Kick It Out and Jason Lowe tackle discrimination with pupils in Blackburn
‘Next 20’ Ambassador Jason Lowe joined Kick It Out for an educational afternoon at St. Aidan’s C of E Primary School in Blackburn on Tuesday 8 November.
Alongside Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, Jason helped deliver a workshop around equality and inclusion to over 60 pupils from Year 4, 5 and 6.
The afternoon commenced with an introduction to Kick It Out’s work from Paul, who helped the pupils get to grips with key terminologies such as discrimination, racism and equality.
Paul was delighted with their enthusiasm and engagement with the session: “I was incredibly impressed – simply because the group was quite a big one and often when that’s the case, there can be a reluctance to talk about certain issues.
“But that didn’t seem to put these young people off – they were very honest and open about what they did and didn’t know. The desire to learn was definitely there and it made it so easy to deliver the workshop.”
Pupils were then given a number of roleplay scenarios in which they were asked how they would respond to discrimination, before discussing appropriate language around racism.
Paul explained why it was important to have these conversations with young pupils.
“There’s often some subconscious discomfort about what’s being discussed, especially when we discuss language around skin colour,” he said. “But if we’re going to educate people around discrimination and talk about racism it’s important that we use the vocabulary, so that they recognise it’s unacceptable.
“In doing so, we actually explain the impact that the language can actually have on people, as well as discuss the impact it’s had on them while I’ve used it.”
After watching Paul lead the initial stages of the workshop, Jason was invited to reflect on his own career in football and his own experience of discrimination.
He was pleased to have the chance to support Kick It Out’s core messages: “I’ve taken part in a few of these now and it’s something I enjoy doing – hopefully it’s taken on board by the kids. Paul and the team do a great job, so I just want to do my part to back that up.”
Jason feels that it is vital to use his influence to educate primary school pupils: “The younger you can influence them, like the words they’re saying and who they’re saying it to, the better. It’s about trying to educate them and develop them as people.
“My job is to promote equality within football but there’s a wider problem and we need to address it. The younger they are, the easier we can plant the seed so that hopefully it can be taken on board as they get older.”
The afternoon came to a close with excited pupils given the chance to secure autographs and take photos with Jason, who was happy to oblige.
“I’m very proud to be an ambassador. The reason why I’m doing it is for the cause and to help the next generation of young people. Hopefully, if we can educate them, we’ll have less problems in the future.”