Team Talk

George Friend smiles as he talks to members of Team Talk

Team Talk

The collapse of Redcar-based SSI in 2015 left more than 2,000 directly-employed staff without work and affected hundreds more in the supply chain. As a community it was important to the local area to work together and offer a unique project which could help support those affected by recent redundancies.

‘Team Talk’ was joint funded by Middlesbrough Council and Redcar & Cleveland Council along with additional support from Middlesbrough FC players who donated proceeds from their charity topless calendar. The proceeds went directly towards the programme, which significantly helped to launch and run Team Talk.

Team Talk is aimed at engaging males recently made redundant across Teesside, targeting mainly men aged 40+ who have been impacted by the recent closure of SSI Steelworks.

This model looked at engaging local champions in communities that would assist with tackling social isolation and loneliness by supporting individuals to maintain latent functions such as time structure during the day, continued shared experiences with others, goal setting and continuing to be active. It aims to build community resilience using evidence based mental health improvement interventions.

Empowerment is at the heart of the weekly meetings (called ‘Boot Rooms’) with participants being practical and proactive; aiming to help them to fulfill both group and individual goals. The most important feature of the boot rooms is that the members drive the agenda and activities.

The group have engaged in a number of activities including volunteering on Sporting Memories ’66 event at the Riverside Stadium, attending Newcastle Airport for fire safety training alongside talks on seasonal contracts and are also currently voluntarily renovating the environment surrounding their boot room hub site.

The group have received guest speakers from organisations such as Pension wise, Job Centre and National Careers Service, while they have also attended healthy eating workshops ran by Middlesbrough FC’s 1st Team Chef, as well as assisting in the running of the annual steel gala day at Redcar. Aside from this they have taken part in interviews and reports for BBC One, The Politics Show, The Northern Echo, The Evening Gazette and BBC Radio Tees.

Contact Claire on Claire.streeter@mfcfoundation.co.uk or call 01642 757674


Football Welcomes: Shaygan’s Story

SHAYGAN is from Iran. His story as a 20-year-old began with MFC Foundation around April 2019 as a participant in our Football Welcomes programme, the very same programme we are highlighting today, the EFL’s Day of Action.

The programme is an initiative to create a more welcoming community for those seeking refuge and asylum. He hadn’t been in the country long before he started attending sessions.

A keen student of football, Shaygan began volunteering on the Football Welcomes programme organising warm-ups, cool downs and various other activities for the participants. He also assisted in getting teams together for regular tournaments against other programmes and indeed Foundations from across the country. Other roles during this time included being an interpreter for coaches for participants from Iranian, Kurdish and Afghan backgrounds.

Upon gaining his status in the country Shaygan was able to sign up to the MFC Foundation traineeships programme. As part of his as well as gaining a number of qualifications based around football such as Sports Leader, First Aid and Safeguarding he also completed 100hrs work experience. The work experience involved him getting knowledge of a number of different programmes the Foundation deliver across the Tees Valley area.

His journey continued when he gained employment with the organisation. After completing his traineeship, he was successful in getting a 20hr a week contract as a Business Support Worker. This involved him being part of the day to day running of the MFC Foundation Herlingshaw Centre as well as assisting on many of the different programmes the Foundation delivers.

Shaygan’s next calling has taken him to London and occasional work with Amnesty UK and Fulham. But he never forgets where his new life started.