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Football clubs support early intervention

Children's services departments and voluntary organisations are linking up with professional football clubs in an innovative attempt to boost outcomes for children.

In Norfolk, the council has teamed up withNorwich City FC's community arm to launch a football-themed parenting programme as a way of preventing family break-ups, after a small-scale pilot proved a success.

The initiative in Norfolk, called Future Canaries, involves parents being asked to carry out football management-themed tasks using skills that can be used within family life.

This includes writing a persuasive letter to a star player convincing him to sign for the club.

Another is to produce a shopping list from Norwich City’s club shop.

The session also involves physical games with a focus on developing children’s self-esteem, teamwork and strong leadership from parents. 

The course lasts five weeks and those that excel are invited to sign up with Norwich City as mentors for young people.

Steve Bramble, curriculum manager at Norwich City’s Community Sports Foundation, said the course has been designed so that young people and their parents work as a team and treat each other with respect in a fun environment.

“If we are going to work with families on communication, respect and developing boundaries it is vital that both parents and young people are learning together in a place where they both want to be," he said.

The course is being made available to families with challenging needs, including a history of conflict or at risk of their children being taken into care.