March 18, 2019
On 1 March 2019, Reece Perry was selected for an award from the MFC Foundation in recognition of his social action activities including fundraising, volunteering and campaigning, through his engagement with the #iwill Project, which has changed his life.
This time last year, Reece Perry, a Year 10 student at North Shore Academy, sponsored by Northern Education Trust, was a persistent absentee in school, and at real risk of permanent exclusion. The ethos of Northern Education Trust is to place the needs of the child at the centre of all its work with students, and the Inclusion Teams in academies are part of this initiative, to support students who may need additional help to improve their behaviour, their attendance, and their social and communication skills. Reece was struggling with that, which was creating barriers to him making both academic and personal progress. The Inclusion Team identified a number of students whom, for various reasons, it was felt would benefit from participating in the #iwill Project, run by Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation. Reece joined the programme in March 2018, and attended 100% of the sessions over the 12 week programme. The work the Foundation has done with Reece has changed his life.
The MFC Foundation harnesses the passion and power of the football club to inspire hope and confidence, and improve the life chances of young people across Teesside, as well as making a positive impact on their community. The #iwill Project (funded by Virgin Money Foundation) gives young people the knowledge, skills and understanding to address important social constructs, and allows them to explore, create and deliver exciting and engaging programmes to raise awareness and promote improvements in their local communities. One of the ways in which this is done is to attempt to instil volunteering, campaigning and fundraising behaviours in the participants.
The group of young men from North Shore Academy that Reece attended the programme with raised £100 for Bridges, a local charity which supports families and children affected by Alcohol and Drug addiction. He volunteered at Jump 360, where 20 students in kinship care attended a fun day with their carers. And he also worked with Abbey Hill students, producing an emoji pom pom tool to promote the recognition of mental health and emotions within students with learning disabilities and impairments.
The impact of the programme on Reece’s social and emotional development was significant – his confidence improved, enabling him to both lead and participate in tasks, hold discussions and express his thoughts in group situations. This, in turn, impacted on his attitude towards school, where he was calmer and more focussed in lessons, and was able to manage his behaviour better and adjust to the appropriate environment. The most positive effect was on Reece’s confidence and maturity, enabling him to build some strong friendships which have improved his life both within and outside school.
Reece said: “it’s helped with my confidence in lessons to answer more questions. It’s going to help me in the future because when there’s something wrong with people you can help them get round the situation.”
Beth Gibbon, Inclusion Coordinator with North Shore Academy said: “We’re all extremely proud of Reece and the remarkable journey he has made. His progress both academically and personally has been transformational. The aim of the MFC Foundation’s inclusion project is to support young people in the most hard to reach places, and that’s exactly what they have achieved. The project and the experiences Reece has been open to will stay with him, and support him, for the rest of his life. He now attends school each day as a young man with aspirational goals and drive, and a focus on continuing to make progress to be a successful individual”.
Andrew Murphy, Principal of North Shore Academy said: “We could not be more proud of Reece and what he’s achieved. I think the work the MFC Foundation have done with Reece has genuinely changed his life. His attendance is now really good in school, and his grades have increased dramatically, and more than that, he’s just a lovely, lovely boy”.
MFC Foundation Coordinator Annaleigh Wynn said: “Reece has been part of the education programme for the last year and a half. He’s connected really well with the Foundation, and we’ve been able to engage with him in a way that no-one has prior. We’re really proud of that, and we’re really proud of him. He just has this energy about him, and we’re going to work with him as hard as we can to try and give him some direction, because he’s going to be remarkable.”
Reece was presented with the MFC Foundation Award at their Annual Foundation Dinner at Rockliffe Hall on Friday 1 March 2019, and has also been selected for their Club Captains’ junior leadership programme.
More information on the MFC Foundation #iwill Project can be found on their website – www.mfcfoundation.co.uk/courses-and-programmes/social-inclusion/iwill-project/