Young people Our programmes How football can be used to change lives around the world How is football used to change lives around the world? Twenty-two men kicking a ball around on a large patch of grass for an hour and a half. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, there’s a lot more to it than that. You may wonder how such a simple concept can change the lives of millions, maybe even billions around the world. You’re excused to have that view, especially if you don’t even watch the game. Before we go any further, let’s just talk a bit about ‘the beautiful game’. Football’s a bit more than just a game, it’s about heroes and tribes, loyalty and fidelity. It’s our commitment. Our passion. Our emotions. Our battle. Our belief. This is our faith! Feel the irreparable fever, as there’s no cure for this. The tears of joy after Jack from the pub scored the last minute winner against Manchester United of the Premier League, from League Two relegation favourites Cheltenham reaching the FA Cup final, to the floods of tears following the disappointment of losing in the Champions League final. The range of emotions are endless. When you step on to the pitch, the crowd are no longer strangers; they’re your family. You no longer play in just a stadium; it’s your home. Football is a universal language and people from all walks of life can unite through it. As football is so big, it’d make perfect sense to try and use this for other more productive stuff. You know, to change lives for the better? So, such an initiative has, as expected, already been taken on board. There are football charities, as well as economic benefits, social benefits and educational benefits. Even energy benefits! But we’ll talk about the football charities, especially Street League, who are leading the way. Street League use football to change the lives of many uneducated, unemployed young adults all over the UK. You have to be aged between 16-25 and without a job to join the course. They’ll take anyone in this situation, regardless of your social, mental or physical state. You could be the most depressed young adult, who’s failed every GCSE they’ve taken and is struggling to find a job, yet they’ll still take you in, for completely nothing. They’re here to help tackle youth unemployment and I’ve seen it first-hand. You may be wondering - how does football come into the picture? Well, this unique charity has classes going on in the morning all geared towards gaining employment, then after lunch they go and play football for around 2-3 hours. When in the classroom setting, young people on the Academy get the educational side of things out of the way, but on the social and mental aspect of things, it’ll be slightly more of a challenge. This is where football comes into the picture. When playing football with Street League’s South London Academy, I saw how it can help a young person in need. Football enables a person to work with others, develop bonds, have a joke and above all else gain some vital life skills, but in a more enjoyable manner! Keen to find out more about Street League? Watch the video below! This blog was written by Jahvon, a big football fan and aspiring journalist, who was on work experience with Street League's marketing team for a week.