Leeds Foundation’s football group went to Gateshead  on 27th September. The long established team are made up from our Adult Offending services customers, who have shown passion and dedication in building their skills by regularly engaging with practice sessions. Thanks is due to our colleagues, Deb-Lea, Ibby and Brent who have all worked with the football teams for some time. Here, Leeds Support Worker, Brent reports from the event:

‘We took eight players  to take part in a 7 A-side football tournament. It has to be said that we were given  a warm Geordie welcome!  Please see http://www.northeastathletic.co.uk/  for more information on the event organisers.
The tournament was targeted at socially marginalised groups including those affected by alcohol and substance mis-use, homelessness and ex-offenders. Middlesborough and Newcastle United Foundation also had teams represented as did various local support agencies including drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. There were a total of 12 teams involved and lunch was provided by the hosts.


Our team reached the quarter final stage of the competition losing to a team from Gateshead 2-0. The standard of football in the competition was very high, I’d say the highest we have come up against and we were fortunate that we took a strong squad through ourselves, though we had no recognised keeper.  We played some very good football actually. We played six matches in total, won 3, drew 1, lost 2. We  lost to a strong outfit in the quarter final stage and there was no shame in that.
The teams mixed well in-between matches and the tournament was structured along the lines of St Football where points are awarded for “fair play.” Our team showed good sportsmanship throughout the competition and this was reflected in our healthy ‘fair play’ points award.  Ibby puts a lot of effort into coaching and encouraging the team. His enthusiasm and encouragment throughout the past four years is now paying dividends, as today’s performance showed.
We visited the Angel of The North on the way home. We then stopped for a team meal at a fish restaurant in Wetherby. This was an experience for the team to socialise together in a different setting.

All in all we had a great experience and we have been invited back to a similar tournament in November. This is being held in Hartlepool and is played in one of only two domed indoor football arenas in the country.  I was informed by one of the organisers that at the interval cooked meals are served for all players, though how this will affect performance after the break remains to be seen!!

Our team was as follows, Dan Buck (captain), Michael Race, Keoran Foster, Daniel Blacka, Anthony Seddon, Keenan Seddon, Shane Adams, Ebrima Camara.’

Experiences such as these are vital to help social inclusion, build self-esteem and motivation. The Leeds football teams are standing tall and are looking to the future with a lot more confidence.