year 3 and 4 pupils, in which he discussed Kick It Out’s core messages and ensured that they had an understanding of key terms such as ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’.
After the workshop was delivered, the pupils were split into groups and given the chance to produce a poster with a poem, song, rap or chant about Kick It Out.
Rishi was impressed with the level of engagement on show at Castle Carrock: “It’s a small school but a really good school and you can tell there is a clear commitment to understand more about Kick It Out and what we do.
“It was great to come and spend time with them to talk about our messages and what we are trying to achieve as an organisation. To be able to talk to young people and talk about opportunities in the game and the importance of reporting has been brilliant.”
Following a short break for lunch, the afternoon kicked off with a second workshop delivered to pupils around similar themes as the morning session. Michael arrived to support Rishi during the workshop, before hosting a Q&A and taking photos with the pupils to complete the day.
Rishi was delighted at the effort shown by both the player and his club, Carlisle United: “When the pupils get to meet someone who plays for their local football team and wears the shirt with pride every week, it makes a real impact and it just shows the strong ties we have with Carlisle United.
“During my time at Kick It Out, we’ve always had a good relationship with the club and they’ve always been proactive in dealing with issues, whether it’s on or off the field.
“The event is something we’ve had in the diary for a while and the club were really committed to it to strengthen their position in the local community and demonstrate their support to our organisation.”
Reflecting on the success of the event, Rishi emphasised his desire to continue the essential work Kick It Out is doing across England.
“Education underpins everything we do,” he asserted. “We educate professional players, managers, schoolchildren, academy players – everyone. It’s so important because it’s a crucial way in which we can make a positive difference in local communities and to be able to come to Carlisle, moving away from London, is brilliant.”