FotoGenix-UWC-22-6-19-201-1024x684 (1)

Football4Impact Phase 2

FOOTBALL4iMPACT is an international non-profit organisation that uses football (soccer) as a tool for social change. The organisation aims to promote social inclusion, gender equality, and education through football. FOOTBALL4iMPACT has various projects and initiatives, and recently Youth Unity’s, Paul McKenzie was involved with the production and documenting the filming of their amazing project, both in the UK and Genva. FOOTBALL4iMPACT aims to bring together young people from diverse backgrounds and promote unity and social cohesion through football.

Promoting social cohesion is crucial in today’s world, where there is often a lack of understanding and acceptance of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Sports, particularly football, have the power to break down barriers and bring people together. By promoting sports among young people and providing a safe and inclusive environment, organisations like FOOTBALL4iMPACT can create a positive impact on society.

FOOTBALL4iMPACT’s initiatives are a great example of how sports can be used as a tool for social change.

To find out more please click the link

The amazing team behind this project –
the students are from Ecolint International School of Geneva

Paul McKenzie who is our Creative Director, was honoured to be invited by the team from FOOTBALL4iPACT,  rather than write about his experiences, just take a look at the filming, as always he managed to capture the energy of all the young people involved whilst ensuring that their voices are heard!

Paul McKenzie’s, who is our Creative Director, was honoured to be invited by the team from FOOTBALL4iMPACT,  rather than write about his experiences, just take a look at the filming, as always he managed to capture the energy of all the young people involved whilst ensuring that their voices are heard!


WhatsApp Image 2023-05-05 at 18.44.42


Sports Podge, held on the 5th of May at the Oval, was an amazing event organised by Phil Jones and his team, an event that brought people together through the power of sports. We were blown away by the concept and the execution of this event.

From the moment we arrived, we were impressed by the level of organisation. The wonderful food, top-notch entertainments, and great people we networked with throughout the day made the event truly unforgettable. The location at The Oval was also an ideal setting, providing a perfect backdrop to the exciting activities.

The atmosphere was lively and welcoming, making it easy for everyone to connect and enjoy themselves. We were thrilled to meet so many like-minded individuals who shared the same passion for sports and the desire to make a positive impact on the community.

In conclusion, Sports Podge was an amazing event that exceeded all our expectations. I enjoyed every moment of it, from the food to the entertainment, the people, and the activities. I can’t wait to attend the next one and see what Phil Jones has in store for us. It was truly an unforgettable experience!

Young host streaming his live podcast using professional microphone at small broadcast studio


Podcasting can create and promote important discussions in a safe and comfortable environment. Podcasting can also be a valuable tool in the therapeutic process and has been proven to aid several confidence issues. 

Our aim for this project Men Tell All is to create an atmosphere for predominantly men of all ages and backgrounds to feel comfortable communicating their challenges, experiences, and emotions.  A platform to communicate their thoughts and experiences on a broad spectrum of topics relating to relationships, mental health, and personal growth in a safe environment. 

Podcasts with male presenters or guests that honestly express their struggles with mental health or emotional difficulties can help reduce stigma and encourage other guys to seek the support they need, as well as for the listeners who just might feel alone and need to talk. Podcasting can foster a sense of community and support.

Although podcasting may not be enough to eliminate all the challenges that prevent men from addressing their mental wellbeing, we can however offer a safe space to come together and a place to offer signposting to the right resources to seek guidance and help.  We will over the course of the project be inviting professionals people 

All the sessions will be led by Paul McKenzie who is a podcaster and public speaker with a wide range of expertise in helping people to communicate more effectively. 

Paul McKenzie has also made an award-winning short film addressing mental health, SICK the Movie

Our aim to coach other people to lead on the podcasting to ensure we can continue the journey long after the project end.

This project has been funded by MIND in West Essex

Image of killer with machete in dark apartment with red light at night

Machetes and zombie knives could be banned in England and Wales

Machetes and zombie knives could be banned in England and Wales, with people selling them facing up to two years in jail, under government plans to close a legal loophole.

