In recent weeks, Limerick FC’s STEP programme participants have enjoyed a vital part of their education by going on overseas placement to Calcutta, India in order to train young kids in the finer skills of football in one of the cities schools. Staying at St. George’s Christian Brother Free School, the students got involved in community work, and were deeply touched by the poverty they came across – but also hugely encouraged by the great positivity the local children showed through football.
During the placement, the students did some work with the Hope Foundation, and played a match against some of the kids from their Drug Awareness programme, along with outreach work in a school located in a dump. The trip also included a visit to the tomb of Mother Teresa, and the Missionaries of Charity Leprosy Centre in Titagarm.
STEP is part of RECLAIM – the wider community section of the club. The purpose of RECLAIM is to develop social transformation and social cohesion through the medium of sport, mainly football.
The aims of the programme are wide and varied. However C.P.D (Continued Personal Development) is perhaps the best banner under which the ambitions of this programme can be located. The STEP programme sought to increase the confidence, self-esteem and future prospects of its students through education, training and exposure to a variety of disciplines and experiences, namely coaching, volunteering and education.
Limerick FC’s Barry Lynch heads up the STEP programme and said “The Calcutta trip is a vital part of our year. We are helping to train the participants of our programme as well as coach others through football. But credit where it is due, a massive well done to all of our participants, for taking on what was probably the toughest but most worthwhile overseas placement ever in 40+ degrees every day. Words cannot describe the poverty and neglect of certain classes of society here, emotionally that was extremely though to watch, but to their credit, they had the courage to bear witness”
Nathan Keane, who went on the placement, said “These last two weeks have changed my life forever. Calcutta will always have a place in my heart, the kids are so strong and full of joy, that it makes you wonder if life at home really as bad as we think. I’d like to thank RECLAIM, and especially Barry Lynch for everything. My eyes are open to reality now, and life isn’t all rainbows and roses, but it’s what you make of it that matters”
The students have now returned and will complete their studies by the end of May. At which time, the club will then start the process of recruiting for the next year of the programme beginning September 2016.
RECLAIM has 8 members, 2-3 employees and there are 10-16 STEP Programme Participants per annum.
More details from Colum McGrath, Limerick FC (085) 8708611 or firstname.lastname@example.org