Sunderland youngsters fighting to kick racism out of football

Pupils from Southwick Primary, St Anne's and St Joseph's RC Primaries took part in a Show Racism the Red Card event in Sunderland Council Chamber. They are pictured with former footballers Richard Offiong, John Anderson and Trevor Benjamin.
Pupils from Southwick Primary, St Anne's and St Joseph's RC Primaries took part in a Show Racism the Red Card event in Sunderland Council Chamber. They are pictured with former footballers Richard Offiong, John Anderson and Trevor Benjamin.
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WEARSIDE youngsters have joined the fight to kick racism out of the beautiful game.

Pupils from Southwick, St Anne’s and St Joseph’s primary schools took part in workshops exploring the problem of “stereotyping” in football, as well as wider society.

Organised by Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC), the event at Sunderland Council’s offices also saw former Newcastle United defender John Anderson, ex-Leicester City striker Trevor Benjamin and retired Hamilton Academicals’ player Richard Offiong take part in question-and-answer sessions.

Education worker Lizz Bennett said: “These showcase events are a brilliant way for young people to really be inspired by the anti-racism message.

“The footballers engage brilliantly with the young people, and the question-and-answer sessions always prove popular.

“So far, our team have worked with almost 1,600 benefactors in and around the borough since last April, and we hope to continue spreading the message to many more young people over the coming years. The support given to us by Sunderland City Council shows their commitment to tackling racism in society.”

SRtRC enlists players to educate young people about the dangers of racism in both sport and the community.

Each year, it visits council chambers in the North East to host events with pupils and professionals, ex-professionals, managers, coaches and high-profile members of the community.

Karen McCourt, anti-bullying co-ordinator at St Anne’s, attended the event with more than 20 children.

“We have worked with SRtRC before in the school, but this is the first time we’ve been to a community event like this,” she said. “The children always get a lot out of it.

“In the past, we’ve listened to talks and created displays in school.

“A lot of what we do also goes on our website, so there will also be information about the event on there.”

Pauline Walmsley, community manager at Southwick, said: “These events are a good way to teach the children about empathy and the importance of treating everybody the same.”

For more information about SRtRC, visit www.theredcard.org.