After complaints from police chiefs and MPs that some large, bladed weapons are excluded from current laws, the Home Office will consult the public over plans to ban their ownership and sale.

Certain blades that are “designed to look menacing” and “with the intention to threaten” are not currently prohibited but would be outlawed under proposed measures, the Home Office said.

Knife crime has increased by 9% in the past year and 34% in the past decade, to 45,000 offences.

This month a judge urged jurors to write to their MPs about the “shocking” availability of dangerous weapons online after a man was found guilty of killing an 18-year-old with a 22-inch zombie knife.

Under laws introduced in 2016, police can only confiscate and prosecute possession of zombie knives in private homes if they meet three criteria. The knives must have a cutting edge, a serrated edge and “images or words that suggest it is to be used for the purpose of violence”.

Inspired by horror films, the curved blades with serrated edges are often sold as collector’s items, but police say they are increasingly being carried by criminals.

Machetes have no such markings, while some retailers have been selling zombie knives without any writing or images on them or even packaging that would allow police to seize them.

While machetes and other similar knives can have legitimate uses in gardening and the agricultural sector, the Home Office said criminals were buying, selling and using larger bladed articles as weapons to intimidate and cause others serious harm.

The seven-week public consultation will define which machetes and large knives will be banned, inviting views to ensure proposals are targeted and balanced in order to keep our streets safe, the Home Office said.

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, said: “The thugs wielding these deadly knives aim to terrorise their victims and the public, and too often even carry out horrific or fatal attacks. They are emboldened by the cowardly idea that carrying these blades inflates their own status and respect.”


death of an unborn child

Trauma Informed Workshops

Trauma informed workshops are educational programs or training sessions that are designed to help individuals better understand and respond to trauma. These workshops aim to provide information and tools to individuals, organisations, and communities that can help them recognise and respond to trauma in a more compassionate and supportive way.

Trauma-informed workshops typically cover a range of topics related to trauma, including the effects of trauma on the brain and body, the various types of trauma, and the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals who have experienced trauma. The workshops may also provide practical strategies for responding to trauma, such as mindfulness exercises, grounding techniques, and self-care practices.

The primary goal of trauma-informed workshops is to help individuals and organisations better understand the impact of trauma and create an environment that promotes healing and recovery. By providing education and resources, trauma-informed workshops can help to reduce the stigma and isolation associated with trauma and provide individuals with the support they need to heal and move forward.


Transition to Secondary School

Transition from junior school to secondary school workshops are designed to support young people as they move from primary education to secondary education. This transition can be a challenging time for students, as they are faced with new academic expectations, social dynamics, and routines. The workshops aim to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to make a successful transition and thrive in their new learning environment.

Some topics that may be covered in transition workshops include:

  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Study skills and academic expectations
  • Coping with stress and anxiety
  • Developing positive relationships with peers and teachers
  • Understanding the school culture and routines
  • Self-advocacy and seeking help when needed
  • Building resilience and adapting to change
  • County Lines
  • Gang Awareness

These workshops are lead by trained and professional facilitators which vast experience of delivering these type of programs with positive outcomes. The sessions may involve a mix of classroom instruction, group activities, and individual reflection. Workshops may be offered during school hours, before or after school, or during school breaks to support students as they prepare for their transition.


How easy is it to be GROOMED

Unfortunately, it can be relatively easy for individuals to be groomed in criminal exploitation, especially if they are vulnerable or have a difficult home life. Criminal exploitation involves the manipulation and control of vulnerable individuals for the purpose of committing crimes, such as drug trafficking, theft, or prostitution.

Grooming is a process that involves building trust and emotional connections with the victim in order to gain control over them. The grooming process often starts with the perpetrator identifying a vulnerable individual, such as a child or someone with a history of abuse or neglect. The perpetrator then seeks to establish a relationship with the individual, often by providing them with gifts, attention, or a sense of belonging.

Over time, the perpetrator may use their influence and control to manipulate the victim into participating in criminal activities. This can involve coercion, threats, or even physical violence.

It’s important to note that anyone can be targeted for grooming, regardless of age, gender, or background. However, there are certain factors that can make individuals more vulnerable to grooming, such as a lack of social support, low self-esteem, or a history of trauma.

