Originating from a dialogue between Paula Powell, Team Leader for Young People’s Services in the UK, and Sarah Lalaz, CAS Coordinator in Switzerland, the concept of uniting young individuals from two diverse communities began to take shape. Paula, who was accompanying Paul Canoville during his visit to Ecolint to discuss mental health challenges and the influence of racism, shared a commitment with Sarah to empower students aged 16-18 and provide them with engaging opportunities.

Recognising the disparities between these two groups, they approached the idea with great care. Identifying a common passion for football among the youth, Paula leveraged her extensive network in this field. Meanwhile, Sarah’s expertise in mental health added depth to the project’s foundation. This fusion of football and mental health became the catalyst for empowering these young individuals and propelling their shared journey forward

Development:

Recognising the importance of putting young people at the forefront, Paula and Sarah approached a group of young football enthusiasts, inviting them to spearhead and shape this project according to their peers’ preferences. London-based students initiated a collaboration with their counterparts in Geneva, collectively driving the project’s progress, with Paula and Sarah serving as their guides and mentors.

Their shared commitment to a level playing field meant that everyone worked collaboratively towards a common objective. Their chosen goal was the creation and execution of a week-long program in the UK, comprising mental health workshops, service activities, and football-related experiences tailored for up to 40 youths of the same age group.