YOUTH FORUM | RUCT & Millers Youth Forum Ghana Trip 2023

Published: 03/06/2024

In January 2023, individuals from our Millers Youth Forum discussed an opportunity of volunteering abroad and wanted to use their passion for creating positive change on a global scale. As open conversations took place on how a project like this could be formulated, one forum member mentioned the name Arthur Wharton. Arthur was the first… Continue reading YOUTH FORUM | RUCT & Millers Youth Forum Ghana Trip 2023

In January 2023, individuals from our Millers Youth Forum discussed an opportunity of volunteering abroad and wanted to use their passion for creating positive change on a global scale.

As open conversations took place on how a project like this could be formulated, one forum member mentioned the name Arthur Wharton. Arthur was the first ever paid black professional footballer and our very own Miller from 1889 – 1894. Not only a footballer but a professional cricketer, a cycling champion and the first official world’s fastest man running a time of 10 seconds dead in the 100 yards (now meters).

Arthur was from an area in Ghana called Jamestown, where the Arthur Wharton Foundation works tirelessly to promote his story and provides FREE footballing provision for young people within the area. This really resonated with our youth forum members who after further discussions made the decision of picking Ghana, Africa for our humanitarian aid trip.

Not only was our focus on providing free sporting opportunities for young people, we also wanted to make a wider difference to the communities of Ghana. To do this we aimed to raise awareness of ‘fast fashion’ and the clothing landfills located within Ghana alongside training up local organisations and schools on first aid, team building skills, sport and the power of youth voice.

To get to Ghana, forum members and RUCT staff set the target of raising £1,800 (per person) to cover all elements of the trip. Funds where raised through various events such as; bake sales, car boots, Rotherham Show, Ferham Festival, Neon Night events and much much more. One RUCT Staff member cycled from East side of the UK to the West side completing over 155 miles. Staff also ran various African Dance Days in the primary schools across Rotherham.
After 6 months of community fundraising and support from friends, community groups and families. Our target was reached, flights were booked and bags were packed.

Day 1 and 2
The trip kicked off with us visiting Jamestown, Arthur Whartons hometown and where his and Rotherham United’s legacy lives on. We met with Kofi (Arthur Wharton Foundation) and Paul (Streets for Children) who both work tirelessly to offer free schooling and training for local young people. With a focus on children who don’t have access to school or young people who are linked with CCE and CSE both of which have severely high rates in Ghana.

On day 1 and 2 we also had the opportunity to visit Independence Square, one of Ghana’s most historic landmarks and the venue which Ghanaians annually celebrate their independence from the British Colonies in 1967.

In the evenings we visited local markets to try local cuisine alongside attending a boxing match in one of Ghana’s open air arenas, where we witnessed Ghana’s sporting culture in all its glory.

Day 3 to 7
For the next 5 days, our time was spent volunteering at a local school, a community orphanage and a local grassroots football team. All of which were located in several deprived areas where community resources were limited.

During our visits to school we were welcomed with open arms by all staff and students. We used this unique time to offer our assistance to the school, running PE lessons for students and offering a whole school CPD on First Aid. Youth forum individuals delivered alongside our staff team and worked in classrooms assisting with English, maths and art lessons.

Our afternoons were spent at a local children’s home, where over 47 children live and are cared for by a family of 5 who opened their home to children in need. We supported children with their homework, sport and danced a lot whilst meeting some of the most amazing young people.

Having the opportunity to build a bond with these children and seeing the impact our support made was one of the reasons this project was so important to our youth forum members. In the evenings, the team would coach football at a local facility supported by local grassroot coach Michael.

Michael, (Head coach) a volunteer who gives up 2 hours of his time every evening engages over 50 children on his own with limited resources. The RUCT team could not wait to get the balls in play and support Michael with drills, developments tips and also get involved in a kick about.

During our downtime, ‘Rising Stars of Africa’ the organisation who hosted us wanted us to experience African culture and did this by taking us to local events and experiences such as an African dance class, a local football match at Accra Hearts of Oak and local historical landmarks.

Day 8 and 9
For our final 2 days in Ghana our travels took us to Cape Coast. Here we got the opportunity to stay in beautiful beach front huts overlooking the sea.

Whilst in Cape Coast we took part in a guided tour of the Cape Coast Slave Castle. Seeing the very place all the horrific history of the slave trade occurred was extremely eye opening for staff and participants. That evening, we spent the night celebrating the trip and all the hard work our youth forum members and staff had put in. It was the perfect location to celebrate our achievements with a bonfire on the beach, music and reflections on our project.

For our last day, we visited Kakum National Park where we experienced the canopy walk. Handmade bridges 60ft above tree line where you can see the beauty of the park. Before we travelled back to Accra, we stopped off at the Crocodile Rescue Park where we got see some of the rescued animals that are being looked after. Young people and staff even got the chance to feed a few rescued Crocodiles.

Looking back at our trip, it is hard to put into words the impact our youth forum members and staff had in such a short space of time.
It was important for us to provide this opportunity to a wide range of young people we support across the Rotherham Borough. Not only did this trip raise aspirations and enhance young people’s work/volunteering experience. It also opened participants eyes to the wider world and what issues face other young people from diverse backgrounds and environments. We believe we have made a long lasting impact within Ghana, the organisations we have supported and the young people that made this project possible.

From everyone at Rotherham United Community Trust and our Millers Youth Forum, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone that supported us with making this trip a successful one. Including families, friends, local community groups, Arthur Wharton Foundation and Rising Stars of Africa.

If you are interested in joining our Millers Youth Forum or would like more information on some of the youth project we run, please contact us on 01709 827767 or email us at inclusion@rotherhamunited.net.