It’s workshop day! The very first time we got to test our newly developed workshop resource together with our partners Pledgeball and Football for Future! We set the alarm for 6:00 am, had a short team meeting whilst having breakfast – delicious coffee and banana – and headed downstairs to catch our Uber, which we already pre booked the day before just to be on the safe side. Having arrived one hour early at Leyton Orient Trust , we were very warmly welcomed at the Trust by Gary Lambert-Snaith and his colleagues. Even coffee was included in our “welcome package”.
After Elliot from Football for Future, who helped us to develop our new Football under the Climate Microscope education module, arrived, we set everything up – including healthy snacks for the participants -, discussed last minute arrangements and started to greet people with high fives making them feel comfortable in the rather small and hot room. Our participants, 14 brilliant guinea pigs, from very diverse backgrounds were extremely interested, knowledgeable about sustainability, open-minded and super patient. Sometimes it was really challenging to interrupt the never ending flow of enthusiastic conversation.
After a relaxed round of introductions which included throwing a SDG (sustainable development goals) ball around, we started with a presentation about The Ball, the organisations supporting Spirit of Football on this bold journey, particularly our Climate Action partner Pledgeball and Education partner Football for Future. This was followed by Speed Dating. No, not what you think! We asked people to chat about their most intense, emotional football experience before letting them write down a typical match day routine with the help of a worksheet. Participants were asked to focus on transport, the clothes they are going to wear that day, the food and drinks they are consuming, their matchday rituals as well as information channels. Sounds simple? Usually, the next step requires a bit more imagination but not this time as there was a heat warning in London. Participants should consider how their experience is affected by extreme weather such as a match day taking place on the hottest/wettest day of the year and then discuss it.
Of course, when you are doing a workshop that is taking place at a football club with football crazy people and putting football under the climate microscope, it certainly makes sense to play some football too. Our participants eagerly played FairPlay football. We split them up into three teams and played non-competitive football. The aim was to get them moving and to bring them together on the field to have some fun. It worked.
After a lunch break, we returned to the classroom and analysed our game day experience with the help of materials collected to show just how sustainable or unsustainable football can be. The workshop started to take a look at what participants are already doing in terms of individual sustainable action before sparking debate about what actions could be or already are being collectively taken to make people’s respective football clubs and communities environmentally friendlier.
Some great ideas came out of the workshop. We definitely learned a lot too and the all round positive atmosphere contributed to helping to create a real team feeling come the end of the day.
Liliana Almeida, Player for the Leyton Orient Women’s Team: “I pledge to lead by example and be a champion for women’s football.”
Gary Lambert-Snaith, Social Action Manager, Leyton Orient Trust, “I pledge on behalf of the Club and the Trust to educate young people about climate action”.
Danny King from Epping Youth Football Club, London: “We have now pledged to reduce the number of kits that we use in the course of a season,and will be keeping our kits for two years instead of one year.”
-Zakarina Ajala, Sustainable Development Assistant for Leyton Orient Trust and Football Club.
“I studied environmental sustainability in my bachelors and my masters but I never thought about working in sport. The workshop today has really shown me how influential sport and football can be in terms of environmental sustainability and tackling climate change.”