Sheffield football scheme supports unemployed youngsters

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A scheme which helps unemployed youngsters find work or education through football is set for Sheffield.

Street League will see people not in education, employment or training, aged 16 to 25, develop skills through classroom learning andfootball before heading out into the world of work or education.

The charity, funded by BT Sport initiative The Supporter’s Club, aims to reduce youth unemployment as a result.

Chief executive Matt Stevenson-Dodd said: “Many of the young people we work with are living in more deprived areas and they don’t quite get the same start in life, perhaps for example they don’t have parents that are pushing them.

“A lot of the time they come to us with their heads down. The best thing we can do is to try to get them to work with us, and we do that through football.

“Football teaches communication skills and discipline, and all the things we do through football translate into the world of work.

“The transformation is absolutely incredible. They leave with their heads held high, smile, make eye contact and put themselves across well.

“You can see a person change and build their confidence.”

Those taking part complete activities such as hosting a street football session in the community, before competing to earn a place on the academy, which runs three times per year.

Daily sessions involve two hours on the pitch and two hours in the classroom.

The scheme is looking to come to Sheffield in October or November after its success in London.

Mr Stevenson-Dodd added: “We wanted to come to Sheffield for so long. It’s a proud footballing city, we want to be in Sheffield helping tackle the unemployment problem.”