Kick It Out ambassador Nathan Redmond was pleased to once again support the organisation’s work at a special educational afternoon in Southampton last Wednesday (15 November).

The Southampton winger joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, to deliver an equality workshop to Year 10 pupils at Redbridge Community School, before taking part in a visually impaired football session led by the Saints Foundation.

“Paul knows how I feel how about Kick It Out and the message we’re trying to get out,” Nathan explained. “Whenever he gets in touch with me, I’m always quick to give him a call back. Anything that I can do to help when he wants to deliver a session or a workshop, I’m all for it.”

The afternoon began with Paul leading a discussion with the pupils alongside Nathan, as the group reflected on Kick It Out’s key areas of work around discrimination, diversity and inclusion. Topics ranged from understanding what language or behaviour might be unacceptable, to celebrating the differences between the people we meet in our everyday lives.

Nathan enjoyed his afternoon at Redbridge, and he particularly valued the chance to join the pupils in developing a better appreciation of what it’s like to play football with a visual impairment.

He said: “Today was different from just sitting in a classroom – we got them to open their minds more. I’ve watched the England Blind team play before at St. George’s Park and I was really interested as to how they play when their senses are limited.

“Even just trying to use my own ball manipulation skills was weird because it felt like I was using parts of my brain that I hadn’t used before. In terms of navigating myself through cones with someone else’s instructions, that trust and that communication is important and I think the pupils learned that today as well.”

After taking part in a Powerchair Football session at a school in Bournemouth with Tyrone Mings earlier this month, Paul was delighted to have the opportunity to raise further awareness of disability football.

“It’s a fantastic learning process, both for myself, for our ambassadors and for the young people we work with,” he said. “Delivering equality workshops to school pupils is vital to ensure the next generation is educated about the importance of creating an inclusive society, but I also think it’s important to have a more active part of the afternoon.

“It’s not always easy for young people to grasp many of the complex issues around equality, and sometimes the most effective way is get them taking part in a session such as this. I’m confident that after today, the pupils that myself and Nathan worked with will go away with an improved appreciation for the challenges faced by visually impaired people who want to play football.”

As the event concluded with Nathan taking part in a Q&A about his career as a footballer – Redbridge pupils were thrilled to find out his footballing hero is Thierry Henry – Kick It Out’s ambassador summed up the message of the afternoon.

The event concluded with Nathan taking part in a Q&A session, where he mentioned his adoration for Thierry Henry, much to the delight of the group. Reflecting on a successful afternoon, the Kick It Out ambassador summed up the message he tried to get across to the Redbridge pupils.

“We’re all the same in terms of being human beings, but everyone’s different too – people have disabilities, people have different genders or sexual orientations. It’s just about trying to educate the pupils, to let them know that this is the world and that it is okay to ask questions.”