'Next 20' Ambassador Harry Maguire supports Kick It Out in Hull primary school
‘Next 20’ Ambassador Harry Maguire was in attendance as Kick It Out hosted an educational afternoon at Chiltern Primary School in Hull on Friday (2 December).
The Hull City defender is one of the organisation’s player representatives from across the Premier League, English Football League and FA Women’s Super League who promote Kick It Out’s key messages of equality and inclusion through its ‘Next 20’ Ambassador programme.
As part of his role as an ambassador, Harry joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, to deliver an equality workshop to a group of Year 6 pupils.
Harry was pleased to help the young students develop an understanding of discrimination and explained the session was educational for him too
“Every time I do an event with Kick It Out I learn a lot myself – I’m still getting educated about discrimination, so listening to Paul teaching others is also teaching me,” Harry said. “It’s good to see the kids responding in a positive way – it was a bright, well-behaved group so it all went very well.”
Paul had kicked off proceedings by introducing the students to Kick It Out’s work and ensuring they were familiar with key concepts around discrimination and inclusion.
The pupils displayed an admirable engagement with the information they were given and this did not go unnoticed.
“They are an impressive group,” Paul said. “They were really focused throughout and seemed to grasp the importance of equality and respect for diversity.”
After covering the basics, the pupils were given the more challenging task of considering how they might respond to an incident of discrimination if they witnessed, or were a victim of, discrimination.
Paul was pleased with their responses: “I never make the roleplay scenarios too easy for the pupils so it was great to see them rise to the challenge. It’s important to test their understanding of what behaviour is and is not acceptable, as well as ensuring they know what to do when faced with discriminatory behaviour.”
Harry was an enthusiastic participant in the discussions and also took time out to give the Chiltern pupils an insight into his career on and off the pitch, as he reflected on his emergence at Sheffield United, as well as his experience witnessing a teammate at a previous club suffer racist abuse.
The Tigers defender enjoyed his visit and expressed his hope that it would have a positive impact on the lives of more than 50 young people.
He reflected: “One of the main issues around discrimination is that a lot of people don’t know enough, so the more education you do, the more you know – myself included – and you can take that into your future life.”
The afternoon concluded with Harry leading a Q&A as the pupils were given the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to be a professional footballer – although he was quick to emphasise the importance of remaining in education.
With an important year for the city of Hull coming up, Harry reiterated how important it was for him and his club to support events such as these that celebrate diversity and tackle discrimination.
“It’s a big thing for Hull to be named UK City of Culture (for 2017), so events like these only support that image,” he said. “It’s something that I really look forward to – the more I work in my role as a ‘Next 20’ Ambassador, the more I learn and get to see how the campaigning is going. The improvements it’s having on the game is remarkable.”