If you or someone you know is being groomed for criminal exploitation, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Please check the bottom our page for resources to seek help!

Video: Paul McKenzie

The face of vaping young man on black studio background

Is Vaping safe?

Vaping has gotten much more popular among teenagers in the past few years. Now, many more teenagers use e-cigarettes, like the brand JUUL, than traditional cigarettes. There are restrictions on the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes to young people, but many teenagers still use them.

When teens vape, what they’re doing is inhaling steam that comes from hot nicotine liquid. E-cigarettes, vape pens and JUULs are all different devices for heating the liquid. Research shows that vaping has many medical risks.

E-cigarettes contain a lot of nicotine, which is very addictive. Getting addicted to nicotine can make it harder for teenagers to focus and concentrate. E-cigarettes also contain chemicals that could cause cancer, and there are many reports of serious lung problems connected to vaping. Additionally, vaping can make teenagers more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes.

Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t have a strong smell, so it’s much easier for kids to use them in secret. The kid-friendly packaging and flavors of JUUL and other popular vape brands make vaping look fun, so even kids who wouldn’t try cigarettes may be tempted. Teens often think that vaping isn’t dangerous, and it’s easy for underage kids to buy vaping devices online.

If you’re worried your child might be vaping, start with a general conversation. Try asking if other kids at their school vape, and what they think about it. By finding out what they already know, you can start helping them understand the risks. This usually works better than just telling them that vaping is wrong. If your child is addicted to vaping, make sure to get care from an addiction specialist. Addiction to nicotine from vaping can be even more serious than addiction to regular cigarettes.More


Although e-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, vaping rates have skyrocketed in recent years, especially among teens. E-cigarettes are now the most frequently used tobacco product among adolescents — some 2.1 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users in 2017 — far surpassing traditional combustible cigarettes.

JUUL, a popular vape device that comes in fun flavors, looks like a flash drive and can be charged in a USB port, is especially concerning. JUUL delivers high levels of nicotine, making the product extremely addictive. The company that makes and markets JUUL recently exceeded a $10 billion valuation faster than any company, including Facebook. JUUL sales now make up more than half of the e-cigarette market.

The FDA announced that it will be cracking down not only on illegal sales of e-cigarettes to minors, but also the “kid-friendly marketing and appeal of these products” because “we see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion.” And after recent unexplained illnesses and deaths that have been attributed to vaping, the CDC and the American Medical Association are expressing serious concern, recommending that people should avoid vaping entirely.

Teachers, health professionals and parents are alarmed by the growing popularity of vaping among young people and trying to educate not only teens but also themselves, as it’s all still so new.

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by the heated nicotine liquid (often called “juice”) of an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette or e-cig), vape pen, or personal vaporizer. It’s also commonly called JUULing (pronounced jewel-ing).

What originated as a smoking cessation aid has quickly became a popular — and addictive — product in its own right. Sarper Taskiran, MD, a child and adolescentpsychiatrist at the Child Mind Institute, attributes the recent rise in popularity to packaging and advertising. “The teens are after innovation and they’re attracted by sleek design and ease of use,” he says. “They look like an Apple product.”

Although vaping companies emphatically deny that they are marketing to young people, critics note such features in their advertising as youthful images and colors, animation, actors who appear to be under 21, and suggestions that vaping makes you happier and improves your social status.

Although some of the health risks associated with vaping appear to be less severe than traditional combustible cigarettes (there’s no tar, for example), there are still risks.

Some known risks of vaping are:

