Wycombe Wanderers duo Joe Jacobson and Michael Harriman were delighted to join forces with Kick It Out to deliver an equality workshop at Beechview School on Monday (19 March), as part of their roles as ambassadors for the organisation.
Ahead of the club’s dedicated Kick It Out fixture against Port Vale on Saturday, Joe and Michael were in attendance to support Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, lead an educational session with a class of Year 6 pupils. Topics on the day included racism, discrimination, language and treatment of disabled people.
Joe, who was taking part in his first event since being confirmed as an official Kick It Out ambassador, praised the honesty of the young group and was delighted to have a chance to work alongside Michael.
“There’s some really interesting kids here, which always makes it a lot more fun,” he explained. “Especially when they’re willing to get involved and be honest, which is the most important thing.
“We don’t want them to say what they think is the right answer, you want them to say what they’re really thinking – that’s the only way you can educate young people. To have Michael here as well makes it easier to have someone to bounce off with during the session.”
Michael, who has been a Kick It Out ambassador for almost five years, echoed Joe’s comments about the pupils and was similarly pleased to deliver his first workshop together with a teammate.
“The pupils were fantastic and like Joe said it’s important for them to be honest and not to say what they think you want to hear. A lot of these young people know enough as it is, it’s just important to make sure they’re educated to deal with discrimination properly.
“It’s brilliant to have someone with you because Joe and I have different experiences in our lives and we can offer that to the pupils – I’m sure it’s the first of many.”
After the workshop was delivered, the pupils were given an opportunity to quiz Joe and Michael about their careers and roles as Kick It Out ambassadors, before the afternoon ended with both players taking photos, signing autographs and handing out prizes.
Paul Mortimer praised both players and expressed his enthusiasm at the impact Kick It Out can have in local communities in Wycombe thanks to Joe and Michael’s support.
“Our ambassadors were brilliant today and really helped the Beechview pupils engage with our work around equality,” he said. “I always tell the young people that they know more than they realise, and that was certainly the case today, but sometimes it takes a little bit of guidance and support to give them the confidence to discuss potentially difficult topics such as discrimination.
“Joe and Michael played a vital role in making the pupils feel comfortable and I believe that together with the support of Wycombe Wanderers and their Sport and Education Trust, we will continue to play a vital role in educating the next generation of young people in the area about equality and diversity.”