Making Young People Heard: Football Beyond Borders Isolation Diaries 

Football Beyond Borders (FBB) is a charity changing the lives of young people who are passionate about football but may be disengaged at school, providing long-term support, built around relationships and young people’s passions. They started their ‘Isolation Diaries’ in March to highlight the stories of 10 members of the FBB family, a mix of young people, parents, teachers and practitioners at the start of lockdown. In this guest blog we hear from two young people from the FBB family who have been recording their isolation diaries. 

Football Beyond Borders (FBB) is a charity changing the lives of young people who are passionate about football but may be disengaged at school, providing long-term support, built around relationships and young people’s passions. They started their ‘Isolation Diaries’ in March to highlight the stories of 10 members of the FBB family, a mix of young people, parents, teachers and practitioners at the start of lockdown, some have been watched almost 20,000 times. They recognised that no story would be the same, but all emotions are valid. In this guest blog we hear from two young people from the FBB family who have been recording their isolation diaries.

Shalukah  

I had got involved with the Isolation Diaries as a way of sharing my emotions and showing other young people that the way they were feeling about lockdown was completely normal. I also wanted to document the way I was changing throughout lockdown as it has been a time full of learning and I wanted to see the way I adapted. It was weird turning on a camera and using that as a way of communication; it wasn’t the same as talking to someone.

I feel like it has been very important for me to tell my story, as a young person from South London with a South Asian background, I felt like I was representing many people’s voices and I wanted them to be heard. I also felt sharing my story could potentially impact someone and it may possibly help them.

The response from the diary entries has been amazing, I think it has enabled a lot of young people and adults to see eye to eye. It’s been more than important to be and stay visible during lockdown as a young person. We are living through history and we also impact what will happen in the future after the pandemic.

As young people, I know we all have one thing in common which is having an opinion and not being heard as much as we should be. We are the next generation and being heard is the only way we will be able to create significant change. Being heard means we can also be taught and that is a powerful action. I would love to see a better world post lockdown for young people, a safer world. Too many young people are forced to be a particular way because of the pressure of society, adults, many disadvantages, labels, stereotypes and more. If this was lifted off of a young person’s mind, the things we could achieve would be a revelation.

It would be amazing if young people were educated and had access to better role models. Being educated on topics that are relevant and impact us as a generation could change the mindset of many young people. The lack of knowledge creates lack of change causing uneducated people to repeat history. If young people were aware of the injustice in society they would be eager to change that.

Abi 

I was first introduced to the Isolation Dairies by Ceylon, Head of Female participation . She asked if I wanted to get involved on a weekly basis, where we would talk about how our week has been, our emotions, how we feel mentally and physically, and finish off every entry with what are your hopes and fears moving forward. At first I was really nervous and found myself taking more than one recording because I wanted it to be perfect. When the camera was off I could answer the questions with no problems. But as soon as it went on; I’d stumble on words, mess up or there’d be too much noise coming from those in my household. Getting involved has had to be one of the best things I’ve done since Lockdown began. When I think about it now, I only wanted the videos to be perfect, I just wanted to come across as clear and professional.

Telling my story and having so many people hear has been very important to me. I found that being stuck at home I was muted, and I couldn’t really express how I felt and the things I wanted to do. There was some level of tension that began to increase as the weeks went on. My family and I aren’t used to staying home for so long, and so arguments could come from the simplest of things (how I sigh for example). I feel like lockdown portrayed an image of students of no more school, just sitting on our phones all day, FaceTime, playing PS4. That’s nice for the first week or so, but then what next? I remember in one of the weeks, I just couldn’t handle it anymore, and so I told everyone how it really was, I felt like I was at a crossroad waiting for the light to change to green, the week was fine for me physically, but my mental state couldn’t keep up. Every week I was hearing things like your entries are always so powerful, but when I think about it, I’m just saying what is facts and truths.

Watching the isolation diaries after it was completed there was a clear message coming from all of us. We are all young people who have been muted for weeks upon end, because of a virus. Being seen and heard during this time was really reassuring for me because if I was still at school, I would have been invisible. Up until now I was getting bullied at school. My name ran through so many mouths and it was all to do with my body image. I found my problems would go unheard because the teachers main focus is that they need to teach the whole class. Joining the Isolation Diaries family gave me the freedom where I can be seen and heard, and for the right reasons. I no longer had to worry about what someone said about me.

Watch all of the Isolation Diaries, and follow FBB work on their Twitter.

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