Leeds United have made the most of the club’s stature to make a positive impact in the local community by sending apprentices out to Primrose Lane Primary School as part of a reading and literacy initiative.
The young players have made regular visits to the school for reading sessions with Year 2 pupils, aiming to assist in improving their ability to read and write.
Head of Academy Education & Welfare Katie Slee told LFE: “The education and welfare department here at Leeds United supports the lifelong learning and social development of all Academy players.
“The opportunity to work alongside young children provides our youth players with valuable experience and enables them to enhance their communication skills.
“It is recognised that engaging in regular reading improves sentence structure and vocabulary, creating more articulate and socially confident individuals. As a result, we are continually looking for new ways of promoting reading at the Leeds United Academy.
“Primrose Lane Primary School have been supportive of this new initiative and have welcomed our Under-18 squad into their school once a month since the start of the season.”
Lara Bailey, Deputy Head and Year 2 teacher, expressed positive feedback regarding the scheme.
“The children really engage with reading with the students from the Leeds United Academy, they look forward to them coming and enjoy sharing their books,” said Bailey.
“It is lovely to listen to the conversations that they are having with each other, too.”
Second-year apprentices Bobby Kamwa and Sammy Amissah both spoke highly of the opportunity to engage with the local community.
Kamwa said: “It’s a good chance for us to work on our communication skills while giving back to the community and helping the kids improve their reading skills, so it benefits everyone involved.
“It took a bit of time to get used to it but the more time we’ve spent with them, the easier it’s become and the better they’ve got.
“It’s been a good opportunity to switch off from football for a bit as well. Being a full-time footballer, sometimes you need to give your mind a rest and remove some of the stress that comes with trying to push forward towards the first-team.
“If you look at all the first-team players, they’re always in the community and meeting different people, so this gives us a chance to practice that and prepare to hopefully make that step up and join them.”
Amissah added: “I wasn’t particularly confident when I first started because I wasn’t sure how good I would be at helping the kids and you want to make a good impact on them, but after going in a few times, I began to build a good relationship with my reader and we started to notice improvements.
“It’s very rewarding to see them get better and hopefully they will think I’ve made a positive difference.
“When you become a professional footballer, you are a role model for a lot of young people and I think that takes a while to get used to, so to be able to practice this now is great and will really benefit us if we get to make it as professionals.”