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Wigan Athletic

Champions programme helps young people improve their confidence, behaviour and attitude

The Lancashire Violence Reduction Network works with 9 football community trusts across Lancashire to deliver the Champions programme. The programme has helped young people across the county reduce anti-social behaviour, and help them build confidence and increase their aspirations.

Wigan Athletic Community Trust has been running a number of cohorts of the Champions programme, including group and one-to-one sessions for young people across Wigan and Skelmersdale.

One of those young people is Emmie, who has been taking part in weekly one-to-one sessions with one of Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Youth Engagement Officers, Ella Shickhoff.

Ella has been working with Emmie for ten weeks, taking part in mentoring, enrichment activities and workshops, with the aim of helping Emmie experience new activities outside of her local area and allowing her to build her confidence, behaviour and attitude towards other people.

These have included regular trips to Wigan Youth Zone to join in with other Community Trust activities as well as take part in workshops focused on mental health, knife crime and drug awareness.

“I’ve become a bit less naughty than what I was. My whole attitude towards people has changed.” – Emmie Champions Participant



Speaking about Emmie’s progress since joining the programme, Ella said:

“From the first week to now, her engagement levels are completely different.

“She’s less nervous. Her interest in the workshops has really increased. I don’t think she’s missed a week or a session since we started.

“Her confidence has seen a great difference. Through the engagement levels, she shows in sessions, you can tell that her confidence levels have increased.

“It’s just about being another person in that young person’s life that gives them a chance, it’s monumental to them, and it’s what our work is all about.”

Those thoughts were supported by Emmie, who said:

“It’s just a place to get away from Skem [Skelmersdale] sometimes when you need to get away from something.

“You can talk to Ella about anything that you need to talk to her about. You can come out and have fun.

“I’ve become a bit less naughty than what I was. And now I’m not getting in as much trouble as I was in the streets before I started coming.

“My whole attitude just changed towards people.”

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