Report on the Gloucestershire Kick it Out Project, October 2002
1. This project was originally led by Stuart Butler, networking through a number of different roles as Head of History and Assistant Head of College at Brockworth School, Gloucester; Fishpools Co-ordinator at the school with responsibilities for raising achievement within the Black community through liasing with other schools and organisations; and a member of the www.footballpoets.org editorial team. As the project developed, so many other key individuals and organisations offered their commitment and support as this report will show.
2. Once the Community Chest Award was confirmed, we immediately set to work. Posters (see enclosed poster) were developed for three different competitions, statements of support were pledged (see included) and a Black History Month exercise was fine tuned – this collective pack was then sent to all Gloucestershire secondary schools (42) and all primary schools (over 100). This information was also put up on www.footballpoets.org.
3. Local football clubs were contacted too – Swindon, Cheltenham, Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, Forest Green, Aston Villa and Gloucester Rugby Club. Ray Graydon at Bristol Rovers sent a splendid letter of support, Swindon sent along Nathan Edwards, first team player for support and the Head of Cheltenham Police, Mike Barton, who works closely on anti-racist issues with Cheltenham Town came along and also made a public declaration of support.
4. Both Nathan and Mike are keen to sustain the momentum we have generated and I am following this up by hopefully linking with the programme editors at these two clubs (see included letters).
5. To help with the writing, I sent every school a writing frame guide. This was also put up on the website. Prizes include Kick it Out t-shirts, badges, book tokens, and a specially commissioned poster. Giles Diggle, who is Head of the Educational Services offered to students whose English is a second language is acting as judge. Giles is a published novelist. John Grice, a professional fine arts craftsman, is looking forward to setting up the poster once we have made the judgement on the most fitting poem for the accolade. We envisage a run of 200, with the posters being distributed by the Council for hanging in public areas.
6. Workshops have included (1) Richard Giddy, Citizenship and EAL Co-ordinator at Brockworth School, together with myself. We delivered anti-racist football poetry workshops to the entire Yr 8 at school. We have already put up a number of poems from these workshops. I still have about 50 hand-written ones to deal with. Thus the website competition judging is ongoing and will not be completed until late November I imagine. (2) Crispin Thomas from www.footballpoets.org delivered a session on microphone techniques to some Gloucester students and mc-ed our Black History and Kick It Out celebration night on 24 October. Students performed in public for the first time and shared the quality of their writing and performance about football and Black History with the audience. He also led a workshop session on the life of Arthur Wharton. (3) Akoma, on Afro-Caribbean music, storytelling, performance, poetry and arts group delivered workshops on banner making, African art, drumming, storytelling, together with a talk on receiving racism. Akoma fronted our celebration evening and made it a marvellous success (see included photographs).
7. The Celebration Evening had an audience of 50 – but the significant importance of some of the supporters far outweighs the numbers present. The evening was marvellous – a sharing of experience, expertise and enthusiasm across different sections of Gloucester’s communities. The Black Community was present, the Asian Community, STFC; the Head of Cheltenham Police, the Head of Mainstream Educational Services, the Co-ordinator of the Gloucester Racist Incidents Group – all agreed that the evening not only celebrated our initial achievements but was also acting as a catalyst to future sustained development. The evening energised people – see a later point about sustainability. We also kept a visitor’s book with lists of name and suggestions about developing momentum. The History of Black Football exhibition attracted great interest and we ran prizes for correct quiz answers for this too.
8. Publicity was good – local PR (see included) was sent to all local media as was the amended national Kick It Out press release. The main Gloucester newspaper carried two stories on the campaign – an early one to coincide with National Poetry Day and a later one about our celebratory evening (see included). The website also carried the national press release. We also contacted all schools in the county and I directly liased with two other schools in the city, sharing our good practice about raising black achievement through mentoring. As a result of this project the school also became immediately involved in a Youth Opportunities Initiative for young black males in Gloucester and Luke Chambers, the Co-ordinator of this scheme, further spread the word about our project. The Gloucester Racist Incident Group also took a keen interest in our work. My appearance in the prestigious Cheltenham Literacy Festival also gave me a chance to spread the word about our campaign. In addition, Brockworth School’s bid for Business and Enterprise College status, quotes our work as a further example of the school’s commitment to inclusivity within and across the community. I also, of course, spread the message to the entire school through assemblies.
9. All this leads to the consideration of future sustainability. As already stated, three ways of developing momentum have been indicated, a) STFC and CTFC including anti racist football poems in their programmes, b) the website has a special Kick it Out section and has links from the Kick it Out site. We are also linked with the Channel 4 Black and Asian History website. (c) The posters. (d) The Gloucester Anti-Racist Incidents Group organised a football match with the distribution of Kick it Out badges and this example provides another way forward for the project. Many of us are already thinking of an annual non-sexist, anti-racist 5-a-side football tournament. I have already written to STFC and CTFC about this and I am sure that such an initiative, with Council support, would be a wonderful thing for the 146 nationalities in the city and shire of Gloucester.
1) All Brockworth Yr. 9 and Yr. 8 students, 300 people (gender 50:50, 90% Caucasian, 8% Afro-Caribbean, 2% Asian).
2) Audience of 50 (gender 50:50, ethnic breakdown – Caucasian 20, Afro-Caribbean 25, Asian 5)
3) Carlton Bolling School, Bradford (90% Asian, 10% Caucasian, previous entries from an earlier workshop of 50) (50:50 gender breakdown).
4) Also, we have networked every school in the county and city; we have liased with the Afro-Caribbean community in the city; we have liased with the Asian community, we have liased with the EAL representative; we have an international audience on www.footballpoets.org (sample of guestbook entries included).
The potential here is enormous – it is impossible to provide a gender/ethnic breakdown here!
Copies of this document will go to Ahmed Bham, Gloucester Racist Incidents Group Co-ordinator; Albert Gardener, Fishpools, Brockworth; Sue Ellis, Head of Mainstream Educational Services; Kick it Out; Ed Wickins, Head Brockworth School, Vice-Chair Gloucestershire Secondary Heads Association; Dave Cockcroft of www.footballpoets.org; Shelagh Crowther, Giles Diggle, Dee Russell-Thomas, CIRCLE and Fishpools Project, Gloucester; Luke Chambers, Jamaican Community Centre; STFC; CTFC; BRFC; John Clay, Acting Superintendent, Forest and Gloucester Division; Mike Barton, Chief Inspector, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Division.
With many thanks to all who contributed and apologies if I have not named you when I should have done.