An opportunity to connect with each other in an informal way, build relationships, work together as a team, football has taken a key role in doing all of these within Care Visions Residential. Over the last year we have seen footballing sessions in our regions grow. We want to share some of the reasons why this activity, sometimes-underrated benefits, can deliver more than just a couple of scrappy goals and black rubber crumbs in your boots.
When speaking on this subject and the sessions she helped setup in early 2022, Gillian Garrett, Residential Service Manager in our West Region said, “We picked football because it gives our young people a chance to connect with adults in a relaxed informal way. It is predictable, it is something that those involved can look forward to. Now that we have started it, our boys look forward to coming. Also, it can provide connections and contact with people from other houses, which is an added bonus.”
Sessions are run very much like your typical 5 a side format, sometimes the numbers are a bit more or a bit less, but the focus is on fun rather than anything else. Doughnuts and water at the end helps with the motivation to keep going until the “final whistle”.
Keeping it informal:
A number of staff take part in the sessions, but there isn’t any pressure on taking it too seriously. One staff member, Phil, who has been playing in most games in the West area, said that they don’t usually even keep score! There are other benefits way beyond racking up the goals that the “game” can provide.
Many young people and staff members go for different reasons. Residential workers, managers, support staff, carers, young people and young adults that have connections with Care Visions can come along and take from it what they want. Sessions like this can prove really valuable for keeping in touch with and maintaining relationships with some of young adults that have moved on from Care Visions.
Kevin is 22, he was involved previously with Care Visions. However, as he says, he “Loves his football”, so now keeps connections and involvement through these gatherings. He said, “Basically, I moved out, but Gillian [Service Manager] phoned one night and said that we were starting up football, if you want to come and see the guys and connect again. I wasn’t going to refuse a kickabout, so that’s how it happened for me, that’s why I come.”
Many of the young people who take part are currently living in our residential services, it is just as valuable, if not more so, to them. We spoke to Martin who is 17, “I like to come so I can make fun of some of the senior staff and have a laugh, playing football with them, it’s just good fun. More folk coming would be good as we could get another pitch. It’s good exercise too and if people want an outlet as it helps you get your mind off things that might be causing you problems.”
Everyone is welcome:
Ross Buchanan, one of the Residential Service managers from our North Region, has put lots of effort in helping with a session in Fife get off the ground. He felt it important to welcome everyone, saying this to the wider staff community in relation to the event, “Staff members not on shift who fancy a kick about are welcome. Bringing your own children who have an interest in football is fine providing you deem this to be appropriate. Equally if you are not a player, feel free to stay and watch the young people play and have a chat with others doing the same. We want this to feel as an inclusive a group as possible.”
Through footballing kickabouts like our ones in the West, North, and East Regions, we hope that we can continue to forge special connections and build relationships with each other, away from the daily work environment. Hopefully many of the young people who take part in the sessions would like to continue to be part of them after leaving our services. Showing just how beneficial these can be for all, will be a way of helping ensure that.