“Changing Lives Through Football”

Clients from our Wilfred Drive Scheme ‘kick-started’ a 10-week football themed learning and personal development programme through SUCF Street Soccer Academy!

Sheffield United Community Foundation

Sheffield United Community Foundation is a high-performing sport for development charity and is the official charity of Sheffield United Football Club, supporting people across Sheffield and the city region to become the best version of themselves. SUCF works across four strands; Health, Participation, NCS and Education. The education strand, rebranded in 2020 as the Football & Education Academy runs various educational project ranging from further education to adult learning courses. One of its latest projects; The Street Soccer Foundation, was delivered in partnership with SUCF to utilise and harness the power of football as both an effective engagement tool and as a catalyst to improve the lives of vulnerable and homeless young people around the local area.

Street Soccer provides a 10-week learning and personal development programme (or ‘experience’) for 18-25 year olds, selected young participants benefit from a fusion of: a) Professional Football Coaching; b) Growth/Positive Mindset Training; and c) Skills & Employability Workshops: a specially crafted ‘hat-trick’ to enable programme participants to fundamentally improve their skills, health & well-being and mindset – and be ready and able to move into Work, Education or Further Training on successful programme completion.

How SUFC Community got involved with Impact and why

Current clients from within ‘Impact’ were actively recruited to the street Soccer Academy due to their current vulnerabilities. The partnership between the two organisations helps to provide these young people with a platform of support and future opportunities. The proven impact of both programmes instils greater confidence and self-belief in young people; improves their health and well-being; and empowers participants to take positive action; encouraging individuals throughout to reach their goals, both on and off the pitch, and to inspire others to do the same.

Accomplishments so far…

The particular programme is the first of its kind delivered at SUCF. Despite only just arriving at the midpoint of the 10-week programme, the growth and development of its participants has been clear to see. Not only have individuals improved their physical fitness, but there have been huge developments made in their personal confidence, and overall positivity. The group has connected from the start, enabling us the opportunity to facilitate a power support network amongst the participants. Individuals who did not say much in the opening weeks are now activity leading group sessions.

Key Dates:


  • Programme Start Date: 5th May 2021
  • Programme Graduation: 7th July 2021
  • Street Soccer National Tournament – The Street Soccer Cup at St George’s Park:

Friday 6th August

Future aspirations…

The success of this initial pilot course has provided evidence for future programmes to be delivered in the future. We would be looking to establish a connection with Impact so that they can refer future clients onto this and our other educational programmes such as traineeships etc.

Special Thanks to Ryan, Liam and Keith for your dedication to the programme!

Participants’ Feedback

I caught up with a couple of the participants to find out what impact the programme has had on their lives so far, here is what they had to say:

What does the activity involve?

Matt: The programme involves football and workshops, it helps you better your mental health and for me it has helped to provide coping mechanisms, like getting outdoors more to cheer myself up

Since I started the programme, I’ve been feeling less depressed and more motivated

After the first 3-4 weeks, I feel a lot fitter and I’ve also noticed a difference in my physical appearance, particularly my legs!

I’ve also changed my eating habits for the better.

Liam: I’ve found myself being a lot more motivated too, I’ve cut down on drinking alcohol!

Why did you get involved in the activity?

Liam: We heard about it through Impact support team; Jenna and Sarah, who encouraged us to give it a go

Matt: Initially I thought, oh it involves football, so I was a little reluctant because of my low confidence but then I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go… and after the first week I really enjoyed it and got really into it!

Before hearing about the programme, I was finding it hard to keep myself motivated during lockdown as well as experiencing some difficult personal issues, however this has been a big distraction and helped me get through a tough time!

Liam: I thought I was only going to last the first week but now I really look forward to it every week! It has helped me get into a regimented routine, which has really improved my mood.

 What do you hope to achieve while participating in the activity?

Liam: I’d like to get back to the gym, it has given me a kickstart for weight loss

Matt: I’d like to get my fitness levels up, go back to the gym and improve my strength too

 What have you achieved during the activity so far?

Matt: I’ve definitely gained more confidence; it has given me a massive boost!

Liam: I agree, it has given me a lot more confidence aswell

 What have you enjoyed most?

Matt: So far, I’ve enjoyed being trained the basics; dribbling, shooting, having to think more about the shots I’m taking which has helped me to gain more skills, while keeping my mind active

Liam: For me, I’ve enjoyed learning something new but mostly loved seeing the boys each week, socialising and making new friends

Matt: YES! We have a laugh, it’s not too serious, we have a lot of banter but come away learning new things too. I really surprised myself because in the first week, I scored a hat-trick, which I did not expect to do at all!

Liam: Me too! I’ve scored a few goals!

Matt: I’ve noticed our communication as a team is a lot better now too!

 What opportunities are available next?

Liam: Following on from this, I’d like to improve my diet, one of the coaches, Ryan, is going to help me with a meal plan and has provided me with a workout routine to try to keep improving my physical health and exercise levels.

There are 4 sessions left then it is tournament season where we will all go to St Georges Park where the England team train!

I also hope to continue with Street Soccer after the tournament if possible

Matt: In 4 weeks’ time, I would like to get outdoors more and I think this will keep improving my confidence to do so

Would you recommend the programme to others?

Matt: I would definitely recommend it; you don’t have to have too much skill to start playing; I couldn’t even kick a ball straight but now I’m actually a lot better!

Liam: Yes, the same, I would tell others to give it a try!

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Posted in General Stories, General Stories, Success Stories.