Thursday 24 October 2013
Members of a local community group were given the chance to meet Stoke City manager Mark Hughes and striker Jonathan Walters at an exclusive event organised by Premier League title sponsor Barclays.
"The abiding memory for me was at lunchtime when the lads sat awestruck at the realisation that they were eating with their heroes."
Chris Eaton, Nacro
Students and staff from the city's Nacro group, which provides young people with the skills, qualifications and advice they need to get into college as well as facilitating football for them to learn the values of sport, had the privilege of meeting Hughes and Walters at Stoke's training ground to quiz them on life in the Barclays Premier League in an exclusive Q&A session.
Each week the group play football at the Barclays Spaces For Sports site at Trentham Fields, one of 200 community sports sites that Barclays has built with partners the Football Foundation. And at Stoke's training ground they also got to put their boots on and take part in a special training session with the Potters' coaches.
Barclays chose them to take part in this unique experience because of the hard work they have dedicated to helping youngsters in the Stoke area.
"Most of the students come from challenging backgrounds and for all of them it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something like this," said Nacro's Chris Eaton. "The abiding memory for me was at lunchtime when the lads sat awestruck at the realisation that they were eating with their heroes. As one of the young men said: 'Today was unforgettable'."
David Wheldon, Managing Director of Brand, Reputation and Citizenship at Barclays, said: "This season Barclays is saying thank you to community heroes across the UK, who help make the Barclays Premier League what it is today.
"We invited the staff and some of their students from Nacro as a thank you for all their hard work in the community."