  • E-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine. According to the company’s website, the nicotine content of one JUULpod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.
  • Because of these high nicotine levels, vaping is extremely addictive — and teens are already more susceptible to addiction than adults because their brains are still developing, which makes them more likely to habituate to using drugs and alcohol.
  • Addiction can impact the ability to focus. Dr. Taskiran has observed this with the adolescents he works with, who report that vaping initially increases their alertness and attention, but then experience a decrease in attention span. One student, for example, was able to sit through practice ACT exams but after JUULing for six months “can’t sit still because she starts craving, can’t think of questions, and just starts fidgeting.”
  • E-cigarettes and similar devices contain carcinogenic compounds, and a recent study found significantly increased levels of carcinogens in the urine of teens who vape.
  • One study found that vaping does, in fact, cause lung irritation akin to that seen in smokers and people with lung disease and causes damage to vital immune system cells.
  • There have been several deaths and hundreds of cases of lung illness attributed to vaping. Right now it is unclear if the cause is bootleg cartridges containing THC or CBD oil or legal nicotine cartridges. The CDC and the American Medical Association are recommending that people avoid vaping entirely while this is being investigated.
  • Taskiran notes that vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure, so can increase circulatory problems. One teen he works with started vaping and found that his swim times dropped because he can no longer sustain the heart rate required for swimming.

Since they leave little odor,  e-cigarettes are particularly easy to hide and even use discreetly in public places, including school. Kids are also vaping marijuana at increasing rates, which brings its own health risks.

Why parents should be concerned

One problem with vaping is that teens hear that it’s not as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes and many think there is no harm.  “They really think that they are mostly flavors and that they are inhaling a pleasant gas,” says Dr. Taskiran.

One study of 12th graders found that kids who vaped (but were not previously smokers) were more than four times as likely to “move away from the perception of cigarettes as posing a great risk of harm.” The study and others like it have showed that teens who vape are much more likely to start smoking cigarettes.

The packaging does little to convey the risks. “They are very enticing the way they look. It’s not transparent at all. It says 5% nicotine, which sounds like nothing, so teens think 95% is water weight or vapor,” laments Dr. Taskiran.

Plus, he points out, smoking never stopped being cool. It’s still positively portrayed in movies, and JUUL in particular has re-branded it to make vaping an even cooler alternative. But vaping isn’t only for the cool kids — many teens are curious (with flavors like mango, cucumber and crème, who wouldn’t be?) and presented with the opportunity will give it a try.

Sarah, a mom of two in Ann Arbor, MI, was shocked to get a phone call the other day from her son’s middle school principal, requiring her to come get him immediately for “emergency removal and suspension.” He and two friends had been caught vaping on school grounds after school, and a passing parent took photos and sent them to the administration.

Though they didn’t find any devices on her son — a straight A student with no prior offenses — the school, like many others, is taking a hard stance. “The principal knows that vaping is common and shared that the businesses in downtown Ann Arbor are selling to teens without asking for IDs,” relayed Sarah. “However, she feels the need to let my son and his friends know that it’s a really, really big deal.”

At this school, students caught vaping have to sign behavior contracts, must attend a Teens Using Drugs Class, and cannot participate in any sports, clubs or special events for the rest of the year. If the kids had been across the street, not on school grounds, it would have been a different scenario. But the principal said that had they been in high school rather than middle school, she would have called the police.

Sarah remembers what it was like to be a teenager so doesn’t think trying it is that big of a deal, but is concerned about addiction. “Addiction runs in my family and I worry about my son. Of course, I worry about the damage that the chemicals can do to his lungs and body as well,” she says.

Although some places are tightening restrictions locally, kids can still go to a website, click a button that says they are at least 21 years old, and purchase online. “The majority of adolescents I see are purchasing JUUL from the Internet,” says Dr. Taskiran.

How to talk to kids about vaping

Dr. Taskiran advises parents to start by educating themselves, so they know what they’re talking about going in, and to take an inquisitive and curious approach to what their teen’s experience is. “The most important thing is keeping it as a dialogue,” he says. “Declarative statements like ‘It’s bad for you’ just end the conversation.”

Dr. Taskiran recommends starting the conversation more generally by asking if a lot of kids at school vape. Once the conversation is initiated, you can slowly work up to asking things like, “What is your experience with that? What are the flavors like?” He also suggests getting a sense of what they know (or think they know) about the product, which gives you an opening to start educating them.

The silver lining of Sarah’s experience with her son is that he actually told his dad about the experience even before he knew he’d been caught. “They had a full one hour conversation about it after I was already asleep. He told my husband that he tried it for the first time and that it burned his throat and he didn’t like it.” She got the call from the principal the next morning before her son had a chance to tell her himself. “He’s a great kid and doesn’t really get in trouble except for talking in class because he’s bored. My goal has always been open communication and to keep him talking to us. He did!”

