“Without BFCitC, I’d probably be in a cell” – Joe’s story

“Without BFCitC, I’d probably be in a cell” – Joe’s story

Burnley FC in the Community’s ‘It’s Your Turf’ programme is delivered by the charity’s Inclusion team. It is designed for young people aged between 8-19 years of age who are at risk or who are already involved in criminal activity. 

Part of the wider Premier League and Children in Need initiative to break the cycle of youth violence, Burnley FC in the Community staff provide bespoke one to one support for up to 12 months for every young person who enters the course

This is Joe’s story about how joining It’s Your Turf has changed his life for the better: 

Several school moves, expulsion and aggressive behaviour at school and home. Joe had started spiral and though he was being offered support, he didn’t want to engage with it. At just 14 years old, he had become involved in anti-social behaviour and his name was known to the police. 

Hitting almost rock bottom, Joe was referred to Burnley FC in the Community’s It’s Your Turf programme 10 months ago. He’d worked with services before and was sceptical as he entered the process. He’d been given up on before. 

Working closely with his BFCitC mentor Ged from the start, the pair began discussions on what his behaviour did to others – the consequences of his actions and the impact they had on the people around him.  

Ged and Joe worked on understanding how others feel, on accepting responsibility for actions and thinking about ways to react differently to situations. 

Joe began to think about his life choices and what door he ultimately wanted to walk through. 

After 10 months with the time and space to think about the bigger picture, Joe has now started to make positive decisions.

He’s got stuck into purposeful new activities, trying his hand at climbing and football sessions at the Leisure Box, taking up boxing lessons and even heading to Turf Moor on a matchday to watch the Clarets. 

His behaviour has improved and he is no longer involved with the police. In addition to this, his confidence is sky rocketing; he’s started to believe in his abilities and find new friends with shared interests. 

He’s now started a course, with the backing of his school, to gain new skills to help propel him into the Armed Forces – his big ambition. 

Joe said: “Working with Ged has helped me improve my attitude and behaviour. It has given me more confidence and I’m not getting into trouble with the police.

“If I had not been on the programme, I’d be 10 times worse and be in trouble with the police. Without BFCitC, I’d probably be in a cell.

“The best thing about the programme is to be able to talk to someone about everything and Ged has never let me down. When Ged says he is going to do something, he does.”

Joe’s mum said: “I think the It’s Your Turf programme is a God send! I recommend the programme for other young people. Joe has built a really good relationship with Ged and it’s great that Ged has not given up on him where others have. 

“He has kept in touch, supporting Joe throughout the Covid-19 crisis. He has helped him keep to a routine and follow boundaries. 

“I’m really proud of Joe and he is looking at his future for the first time and building confidence and that is really important.”

If you know someone who would benefit from the It’s Your Turf programme, please contact g.byrne@burnleyfc.com or click here.