Pupils at three Thamesmead's primary schools have been taking part in anti-racism assemblies and workshops as part of football's ‘Kick it Out' equality and inclusion campaign.
The activities, which have been put on by Trust Thamesmead, are aimed at using football to tackle racism whilst celebrating equality and diversity in the community.
Dan Wells is the Trust's new Sports Development Worker who, when it opens early next year, will be based at Sporting Club Thamesmead, the Trust's new multi-million pound sports and community facility.
He said: “Kick It Out uses the phrase ‘one game, one community' and that's exactly what we wanted to promote through these activities, which are designed to help children understand the value of diversity and to recognise that everyone is different but at the same time everyone is equal.
“We use football as the theme because young people identify with, and even hero-worship footballers, so the campaign is a great way to get young people talking about racism.
“One of the activities we use is a spot the difference game where we compare team photos of the current England Ladies team and the 1966 England men's team. Interestingly most of the young people commented on the difference in the strips the players were wearing and not that there were no black faces in the World Cup winning team.
“They also thought about what they would do if they overheard a spectator racially-abusing a black England player at a game. One ten year old girl said she'd ‘defend the player' and another said she would ‘send the offender to Brazil to learn about other cultures'!
The Trust Thamesmead Kick it Out events took place throughout last week at Hawksmoor, Heronsgate and Windrush primary schools with more than 850 children participating. They will be followed up with multi-sports session at all three schools later this term.
Windrush Deputy Head Teacher Sally McAvoy said: “It is important to make children aware that even in the popular game of football racism can still exist and that it should not be tolerated. We treat racism very seriously at Windrush and will encourage the children to take the messages they learnt in these assemblies into their everyday lives.”
Aaron, Ann and Britney are in Year 6 at Windrush:
Aaron said: “Racism happens all the time in football and it's bad because little kids shouldn't be hearing that language.”
Anna: “Racism is very serious and it needs to be dealt with.”
Britney: “We played lots of games and learnt a lot about racism in sport.”