Using football to empower young people with autism

By Saints Foundation Media time Thu 01 Apr Saints Foundation Only

Liam, a Year 9 pupil at Bitterne Park School, has developed his confidence and self-esteem with the help of one of our amazing Community Champions.

Fraser is one of nine Community Champions working full-time in local secondary schools. A key part of his role is to build relationships with students who struggle in a traditional school environment, including young people with autism. 

Students at Bitterne Park School’s Autism Resource Base (ARB) have benefited from working with Fraser, who has used the shining example of Southampton FC’s first team to develop their confidence and teamwork skills.

One young person that Fraser has been working with is Liam, a Year 9 student who has been attending the ARB since 2019. Liam lacked in confidence and self-esteem when he joined the school, but his passion for football meant he instantly struck a strong bond with the Community Champion.

Liam’s mum Susan said: “Liam has really come out of his shell since working alongside Fraser. Gaining trust with him has made Liam more confident in himself and helped him set out his goals for the future.”

“Fraser has been working with Liam for a while now and the difference we’ve seen in him is amazing,” added Lynsey, Liam’s lead worker at the school. “Now he will participate in group discussions within the classroom and voice his experiences and opinions."

WE ARE SO PROUD OF LIAM AND HOW MUCH HE HAS ACHIEVED FROM THE INCREDIBLE MENTORING HE'S RECEIVED FROM FRASER AND SAINTS FOUNDATION.

LYNSEY
LIAM'S LEAD WORKER AT BITTERNE PARK SCHOOL

To recognise Liam’s huge progress, we invited him to join Saints midfielder Nathan Tella for a special game of FIFA. He overcame his nerves to speak with Nathan via headset for between 20 and 30 minutes – an amazing achievement for Liam and one that left him feeling even more confident.

“After his game with Nathan, Liam told his mum that he felt much less anxious and that the experience was one he’d never forget,” Lynsey added. “Nathan giving his time to talk to Liam has prompted him to take the big next step to start playing football within the community.

Thank you to Fraser and Bitterne Park School, whose support of young people with autism helps them achieve their potential as healthy and empowered individuals in our community.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS
Premier League Summer Sessions supporting young people over the school break
Saints Foundation Only

Premier League Summer Sessions supporting young people over the school break

Saints Foundation are running activities for young people over the summer in partnership with the Premier League.

timeTue 03 Aug
Summer NCS experience kicks off New project launched to champion leadership in girls aged 11 to 17
SAINTS: Pre-season double-header packed with souvenir posters
Saints v Levante

SAINTS: Pre-season double-header packed with souvenir posters

The cut-price summer edition of the matchday programme is a worthy keepsake.

time56 mins ago
Saints reveal 2021/22 away kit Live: Saints launch 2021/22 away kit