SOUTHAMPTON FC stars, Maya Yoshida and Will Smallbone, were on hand to celebrate Saints Foundation’s work in secondary schools by unveiling a commemorative plaque at one of the charity’s newest partnerships, Chamberlayne College for the Arts.
The duo, who both played in the win over Huddersfield in the FA Cup Third Round, met students who have benefited from working with Saints Foundation as well as talking to the school’s headteacher, Nick Giles, to gain a fuller understanding of their impact.
Through the Community Champions project, Saints Foundation work full-time in eight secondary schools across the city with Chamberlayne, St Anne’s Catholic School and Bitterne Park Secondary School joining for this school year alongside Oasis Academy Mayfield, Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Cantell School, Redbridge Community School and Woodlands Community College.
The Champions provide mentoring for those who struggle with a traditional school environment along with extra-curricular activities to engage and empower the students.
Although the project is into just its second term with the Weston-based school, Mr Giles is already seeing the benefits.
“We have already seen a huge impact on our students since the inception of the Community Champions project here at Chamberlayne College for the Arts in September.
“Josh [Harkness, Community Champion] has already shown how the scheme can make a real difference to our pupils with extra-curricular activities and mentoring.
“We may only be a few months into the project, but we are very excited for the future of this partnership.”
Yoshida, who is also a Saints Foundation Ambassador, alongside the 19-year-old Irishman, Smallbone, took part in a sports leadership session with pupils from the school. They got involved with activities set up by the pupils before a quick signing session.
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships, added: “It has been really rewarding for Saints Foundation to continue to build on the success of our first five schools across the city by being able to work in three more schools this year.
“The Community Champions project has gone from strength to strength, working with thousands of pupils each year to help develop their potential. We are really excited to see what the future has in store for the scheme.”