LOCAL youngster, Elliott Turfrey, recently got the chance to become a Burton Albion matchday mascot, following his hard work and improvement during Alternative Education Provision, delivered by Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT).

The BACT pupil received an opportunity of a lifetime following the donation of the package from the Free Kicks Foundation, who raise money to give deserving children and adults days out at football matches.

During his experience, Elliott received a full Burton Albion home kit, got the chance to visit the players in the home dressing room and have a kick-about on the pitch with Billy and Bettie Brewer, all before leading out the Brewers ahead of kick-off for their game against Peterborough United.

BACT’s Alternative Provision primarily caters for pupils from year 3 onwards. The pupils spend their time at either Burton Albion Community Football Centre, based at the Pirelli Stadium, or at the Burton Albion Community Hub in Casey Lane.

The aim is to support and mentor students through a 12-week programme focusing on nurture, behaviour management and self-regulation techniques. Staff are not formal educators; however, they are well experienced in instilling the BACT Core Values into the children that they engage with.

Pupils work on a scheme of work from ASDAN Key Steps (Core) or DOT COM (PSHE). Both routes offer the chance to develop English and Maths skills through fun and engaging activities. There will be facilities for pupils to enjoy cooking, stop motion animation and sport focused activities.

BACT staff support and engage pupils with the aim of re-engaging them into mainstream education. Programmes are bespoke to individual students who will work in small groups and are staffed on a 1:2 basis. These small groups allow students to get the support, nurture and attention they need to learn new techniques, that will allow them to be successful when reintegrating back in to mainstream education.

Whilst Alternative Provision was new to Elliott, he was already familiar with many of the BACT team through various scopes of work within the community, mainly from School Sport sessions ran at his local school.

Sarah Robertson, Alternative Education Coordinator, said: “Elliott has worked hard with our staff to set and achieve goals enabling him to reflect and manage aspects of his behaviour, which he had previously struggled with.

“We hope that he will take these learnt skills with him into his school environment, which will enable him to be more confident in participating in his typical working day.

“Elliott’s journey with BACT has enabled him and his family to get involved with other community projects, which has allowed him to meet first team players on a number of occasions.

“He enjoyed the day immensely and really enjoyed having his family there with him to share the experience.

Since his experience, Elliot’s father and stepmother contacted BACT to express how much he enjoyed his day. They said: “We just want to thank you for allowing Elliott to be mascot, it was great!

“He already has a relationship with some of the players due to his Alternative Education with Burton Albion Community Trust, but to meet all of them and Nigel Clough, as well as walking out with his new best mate Ryan Edwards, made his day!”

“Elliott suffers with behaviour difficulties and is now awaiting a diagnosis. To be so warmly accepted by yourselves and the players at the game was amazing.

“Thank you for donating this mascot package. Plenty of pictures and videos were taken and plenty of memories were made.”

John Widdowson, Community and Partnerships Manager, said: “I’m delighted that we can continue to work with Free Kicks to give youngsters such as Elliott these opportunities.

“It’s fantastic that there’s organisations out there who can help to create a memory of a lifetime.”