As part of our Black History Month celebrations, 40 local primary school children recently took part in the final performances of ‘This Is Us’ at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea Foundation’s ‘This Is Us’ programme has been delivered to more than 600 participants in over 20 schools and is part of the club-wide ‘No To Hate’ campaign, supported and funded by club owner Roman Abramovich.
Foundation staff have delivered workshop activities and drama to help children explore topics including discrimination, stereotyping, understanding targets of hate and consequences of behaviour.
The project also encouraged children to ‘celebrate heroes’ and focused on the stories of 20 heroes of black heritage from the men’s and women’s teams who played for Chelsea.
Parents, teachers, club staff and other special guests attended the Bridge to watch the final performances and there was also appearances from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jess Carter via video messages.
The script of the performance was created by playwright and actor Rikki Beadle-Blair who took inspiration from the school-based sessions that he attended where he received feedback from the children about what they had learnt from the education programme.
Beadle-Blair said: ‘They say you teach what you need to learn. And wow, did I learn! Every day working on this project was a whole term's worth of education. Young people have so much to teach so-called 'grown-ups' about courage, citizenship, and kindness.
‘I'm proud to be on their team and honoured to have written the script to be performed by this amazing team of youthful ambassadors for unity and change. A humbling, hilarious. truly joyous experience.’
Executive headteacher at Federation of Sacred Heart & St Mary’s RC Primary Schools, Jared Brading, added: ‘Over the half term, children from both Sacred Heart Battersea and St Mary's Battersea were fortunate to enjoy a wonderful week of drama at the club courtesy of the Chelsea FC Foundation.
‘The children haven’t stopped talking about the week they had and friends they made. Their knowledge of Chelsea’s players is amazing because of the learning that went into the play.
‘I was lucky enough to get to watch it and I thought the whole experience for the children was fantastic. Thank you to all involved. You have four more life-long Chelsea fans.’
Sam Gaskin-Kemp, head of education at the Chelsea FC Foundation said: ‘We began this project last year in Black History Month focussing on over 100 players and creating player profiles, and then developed the ‘This Is Us’ schools-based programme. Pupils took part in workshops and participated in drama activities such as role play and hot seating to help develop their understanding. The final performance piece brought all the learning to life and showcased the passion and commitment of the children and staff involved.'