Chelsea FC Women’s defender Anita Asante recently joined pupils from Cobham Free School to help launch the Premier League Writing Stars programme.
The Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition returns for its second year to inspire children aged five to 11 to get creative and pen their own poem on the theme of diversity.
The campaign, which is open to all primary schools in England and Wales, is supported by stars from the worlds of football, entertainment and literature with last year’s competition encouraging more than 25,000 primary school pupils to write a poem.
Asante listened to the children’s poems that they had been working on during the session before taking part in a Q&A session.
Speaking after the event, she said: ‘I’ve really enjoyed meeting the children today and talking to them about diversity, not just within football but all walks of life.
‘It’s great to see the Foundation and Premier League doing these initiatives to help the younger generation understand that we are all different in our own way, but those differences also bring us together.’
Chelsea Foundation schools education manager said: ‘We’ve had Anita come in to help us launch this year’s poetry competition as part of the Premier League Writing Stars programme.
‘It was great to hear her talk to the children about her experiences throughout her career and I think the children thoroughly enjoyed having her with us.
‘She also gave some great tips on writing poetry, how important it is to bring your personality through your writing and so hopefully the children can take that away to help them produce their own poem.’
Carlo Cudicini recently joined students on our Chelsea FC Foundation Degree programme via an online call to give them an insight into his playing and coaching career.
People have been asked to follow government guidelines and stay home to help control the virus with social distancing measures in place following the coronavirus outbreak.
This has meant that students studying our Football Coaching and Development programme in partnership with St Mary’s University have had to adapt to studying online.
Former Blues goalkeeper and now club ambassador Cudicini took the time out to join the students and he spoke about key moments in his playing career, his current role within the club and gave advice to aspiring coaches.
Cudicini said: ‘I really enjoyed it. As I mentioned to the students, it’s a pleasure to be able to help and pass on my experience as a footballer and as a coach and mentor.
‘It’s a great idea to keep the students connected throughout these workshops and it’s absolutely fantastic what the Foundation is doing.
‘The projects, the amount of energy and dedication they put in it, it’s amazing. Personally, I love to help and be available for these projects as all the people at the Foundation deserve any kind of support.’
Michael Ayres, a senior lecturer on the programme and a Chelsea Academy coach, said: ‘Carlo gave us a real insight into his career as a former player and coach and now in his role in the loan department at the football club.
‘For our current and prospective students it was an amazing opportunity to ask probing questions to a person of his stature and experience.
‘His responses to their questions were insightful and provided our students with some clear professional and personal development advice.’
Cudicini’s appearance follows on from former defenders Gary Chivers and Claire Rafferty taking part in similar video calls with our men and women’s walking football teams as the Foundation continue to stay engaged with our participants of all ages.
Tom Howard, who is also a lecturer on the programme and a Chelsea Academy coach, said: ‘Carlo’s honesty and detailed insight represented a great opportunity for our students, currently undertaking a Professional Development module, to understand the demands of working in an elite senior environment.
‘The process of constructing probing questions was also excellent preparation for their assessment this week, where they will partake in a live online professional conversation.’
For more information on our programme in partnership with St Mary’s University, click on the links below or email Adrian.Salisbury@Chelseafc.com
The two-year Foundation Degree (FdSc)
The one-year top-up (BSc)
The Chelsea FC Foundation has provided senior participants of our Bridging Forces and Activate Seniors programmes with iPad’s to ensure they are able to stay connected with the club and their families during this time.
Bridging Forces is a health and wellbeing, education and employment programme for ex-service men and women while our Activate Seniors programme is for over 50s, connecting individuals and communities through providing them with unique opportunities to improve their physical and mental health.
The participants have been attending a variety of sessions for over two years, building friendships and a huge rapport with Foundation staff.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic these weekly sessions have been put on hold but with the participants now having iPads the Foundation can stay connected with the participants through the delivery of sessions via online video calls. Working alongside Stoll, an organisation who house and help vulnerable veterans, the Foundation health and wellbeing team are now delivering coffee mornings, exercise and mobility circuits and chair-based exercise sessions all via online video calls.
Participants have also been given an Activate Seniors activity booklet and equipment pack to give them some guidance on how to keep both the body and mind active whilst at home during lockdown. Health and wellbeing project officer Ellie Lock said: ‘Working at Stoll was always a lovely way to start the week with a Monday morning circuit session. ‘The group are always so lovely and we have built a great relationship – whilst working hard of course!