Of course, while parents need to educate themselves, the onus isn’t entirely on them. “Schools need to own this as well and provide educational strategies for both teachers and students,” says Dr. Taskiran. Prevention is a lot easier than treatment later on, he says, and notes that peer education can play a particularly important role.

If you are concerned that your child has become addicted there are plenty of treatment options. Dr. Taskiran recommends consulting with a clinician who is well-versed in addiction treatments. “This is a true nicotine addiction,” he says. “People usually think this is different from cigarette use — but it can be more severe than cigarette use.”

For tips on how to talk to teenagers about vaping, check out this guide from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

This article was taken from

Discarded Nitrous Oxide canisters and grey balloon

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide

NOS is a colourless gas sold in canisters, usually inhaled using a balloon.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas or “NOS,” is a colorless and odorless gas that has been used for various purposes for over a century. It is commonly used as an anesthetic and analgesic in medical and dental procedures, as well as a propellant in whipped cream dispensers and fuel for race cars. However, despite its widespread use, nitrous oxide can be dangerous when used improperly or abused. Here are some of the dangers associated with nitrous oxide:

  1. Oxygen deprivation: Nitrous oxide can cause oxygen deprivation, which can lead to loss of consciousness, brain damage, and even death. This is because nitrous oxide can displace oxygen in the lungs and prevent oxygen from reaching the brain and other vital organs.
  2. Addiction: Nitrous oxide can be addictive, and prolonged use can lead to physical and psychological dependence. This can result in a range of negative consequences, including impaired judgment, memory loss, and even mental illness.
  3. Hypoxia: Nitrous oxide can also cause hypoxia, a condition in which the body does not receive enough oxygen. This can cause symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath, and can be especially dangerous for people with underlying medical conditions.
  4. Accidents: Nitrous oxide can impair judgment and coordination, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. This is particularly true when it is used while driving or operating heavy machinery.
  5. Reproductive health: Nitrous oxide has been shown to have negative effects on reproductive health, particularly in women. Prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide can interfere with ovulation, cause menstrual irregularities, and increase the risk of miscarriage.

Nitrous oxide can be addictive, and prolonged use can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Addiction to nitrous oxide can result in negative consequences such as impaired judgment, memory loss, and mental illness. Addiction can also lead to an increased risk of accidents and injuries, as well as financial problems and strained relationships. People who are addicted to nitrous oxide may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, and insomnia when they try to stop using the gas. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to nitrous oxide.

For help with addiction go to FRANK

Is my child in a gang?

Is my child in a gang?

If you are reading this now, you could already be worried that your child or someone you know is being groomed or involved in criminal activities.

With the increase in the movement of drugs and the money to be made instantly, more and more young people are being drawn into the lure of making vast amounts of money.

Communication around this increasing trend is becoming more and more complicated leaving many parents confused at spotting the signs early.

Once a young person has been recruited into the process, it can be a very challenging time. There are many signs of grooming that often go unseen and this is where the real work begins.

Organised circles of drug dealers do not care about the outcomes for your child! they are simply used to fill the rising demand for drugs and weapons. Once they are used they are often discarded and left to deal with the consequences alone.

There are countless cases of young people ending up in debt because of their involvement with these groups. The prisons are filling up with young people that believed that they were part of a friendship or even an intimate relationship.

Parents are also being drawn into the cycle as the impact of debt becomes apparent to them. There is little more than advice that the police can offer you in regards to dealing with these situations, however they can be a listening ear and will often have information about the groomer or dealer etc. There is no easy remedy, it will be hard work getting them out. It will also have an impact on the wider family, as groomers are often looked at as people that offer trust and a listening ear. They are also good at alienating the intended from all support systems. Initially being the parents or carers.

But have faith! with the right mentoring and coaching, many young people and parents find a way out!

What is a gang?

