Kick It Out’s Romaine man raises awareness of deaf football in Twickenham
Brentford midfielder Romaine Sawyers joined Kick It Out in highlighting deaf sport at a primary school in Twickenham on Thursday (23 November), as part of his role as an ambassador for the organisation.
Romaine hailed the event as his ‘favourite’ yet on an afternoon with more than 80 pupils from Chase Bridge Primary School taking part in an equality workshop delivered by Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manger, as well as a sign language workshop hosted by Ben Lampert, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Deaf Football Coach.
“I think this has been my favourite event in terms of my own education and seeing how Ben’s world works,” Romaine said. “We’re both human but he’s got differences to me so it was good to see things from his point of view. I think all the pupils really got involved and it was good to see so many happy faces.”
The afternoon began with a discussion around Kick It Out’s core messages, as the pupils reflected on topics such as celebrating difference, acceptable language and creating an inclusive environment at school.
The group were then offered an insight into what it’s like to be deaf, with Ben also teaching them the British Sign Language alphabet, as well as showing off his gold torch that he received after being an Olympic torchbearer at London 2012.
Paul thoroughly enjoyed educating pupils alongside Romaine and was delighted to have the opportunity develop his own understanding of deaf sport.
“It was great to work with Romaine, who has been our ambassador for several years now,” he said. “It was fantastic to educate the Chase Bridge Primary School pupils about Kick It Out and our key messages around diversity and inclusion.
“Brentford’s Community Sports Trust does great work so I am pleased that we teamed up with them to raise awareness around deaf sport – I certainly learnt a lot at Ben’s sign language workshop!”
Ben was impressed with the engagement of the pupils and believes events like these are vital to increase young people’s understanding of issues around disability and deafness.
He said: “Running these events will help educate the next generation and highlight the importance of disability in football.
“For me, becoming involved with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust was the turning point in the development of my coaching career. Through the work of Kick It Out and the Trust, we can raise awareness and provide deaf children with the same opportunities I had.”
Romaine is a firm supporter of Kick It Out’s work and believes the afternoon had an important impact on the Chase Bridge Primary School pupils.
“It’s good that we’ve got someone in the football industry who will drive forward that message,” he said. “The more we do so, the more people will take the message on board and the more things will change.
“Speaking to a few of the pupils after, they told me they enjoyed it and I remember being their age, I didn’t have a programme like this put in place for me, so it’s always good to get message across to them. Even if it doesn’t sink in right now, it will subconsciously and their actions will start proving that in the years to come.”