Young people from schools throughout the Milton Keynes area had the opportunity to attend one of the largest scale events of the season.
An audience of over 400 people attended the launch of the Milton Keynes / SRtRC Anti-Racist School Competition at this educational event held in the Ballroom of Stadium MK, organised jointly by Football First @ Milton Keynes Council, MK Dons FC and SRtRC.
School groups began to arrive from 12:00, the young people then had the chance to participate in a football skills session and learn about the Stadium from a club representative. The main event was chaired by Campaign Worker, Gavin Sutherland and he introduced Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr. Debbie Brock who officially opened the event with some kind words of welcome. This was followed by a short education session delivered by SRtRC Community Education Team member Conrad Franks, who engaged the young people, which helped to focus their attention on racism.
There then followed a short speech by Dennis Woolford of Football First, Milton Keynes Council, which promoted participation in the local SRtRC competition. Dennis has organised a localised version of the SRtRC national competition annually for several years now and his hard work ensures Milton Keynes Schools submit a lot of entries to the national competition, in addition to prizes young people can receive for participating locally.
The Q&A that followed saw many questions from the audience put to MK Dons players Sol Davis, Dan Woodwards, Stuart Searle, Jabo Ibehre, Darren Powell and David King as well as coach Paul Mitchell, MK Dons Ladies Player Charlene Ward and Lisa Lovell of Milton Keynes Council Youth Service. The panel also included SRtRC Regional Manager for East and South East England, Sarah Soyei and the questions were answered comprehensively.
Young people had an added incentive to ask questions thanks to prizes from the club including a pair of match tickets and from BP – a teddy bear! In all 13 pairs of tickets and teddies were given away SRtRC also provided some T-Shirts for ‘spot prizes’, which the players were happy to sign. BP provided some other items for spot prizes, including more bears, which went down very well. The winner of the panel’s favourite question received a box of books for their school, courtesy of Borders.
All of the attendees went away with a SRtRC goody bag following the photographs and autographs session at the end of the event. The event received some good press coverage thanks to MK TV.
SRtRC would like to thank Milton Keynes Dons FC, Milton Keynes Council, Football First and schools from the Milton Keynes area for their ongoing support for SRtRC. Big thanks in particular to Dennis Woolford and Matt Cove for their help with this event, as well as the volunteers and panellists for their participation. We would also like to thank the organisations that donated prizes to make the day extra special. SRtRC look forward to receiving the entries for the 2010 competition from Milton Keynes schools and continuing the successful partnerships in Milton Keynes.