The word ‘gang’ means different things in different contexts, the government in their paper ‘Safeguarding children and young people who may be affected by gang activity’ distinguishes between peer groups, street gangs and organised criminal gangs.1

  • Peer group
    A relatively small and transient social grouping which may or may not describe themselves as a gang depending on the context.
  • Street gang
    “Groups of young people who see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group for whom crime and violence is integral to the group’s identity.”
  • Organised criminal gangs
    “A group of individuals for whom involvement in crime is for personal gain (financial or otherwise). For most crime is their ‘occupation.”

It’s not illegal for a young person to be in a gang – there are different types of ‘gang’ and not every ‘gang’ is criminal or dangerous. However, gang membership can be linked to illegal activity, particularly organised criminal gangs involved in trafficking, drug dealing and violent crime.


Key things to look out for ...

Being aware is the most powerful weapon you can have!

Awareness is the key to breaking the cycle or pattern of grooming. Learning to spot the signs early can save you a lot of heart ache and pain. Much of the grooming process happens because there is a lack of communication and sensory acuity. We must notice the changes and act on them without wasting any time. Below is some tips on what you should be looking out for.

Changes in routines

Look out for significant changes in routine, this can be the time it takes to arrive home from school or the frequency of leaving and returning home for short periods of time. This often spells out that there is something happening in the background. Often young people will develop a pattern of staying out for many hours without an excuse or evidence of where they have been, they will often lie when challenged about their activities outside of the home. If your child is being used during the day when they are normally at school, provision or college, there will be a lot of evidence of this. Many young people are targeted here and find it difficult to avoid seeing a potential groomer. Children that are targeted and groomed in these situations are often referred to as new skins, as they are fresh and will have little knowledge of the intent. They will most certainly not of had any complications with the police before.

Friends and associates

Always have an interest in your child’s friends or associates, this is a powerful way of understanding the dynamics of the relationship. Many parents pay little attention and will often just assume that they are a natural group of friends that attend the same school, provision or college. This can be so far from the truth, as young people that are in the grooming process are introduced to new people frequently. The aim here is to keep the young person away from advice or rapport. Young people that are initiated into county lines or the child sex trade are put to work with people they don’t even know!

In grooming gangs, it is not uncommon for a young person to be put in charge of finding others. Gangs will often recruit specific members that are in schools or colleges to befriend individuals for the groomers. they will establish rapport with them and encourage them to join their gangs or meet with groomers direct. In fact there is an increasing demand for schools and colleges to educate young people about the dangers of such friendships. Pupil referral units are also being targeted by gang members and groomers. They will specifically target young people that are in these provisions as they are already known for challenging behaviour or special needs. Groomers are also good at obtaining private details or possessions such house keys, mobile phones or Oyster cards that can be used to form threats and control over an individual. Parents and staff should work together to try and identify the early signs of grooming within these organisations.

Phones and other means of communication 

None of the grooming process works without communication. Communication is the key driving force behinds this type of manipulation and should never be ignored. The excessive use of mobile devices to drive the increase in grooming has be one of the key factors in the simplicity in grooming. be aware of your child’s phone activities. Be particularly aware of the second line, or the road phone, which will often be a cheap handset that could easily be disguised as a spare phone. You may often be told that it was found or that a friend upgraded and gave it to them for free. These second phones or ‘Burners’ are the crucial link to the cycle. Without this method of communication, there is little contact and certainly no way in. 

There are a lot of parents and carers that allow unlimited usage of mobile phones and will often give their children unlimited data packages etc.

Social media and its many wonders has fuelled the communication process, with many young people being targeted online

Money and material items

The easiest way to know if your child or young person is buying or receiving items is to do random searches! It blows me away the amount of parents that have no knowledge of what they have in their own houses. Some parents only become aware when there is an arrest or search carried out. Money also plays in major part in understanding where your child is at. It’s simple, if you didn’t give them that money, then who the hell did! QUICK MATHS!!!!

Don’t walk around with your head in the sand wondering where the excess money is coming from, Act on it and ask the question, sooner than later.  If you’re child comes home and has a new item of clothing or money, challenge them and get an answer fast! Do not be afraid to confront this and most certainly do not accept any contribution of gift that can be part of an illegal a