STUDENTS at a special school have had a huge confidence boost after taking part in a programme run by Pompey in the Community.
Staff from the football club’s Respect programme worked with 14 pupils aged between 14 and 16 from Redwood School in Cosham.
The pupils took part in a 12-week sports and fitness course, having a go at different sports and workshops.
The activities on offer included football, tennis, basketball, handball and golf.
There were also educational activities such as alcohol awareness, a simulation of what it is like to be visually impaired, and a fitness session at a local gym.
Lynda Butt, deputy headteacher at Redwood School, said: ‘It’s been brilliant. Many of our students might not otherwise have gone to a club after school.
‘They have kept it up and kept it going.
‘Their behaviour has got much better.
‘It’s about boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence. They have been accepted into the community.
‘They get to mix with people from other schools, and it’s the fact that they have been involved.
‘The people from Pompey have not only involved them but made them feel good about themselves.
‘Lots of these children don’t feel listened to and don’t get engaged in conversations.
‘And we haven’t just taken the sporty children. It’s not just those you expect to do well at sport. It’s a diverse section of pupils.’
Staff from Pompey in the Community visited the school in Wembley Grove to hand out certificates for the students who attended.
Richie Maclaren, project worker for Pompey in the Community, said working with the students had been successful.
‘It’s the best course we have ever done. They got so much from it,’ he said.
‘All young people like to have fun, and it’s about having fun. They all gave it a go.
‘We have done it in mainstream schools where we have had to ask children to leave because of their behaviour, but these kids wanted to come back every week.’
Jade Martin, 15, said: ‘The programme was absolutely amazing.
‘I had so much fun. It helped me learn more.’