Saints Foundation has teamed up with Rose Road Association – a charity organisation that offers respite care for disabled children and young people – to revamp the ‘Saints Room’ in the facility.
Saints' striker Sam Gallagher and former Saints midfielder Hughie Fisher, who was part of the 1976 FA Cup winning squad, were on hand to officially open the room on Thursday afternoon.
A group from the Saints Foundation ‘Barclays Premier League Works programme’, which enrols unemployed 16-24 year olds who are out of education, with the aim of finding them a path to work towards employment, were involved in the planning, designing and preparation of the room.
The group was joined by Southampton Football Club’s Painter and Decorator, Richard Sydenham and used materials donated by B&Q, Elmtree Signs and D&L Flooring to complete the transformation into something which is now just like walking out at St. Mary's stadium!
Complete with a full wall print of the Chapel Stand, a team tactics board, club badge on the wall and replica of the St Mary’s scoreboard, the room is now the perfect environment for any young Saints fan.
Mike Dixon, Saints Foundation Employability Project Officer, said: “The Barlcays Premier League Works programme team worked really hard to create a room that would benefit the children at the respite centre here.
“Hopefully it will be an inspirational room that they’ll enjoy staying in. The team are thrilled to see the young people it’s going to benefit.”
Neil Wilson, Rose Road Development Director, said: “The room was looking a bit tired and a bit old but if you look at it now, you wouldn’t recognise it. It’s absolutely brilliant – we have a lot of Saints fans at Rose Road.
“It’s really important that the children here have an experience and when they’re in the Saints Room it’s just like being on the pitch at St Mary’s.”
The Rose Road Association has been working with children, young people and their families from across Hampshire and the surrounding counties since 1952.
The 400 young people who come to Rose Road have a range of disabilities including severe and profound learning difficulties, physical disabilities and autism. This can lead to health problems linked to respiration, digestion, epilepsy and sensory impairments affecting sight, hearing and touch, as well as speech and ways to communicate.
Each child has their own unique talents, dreams and aspirations, and that is where Rose Road begins for children and young adults.
Saints Foundation’s Barclays Premier League Works programme focuses on developing employability, communication and teamwork skills, alongside the opportunity to undertake sports-based and employability qualifications.
The programme’s aims are to improve confidence, motivation and self-esteem, in order to help overcome any potential barriers to employment.
To find out how you can get involved with the Barclays Premier League Works programme, please contact the Saints Foundation.