He visited Deepdale recently to meet people who have benefited from the work and impact of Preston North End Community Education Trust (PNECET) programmes
The Minister spoke with veterans that are part of PNECET’s Forces programme and meet weekly.
The free programme gives past and present members of the military the chance to participate in weekly football sessions, with an opportunity to represent PNECET against other professional clubs’ veteran’s teams in the North West Veterans’ league.
Paul Strickleton, PNE Forces participant, spoke with the Minister about programme.
He said: “As an active member of the veteran community, I regularly see the struggles at ground level, often with the most severe consequences.
“Active schemes such as the PNE Forces programme provide an outlet to socialise and discuss issues and problems to help motivate our physical and mental health.”
The Minister said: “Football clubs are at the heart of our communities and it’s inspiring to see the power of sport bring people and communities together.
“From young people to veterans, amazing projects such as these are making a real difference and ensuring the game is inclusive for all
“The Preston North End Community Education Trust is doing brilliant work, improving peoples’ physical and mental health of people and ensuring our clubs create stronger, healthier and more active communities. A huge thank you to PNECET and the EFL Trust for all their fantastic work.”
In 2021, PNECET engaged with 315 young people on the NCS (National Citizen Service) programme.
The Minister spoke with three of those young people, learning about their experience on NCS and what they have been doing in their community.
Having taken part in NCS in the summer, all three have continued to volunteer as part of PNECET’s Changemakers programme.
PNECET are part of the EFL Trust’s network of 64 Delivery Partners that have engaged with over 75,000 young people on NCS since 2011.
Designed for 16 and 17-year-olds, NCS offers an inclusive summer programme that helps young people get the skills, experience, and self-belief they need to achieve their potential.
NCS aims to make a life-changing difference to young people and how they approach life after school.
One of the young people, Sadiyah Desai, 19, told the Minister about how her confidence has increased since engaging with the programme.
Sadiyah is partially blind and has always struggled to interact with others, but NCS gave her the platform and confidence to put her hand up and have her voice heard.
She said: “NCS really helped me with my confidence. We spoke with the Minister about what we did with NCS and how it impacted us. It made me feel very proud.”
Sophie Platt, 17, took part in NCS and is now on the Changemakers programme.
She was excited about the opportunity of get her voice heard and speak with the Minister about her experience on NCS.
“We were talking about what we’ve done on NCS in the past and what we’re planning to do with the Changemakers programme,” she said.
“I really enjoyed it. I came onto the programme not knowing anyone that was doing it and I made lots of new friends. I got more confident.”
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