Europe's finest clubs working together to tackle reoffending

Vi-Ability were extremely proud to be given the opportunity to attend Euro Football 2018 this June hosted by Dordrecht Prison, based in Dordrecht, a small city just outside Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

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This unique opportunity was presented to us and longstanding partners, Feltham Youth Offending Institute (YOI) Resettlement Team and Fulham Football Club Foundation, to showcase the work that is being carried out in England to reduce reoffending by harnessing the ‘power of sport’ and instilling its values within the troubled individuals that we engage with.

A number of clubs from across Europe were in attendance, including the Shalke 04 and our ‘More Than a Club’ Irish partners, Bohemians Football Club. The teams taking part in the tournament were made up of prisoners both past and present along with a number of teams made up of ex-professionals from some of Europe’s most decorated clubs, including Arsenal, Benfica and Ajax, all who promote the positive impact sport can have on an individuals life.

Gerko Brink is at the helm of the Dutch initiative ‘Work via Sport’, they are incredibly passionate about using football as a tool to provide a life away from crime for individuals across the Netherlands. Gerko and his team deem it extremely important that there are opportunities to share best practice and examples of what support and opportunities are delivered across Europe, with the shared goal of supporting these individuals into positive activities, that ultimately reduce reoffending and promote integration into the world of work.

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Previously, Vi-Ability has successfully delivered the award winning ‘Run The Club’ programme to individuals who had the opportunity to access release on temporary licence (ROTL). This was delivered at Craven Cottage in partnership with Fulham Football Club Foundation and Feltham YOI. This exciting eight-week opportunity gave individuals a chance to gain qualifications and relevant knowledge about the various facets of how a football club is run, combined with the teaching of essential employability and life skills. This supported the prisons aims of their ROTL initiative and played a valuable part in supporting the resettlement and rehabilitation of offenders.

Off the back of this successful partnership, Vi-Ability then supported the delivery of three ‘Football Changes Lives’ programmes delivered in Feltham YOI, where Vi-Ability and Fulham Foundation provided additional qualifications and employability skills to 60 individuals.

Karl Sear, Area Manager for Vi-Ability said, “It was fantastic that Vi-Ability were given the opportunity to attend Euro Football 2018 at Dordrecht. It not only gave us the chance to see the inspiring work carried out elsewhere in Europe, but it also allowed us to share the success we have had so far in the UK. I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to deliver on all four of the programmes at Craven Cottage and at Feltham YOI, it shows that that strength of our partnership and programme design is extremely effective and I am proud of the difference we have made to so many lives.”

Going forward, we aim to continue to work in partnership with the Fulham FC Foundation and Feltham YOI, and relish the prospect of expanding our good work and practice across the United Kingdom and Europe, engaging with likeminded clubs and prisons to use business and sport as a tool to reduce reoffending and ultimately strengthening the support, opportunities and guidance on offer for individuals upon their release.


Should you have any further questions about programmes across the UK, please email courses@vi-ability.org. Alternatively, if you are interested in discussing possible partnership opportunities please contact Karl Sear karl@vi-ability.org