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'PL Inspires has given me something to look forward to'

30 Jun 2021
PL Inspires, Jasmine, Wigan Athletic

How Wigan Athletic have used the Premier League programme to boost the mental wellbeing of young people

To mark the Premier League Inspires Challenge celebration on 1 July, we looked at how the programme, which is supported by the Professional Footballers' Association and the Prince's Trust, helps marginalised 11 to 25-year-olds fulfil their potential.

Wigan Athletic

For Atherton High School student Jasmine, the coronavirus pandemic has been a particularity challenging time with the periods of isolation reminding her of a childhood trauma.

But over the last 12 months, Jasmine has been one of more than 100 pupils from eight secondary schools and two engagement centres who have received support through Wigan Athletic Community Trust (WACT) and the PL Inspires programme.

The online and face-to-face mentoring sessions, designed to boost the self-esteem and confidence of young people, have been crucial in helping her mental health.

"Premier League Inspires has helped me to keep going and showed me that I'm not alone."

Jasmine, Atherton High School

PL Inspires uses the power of football and the local club to inspire young people to develop the personal skills and positive attitudes to succeed in life.

The programme involves WACT coaches going into schools to give these sessions or conducting them online to selected students who have been identified by the school as needing extra help to get them engaged. 

"The support from staff has been really good. It's given me different opportunities and kept me happy," Jasmine says.

"Premier League Inspires has helped me to keep going and showed me that I'm not alone - there are others going through things as well.

"Having sessions in the classroom was a lot better for me because I have a habit of staying at home and not going out, so when I'm coming to school knowing we have these sessions, I've got something to look forward to."

See: Premier League Inspires

With her confidence growing, Jasmine is now using her experiences to help others.

"Some kids might not have a good relationship with parents or might not have any friends they can talk to, which makes it a lot harder for them," she says.

"Having the responsibility of almost being a mentor has given me that hope that there is a way out of it, and I want to show that to other kids because it isn't fair for them to go through it alone."

Taking action

As part of the programme, Jasmine and a team of fellow participants have taken part in the PL Inspires Challenge, which tasks young people with developing and then delivering a social action project in their community.

An after-school youth group was set up to help young people, who may not want to talk with adults about their problems, to open up and trust more.

"It was really important to us all as we've all struggled with our mental health," Jasmine says.

"We've had a few sessions already and between 40 and 50 kids have been there each time. They are interested in what we are trying to do, it's gone really well."

Also in this series

Part 1: How Man City help young people find their voice
Part 2: Fulham teaching Franklyn the value of teamwork
Part 3: How Amelia provided vital support during lockdown
Part 5: Morgan using PL Inspires message to help others
Part 6: Emily focused on the future thanks to PL Inspires
Part 7: PL Inspires celebrates impact of social-action projects

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