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Published March 22, 2024

Foundation Fixture | Elijah’s Story

In the lead up to Foundation Fixture on 13 April, we are highlighting the people and programmes at the heart of our work in the community.

Elijah was a participant on our DIVERT programme earlier this year, demonstrating consistently applying himself, showing a willingness to learn and improve throughout the 10-week programmes.

DIVERT, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, sees the Foundation work in partnership with Suffolk Constabulary to actively engage with and raise aspirations of young people aged 13-17 years old in Ipswich that are on the periphery of, or entrenched in, serious youth violence. The initiative acts on an increased need for targeted and bespoke interventions in Ipswich in response to serious violence and gang activity in the town.

“[DIVERT] was educational whilst being fun as well, getting involved in sports like football and boxing,” Elijah told the Foundation website.

“You learn about basic stuff like county lines and drugs, but there’s more of a personal development that you can take away from it. It gives you the confidence just to be yourself.”

The DIVERT programme offers participants a range of sessions aimed at reducing reoffending, raising aspirations, enhancing skills and improving employability, with workshops covering a range of topics from CV writing to knife crime and county lines.

These sessions are supplemented by a number of unique experiences, with Elijah’s cohort travelling to the Club’s training ground to watch the first team train, supporting volunteers at FIND in Ipswich, and having the opportunity to meet boxer Fabio Wardley.

“I’m a big fan of football so going to the training centre at Playford Road was good,” Elijah continued. “I did especially like the Fabio Wardley session; he was very relatable.”

“The staff are really good, especially on the first day when you might be a bit nervous. They were really helpful in easing you in.

“As I said, [DIVERT encourages] the confidence just to be yourself. It’s easy just to go along with what the people around you are doing, so just progress and just do what you want to do.”

For more information on the DIVERT programme, contact the Foundation’s Head of Participation & Development Callum Murphy at callum.murphy@itfc.co.uk or by calling 01473 400 989.



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