Street Soccer Academy visits Brighton and Hove Albion through The Big Goal

Street Soccer Academy

We were excited to welcome our Palace For Life Foundation participants from the Street Soccer Academy to Brighton and Hove Albion’s stadium last week as programme sponsors of a nationwide industry initiative called The Big Goal.

The group of 25 young adults are currently on a ten-week personal development course centred around football, for 18 to 30-year olds who are homeless, disadvantaged or deemed to be at risk of homelessness through not being in education, employment or training.

Starting the day at the iconic Amex Stadium, the group were greeted by our CEO, Barney Taylor, who spoke about the business, and included a presentation from our People & Culture team on careers in ICT with the opportunity to ask questions about getting into the industry.

Barney said, “We were delighted to be able to bring our partnership with Brighton & Hove Albion together with our support of the Big Goal to give an inspirational group of young people a football-fuelled day to remember.

“It was an absolute pleasure to meet them all and we’re now looking forward to getting involved in building their skills off the pitch, sharing insights and opportunities to kickstart a much brighter future.”

They also enjoyed a tour of the stadium, a training session with coaches from Brighton and Hove Albion’s Academy, playing a match at the first team’s training ground and a question and answer session with Brighton’s Paraguayan forward Julio Encisco and Argentinian midfielder Facundo Buonanotte.

Keith Mabbutt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Street Soccer Foundation, said: “Speaking with the young people on the Street Soccer Academy programme, it was clear the occasion was such a positive and inspiring experience for them.

“To get to visit a Premier League stadium, to play on the pitch at the first team training ground, and then to actually meet and speak directly with a couple of first team players - some mentioned this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“There's no doubt the event and the coming together of Brighton and Hove Albion, the Palace For Life Foundation, Focus Group and the young people, supported by the Street Soccer Foundation, showed just how football really can be a force for good with such a rich collaboration at the heart of it.

“This is what The Big Goal campaign is all about - a coming together in support of others through the beautiful game.

“It really was a day to remember and I'm sincerely grateful for all and everyone involved.”

Through The Big Goal, more than 30 ICT companies across the country are being partnered with Street Soccer Academies in their local areas and later this month colleagues from Focus Group will get the opportunity to host a session at our sponsored academy to offer work-related advice and share skills to help the participants get back into employment, education or training.

Companies taking part in The Big Goal also get the opportunity to enter a five-a-side football tournament against fellow participating companies, Focus Group’s Southern team won the Southern Regional Finals earlier this month, and along with their Midlands team who also qualified, will progress to The Big Goal National Finals at St George’s Park later this year.

Susan Patterson-Smith, Head of Pathways & Learning at the Palace For Life Foundation, said: "I'm proud of our participants' engagement at Brighton and Hove Albion’s stadium, supported by Focus Group.

“This event underscores football's transformative potential, uniting us to empower young adults for future employability.

“Thanks to all involved for their commitment to positive change and opportunity."

To find out more about The Big Goal, which is uniting the ICT industry to tackle youth homelessness across the UK, visit www.thebiggoal.co.uk

Published 2nd May 2024