‘I have regular calls with the participants to stay in touch and check how they are doing whilst isolated and the main feedback was being bored inside and missing the sessions. ‘This iPad initiative is a great opportunity to have a catch up with each other over video and give those participants the workout they are missing, whilst staying safe in their own home.
‘We have also put together an Activate Seniors activity pack for them to follow at home so they can do more exercises and activities in their own time too, aiming to get them physically, mentally and socially active as much as possible. ’George Bageya, wellbeing, health and activities manager at Stoll added: ‘Stoll tenants were delighted to have received iPad loans from the Chelsea Foundation - most of whom have been in isolation during recent Covid-19 outbreak and haven’t left their homes for weeks.
‘I explained that we were moving elements of our health and wellbeing programme including the exercise sessions with Foundation online, through an application online and they will be supported to join the sessions from the comfort of their own homes. ‘They were really excited to hear that they would not only be able to see their trainer Jordan but also all the other participants and friends on screen at the same time. ‘Lots of friendships have been built or strengthened through Chelsea Foundation exercise sessions over the many months it has been running at Stoll and for many of the participants it will be the first time they have seen their friends since the beginning of the lockdown.’
The Chelsea Foundation will this week begin providing exercise packs and education workbooks to schools in support of Mental Health Awareness Week.
In total 500 exercise packs, containing items such as footballs, cones and skipping ropes to help youngsters stay active, will be delivered to schools that remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
A specially designed ‘Extra Time’ workbook will also form part of the giveaway, helping participants keep a healthy mind, and healthy body, during the current coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative forms part of our support for ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’, which runs from May 18 to May 24, with schools encouraged to sign up for a week of activity. The Foundation will be delivering daily sessions to these schools via our successful virtual classroom platform and online coaching sessions.
The activity has been funded in part by Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who said: ‘As a footballer I know how important mental wellbeing is. At Chelsea we believe that a healthy body and a healthy mind are important to overcome any challenge, both on and off the pitch.
‘We have created this workbook and our exercise packs to highlight the importance of mental and physical health and hope that you enjoy the challenges and activities we have created.
‘I am very proud to be the captain of Chelsea and in this role it is important for me to stay physically strong and train everyday so that I can be the best that I can be. Equally, it is important for me to be mentally strong. I need to be determined and resilient for my team and for myself.
‘I hope that you enjoy all of the challenges in this workbook and enjoy learning about the importance of exercise and positive mental health!’
The activity is part of our wider commitment to mental health during the current coronavirus pandemic and throughout the week we will have a different focus on each day, all linked to the five ways to wellbeing: keep learning, take notice, give, be active and connect.
The workbook and exercise packs have been created to highlight the importance of mental and physical health as the Foundation continues to support the most vulnerable in our community during the global coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Foundation head of education Sam Gaskin-Kemp said: ‘We are delighted to be working with schools and the wider community as part of our programming for ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’.
‘The activities and exercise packs that we have created thanks to Cesar’s support will enable us to continue to deliver our support to children and young people, and to focus on the importance of having a healthy body and a healthy mind.’
Chelsea Foundation’s Education team continue to deliver adult education throughout this period of uncertainty, specifically targeted at those who wish to gain qualifications either to progress into employment or move further within their respective field.
Online delivery through Google Classroom means participants are able to enrol and undertake courses delivered directly by Foundation staff wherever there is an internet connection and a desire to learn.
Digital Skills is just one of the courses on offer and gives participants a chance to gain a recognised Level 1 OCN qualification by covering topics from a range of subjects including data security, using collaborative technology and most importantly, how you can stay safe online and protect yourself.
Education operations officer James Macdonald said: ‘Delivering Digital Skills qualifications online is a natural fit and offers a chance for participants to engage and test their learning immediately in a practical environment.
‘The digital world is something that touches on all of our lives – even where we don’t realise, and while this may be more so within the present time it will continue to grow and shape how we communicate, work and educate within society.
‘We want people to feel safe and secure navigating an ever-changing digital future and through delivering Digital Skills qualifications online we offer a chance for participants to engage and test their learning immediately in a practical environment.’
Our Education Team are particularly keen to speak to anyone wishing to refer themselves, colleagues, friends or family for this opportunity that will certainly provide focus, purpose and structure immediately to daily lives while also providing a longer-term edge to CVs and portfolios in a post Covid-19 world.
Due to funding requirements, the course can be applied for by anyone over the age of 19 on 31 August 2019 who lives within a London postcode/borough and earning less than £20,850 per year.
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