The social-sports schools programme is aimed at children (mixed teams of boys and girls) aged 5 to 18 in Europe who are in difficult socio economical situations, likely to interrupt their education for reasons of poverty and the lack of learning opportunities, or face various risks or behavioural problems. The RMF works in more than 100 countries, in this specific case, the focus is on European social-sports schools in five different countries: Romania, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal and 14 social-sports schools in shelter homes in Madrid (Spain).
The theme of marginalization is common to all the European locations running the social-sports schools programme. The beneficiaries are vulnerable families, children in difficult socio-economic situations and with poor education prospects, teenagers with youth distress problems, minority groups, children at risk of social exclusion, victims of violence and children living in shelters.
The RMF develops Real Madrid FC's social and cultural awareness programmes. It has been applying the principle of teaching values through sports since 1998. RMF contributes to the holistic development of the beneficiaries by means of sports and socio-educational activities adapted to their needs, such as: promoting afterschool activities; seminars raising awareness about education, gender equality or other issues; language classes; check-ups; psychological counselling; and supplementary nutrition.
The main objective is to promote the values inherent in sport, both in Spain and abroad, and use sport an educational tool that contributes to children's development. The project additionally promotes social integration for marginalised sectors of the population, while enabling participants to develop their knowledge of football, personal balance and interpersonal relationships.
UEFA Foundation for Children funds will permit the sustainability of the programme for the benefit of 600 children. The RMF wants to
- foster values and positive living habits through the use of sport;
- benefit children and youth through the practice of sports, to assist in their physical and psychological development;
- provide the beneficiaries with outdoor activities, such as tournaments with other shelter homes and social sport schools;
- benefit and maintain the staff working on the programme;
- benefit the staff involved in the activities.
All RMF projects have a sports component; however, the projects do not aim for a high-level performance and are not used for scouting or as a talent pool. They aim to boost education through sport. One tool to reach that is the sports methodology called 'For a real education: values and sports'. Developed over the last 20 years, it covers the whole spectrum of the RMF's capabilities: physical and sports training combined with personal and psychological development. The RMF methodology is applied to the two sports that are developed in the social-sports schools: football and basketball. The aim is to train coaches who will then pass on the values to the beneficiaries. Local trainers are also provided with all the necessary teaching materials. During the sessions, various values are related to social, educational, physical-motor, technical-tactical skills, and rules.
In addition, RMF organises the Copa Alma, a 4-day social tournament that promotes coexistence between students and the exchange of experience among their coaches. The tournament includes sports, cultural and social activities and acts as an educational tool by rewarding the application of values in the competition. It has a direct influence on the social and interpersonal skills of the beneficiaries since many of them are exposed to an international atmosphere for the first time. Up to now, RMF has held six tournaments in different cities in collaboration with local partners. Participants are 12 years old who are already enrolled in the social-sports schools in Europe.
In general, UEFA foundation funds will contribute to the holistic development of the beneficiaries by supporting the sustainability of the sports and social activities in the next two seasons. It will also contribute to the next Copa Alma.
In parallel to that, some expected results are:
- Education through football and social activities to help the children integrate
- Help the individuals see their situation in a different way; providing a variety of ways to solve problems and encouraging a positive motivational experience
- lncrease self-esteem and self-efficacy in the children and help reduce the risk of social exclusion