The education programme uses young people’s passion for football to convey key messages about equality and inclusion, with the overall aim of ensuring that all communities are embraced by football and opportunities in the game are widely available to everyone.
Ben, who is one of Kick It Out’s ‘Next 20’ Ambassadors, sat in on the workshop delivered by Kick It Out’s education and development manager Troy Townsend, before taking questions from some of the pupils at the school about his thoughts on equality and inclusion.
Students at Nightingale Academy learnt about the most common areas of discrimination, as well as being given an overview of the history of Kick It Out.
‘Next 20’ is a Kick It Out initiative involving 20 young football stars from across the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League (WSL) spreading key messages of equality and inclusion.
Speaking at the event, Ben explained: “The whole idea of Kick It Out is to tell people about the importance of equality and diversity. As players we can help to drive this message home to young children by coming and speaking to them at activities like today. By educating younger people earlier, they can help us put a stop to all types of discrimination. The pupils at Nightingale listened to what we had to say and seemed to recognise why equality and inclusion is so important.”
Debby Lipkin, Executive Principal, Nightingale Academy, said: “We have a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community and it’s really important for us to ensure that the children recognise diversity, equality but above all, maintain really good community friendships. We encourage that both in our students and our families and today has been a great way to reinforce this message to our pupils.”
Below: Ben with pupils at Nightingale Academy
Troy Townsend, education and development manager at Kick It Out said: “These events are really important. Footballers, especially young ones, are role models to young people, regardless of their background, and that’s what we’ve tried to achieve with the ‘Next 20’.
“With Ben moving from South Wales to North London, we’re really happy that he’s continued his commitment to our message and that he spoke openly and honestly with the young people at Nightingale Academy.”