Scunthorpe players support Kick It Out at St. Lawrence Academy ahead of Saturday’s dedicated game
Four players from Scunthorpe United Football Club were in attendance for a Q&A session with pupils from St. Lawrence Academy on Thursday (25 February), as part of a number of education workshops that Kick It Out delivered to students during the day.
Gary McSheffrey, Paddy Madden, Jordan Clarke and Hakeeb Adelakun joined Rishi Jain, Kick It Out’s Football League Clubs Development Officer, to talk to the students about the importance of fighting discrimination in football and society as a whole.
Rishi hailed the success of Kick It Out’s visit: “Today’s been fantastic. We’ve worked with Year 10 children, we’ve worked with Year 8 children – all with different experiences and understandings of discrimination. It’s been great to talk about faith, football and the impact that Kick It Out has on the game and wider society.”
The day began with Rishi delivering an education workshop to a large Year 10 group in the school’s assembly hall. The session focused on Kick It Out’s key messages of equality and inclusion, before an open discussion was held with the students regarding the relationship between faith and football.
Rishi was impressed with the St. Lawrence pupils’ awareness about the importance of celebrating religious diversity in football: “I was surprised at the extent of their understanding of faith and football and how the two link together. It’s a diverse school, with lots of people from different backgrounds, different religions and different nationalities, so to have that understanding at such a young age is so important.”
The next session saw Rishi lead a more interactive workshop with a smaller class of Year 8 pupils, who were tasked with designing a poster that best represented Kick It Out’s messages.
A busy day ended with another presentation delivered to two Year 8 classes, with equality and religious diversity once again the key topics of discussion. It was there that the Scunthorpe players joined Rishi to support his work, with the pupils clearly delighted with the opportunity to quiz their heroes.
Veteran winger Gary McSheffrey thoroughly enjoyed the visit and recognised the importance of using his position to have a positive impact on the next generation.
“It’s always nice to interact with schoolchildren and hear their thoughts about key issues,” he said. “You can always lose track of your position as a footballer but then you come in for days like this and it reminds you that you’re a role model in the eyes of the public. You have to set an example because children look up to you and they copy their heroes.”
For first-team regular Jordan Clarke, fighting discrimination is a cause that he has a strong personal interest in: “I’ve attended a lot of school events before and it’s something that I do like to do because discrimination has affected me in the past – I’m really passionate about these issues.”
With Scunthorpe set to host Oldham Athletic at Glanford Park on Saturday in a dedicated fixture in support of Kick It Out, Jordan emphasised the importance of the team showing a united front with The Iron faithful against discrimination: “I think the game will have a great impact and I’m sure the Scunthorpe fans will get behind Kick It Out’s message. If we can be good role models for them then hopefully they can take that into their everyday lives.”