Preston North End Community and Education Trust invited 11 different schools from across Preston to take part in an educational workshop hosted by Show Racism the Red Card.
Working closely with various sports organisations, Show Racism the Red Card is the UK’s anti-racism educational charity which includes reiterating those messages to individuals at an early age.
Helping to promote those messages at Deepdale were North End’s very own Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson, with Robinson himself able to touch upon racist abuse aimed towards him at school.
“There’s been a couple of occasions” said Callum. “Once was when I was at school and I let it stew in my head for a lesson and I shouldn’t have done that, I should have gone to the teacher straightaway.
“It’s important for us to get this out of the game, but also to get it out of society and in schools. It’s going to take a while but we’ll get there. As players we’re really happy to come to these events, the kids at this age are still learning everyday so it’s important we educate them on these sensitive issues.”
Robinson, alongside Gallagher were part of a press conference style panel with former footballer Chris Iwelumo, Head of Education and Health at PNECET, Harriet Creighton-Levis and UNISON Branch Schools Convenor and BAME activist, Paul Burdess.
Children were able to touch upon the various messages that they’d been taught during the afternoon to the panel with some tough, yet interesting questions put forward.
On the afternoon, Gallagher said: “Having kids yourself, you want to educate them and bring them up in the right way and go into life responding the right way to certain things. It’s not a nice thing racism and it’s unacceptable and it’s something we need to eradicate.”
Former footballer and now ambassador of Show Racism the Red Card, Chris Iwelumo knows all too well the influence footballers can have in their community and their role model status, and was full of praise for a day in which over 50 school children took part in.
“When you’re in the position of a professional athlete you have a responsibility to go about things the right way” said Chris. “The more influences we can bring together, the bigger the voice can be.”
“Callum and Paul coming in today are role models and people look up to them. It’s important that these players put out these messages as they’re heard more than most.
“We’ve got to use people who can influence and really hit that message home that it’s not accepted. We are taking small steps but they are steps in the right direction. It’s so important that players get involved with things like this and the lads have given their time today to speak to 11 different schools which is amazing.”
Head of Education and Health at PNE, Harriet Creighton-Levis said: “It’s a hot topic and it’s important for us to educate children about racism, how to deal with it and have that opportunity to speak out.
“It echoes the messages of the PL Primary Stars programme to treat people with respect in and out of school and that’s something we reiterate as a Trust.”