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Local youngsters meet their football heroes

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Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Education, Housing

Rochford youngsters followed in the footsteps of their football heroes recently after they were given an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Southend United with players from the club.

The young people from Rochford Housing, part of leading housing and care provider Sanctuary Group, were able to taste life as a professional as they were taken around Roots Hall in the company of manager Phil Brown and striker Britt Assombalonga.

Following a question and answer session with the famous duo, the youngsters visited exclusive areas of the ground including the players’ changing rooms and museum.

After going behind the scenes, it was back pitchside for the aspiring footballers who got to speak with the manager further about the matchday experience.

The tour rounded off an exciting programme of football training for the youngsters which has been delivered in partnership with Southend United.

The programme offered professional coaching to local young people, designed to help them develop their sporting talents, improve physical health and wellbeing, increase confidence and self-esteem, and interact and engage with other members of the community in a positive way.

The workshops formed part of Sanctuary’s wider national Football and Fitness Project involving nine similar partnerships with football league clubs across the UK.

Resident Andrew Leggett, one of the youngsters who has been taking part in the project, said: “It was fantastic to be able to play football with other people from the area and I’ve made some great friends. The tour was such a good experience and Phil Brown told me all about how he became involved in the game which was really interesting.”

Joe Skeels, Southend United’s social inclusion officer, added: “It was a truly wonderful experience for the youngsters to be able to meet Phil and Britt, and see what it’s like to be a professional footballer.

“I hope the sessions and the tour will inspire these young people to follow their dreams and push themselves as far as they can – one day they might be the ones giving the tour themselves!”

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