The Arsenal Foundation has helped to fund workshops by Let Me Know, an education charity that works with young people to prevent domestic violence, relationship abuse and sexual assault, and to empower and educate them to thrive in safe and happy relationships. Akos, 17, from Islington, tells us about the workshop he attended.
“I’m at sixth form at the moment doing A levels in history, politics and biology, so that takes up a lot of my time. I’m aiming to go to university in September and I’d like to be a lawyer.
“I’ve been involved with Drayton Football Club since I was in year nine – it has been a long-term commitment for me. It was my coach there, Rhys, who told me about Let Me Know and their workshop, as he delivers sessions there himself. One of my friends had been and said it was beneficial so I decided to go along for myself because I thought I could learn something useful.
“It felt like there were quite a lot of people there the first time I went, probably about 12 of us, all male. It was actually easier than I expected to talk about relationships because we were all around the same sort of age and could relate to each other. We also watched some short films about unhealthy relationship behaviours, which were the starting point for our discussions.
“We learned about consent, setting boundaries and pornography. We learned a lot about unhealthy relationship behaviours, particularly when people don’t communicate and don’t feel comfortable talking to each other, and we talked about how to open up and communicate better.
“We also learned about volatility – when people feel anxious or unsafe in a relationship – and how important it is to be predictable and consistent in our behaviour. And we talked about online dangers, and how damaging sexting and sending explicit photos can be – once those pictures are out there they are out there forever.
“Rhys was great – he really engaged with us and made sure everyone had a voice. No one was cut off when they were talking and we all had the opportunity to express our opinions.
“I think the workshop really helped me gain a great understanding of relationships, and it’s really important for young men. You will learn these things yourself, sometimes the hard way, but it’s much better to educate people when they are younger so they don’t make mistakes and don’t hurt anyone. Also young people can be exploited when they get in with the wrong crowd and don’t know how to communicate, and giving them these skills can help give them the mental strength to avoid mixing with the wrong people. Communication skills help in football too, especially when it comes to dealing with your manager!
“I think it’s great that Arsenal helps to fund a charity like this because it gives younger people a great understanding of the world around them.”
For more info visit lmkletmeknow.org
You can also look back on Rhys's journey through the Positive Futures programme from 2015 here
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