The Chelsea Foundation recently joined forces with the Met Police Taskforce in a bid to break down barriers between young people and the police.
The Foundation’s Chelsea Champions programme, which was recently shortlisted for The Impact of Elite Sport Award at the London Sport Awards 2020, has been running in five schools, including Fulham College Boys School, for two years.
The initiative involves a full-time member of staff from the Chelsea Foundation based in the school where they provide sessions tailored to support mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
It was during those sessions at Fulham College Boys School that students voiced a negative perception of the police and having introduced this new programme in partnership with the MET Police Taskforce, the students have now built a positive relationship with the police force through education and developing their understanding.
Throughout the four-week programme, each session followed the format of a 45-minute classroom session followed by a 45-minute practical session which involved understanding the day-to-day work of the police, learning key elements of first aid and participating in stop-and-search scenarios where students would act as the police.
Chelsea Champions officer Baabak Shaghouei said: ‘We go into schools full-time and we are there as sort of behaviour mentors, to give them a different voice, a different ear to chat to.
‘Chelsea Football Club spans the world so I’ve seen it first-hand how far the badge really does go.
‘The MET police came into our school and whatever the three police officers said, they made it real life and showed that they are human and they are not perfect.
‘The MET police coming in, that will show that when you leave the gate to leave school how you can impact your life outside on the streets.
‘It doesn’t matter if you are 14, 15 or 16, these decisions could impact the rest of your life.
‘Like anything in life, with any sort of stigma, with any sort of perception, when you actually break it down and talk to that person no matter who they are, what they are and what they believe, you realise they aren’t really that bad – and we noticed that with the kids, with the boys.
‘There is no such thing as a bad child. Just loads and loads and loads of bad choices.
‘To give you that football analogy, if you’ve got a football player with all the talents in the world, but no-one around them, they don’t make it.
‘Even if they do make it, it’s a short career because they’ve got no guidance and when I see the youth struggling, if I can do anything I always will because we should all be striving to push each other.
‘It’s so easy to be negative, it’s so easy to complain, but you want to be positive and push and really watch people excel.
‘I always say to the boys, I’m not better than you, I’m not stronger than you, faster than you, better looking than you, I’m just older than you and by being older I’ve lived it, I’ve seen it, so I kind of have an idea of how the story will end so what are you going to do about it, because it’s your life.’
To learn more on our Chelsea Champions programme please contact [email protected]