Ex-England star John Barnes, Minister for Sport and Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn, DJ Lloyd ´LS´ Samuels and financial adviser and Sheffield United Academy Assistant Director Paul Archer, were all inspirational speakers at the ´Moving On Up´ conference on 12th October. Local 14-16 year olds attended the conference at Sheffield Hallam University which was timed to coincide with Black History Month and National Anti-Racism Week in football, and focused on motivation, discipline, empowerment and achievement. Young people had the opportunity to ask questions, get autographs and have their photo taken with Barnes.
He stressed that no-one was better or worse than anyone else; "The most important thing is how you see yourselves. I see myself as no different from you. We put people on pedestals and think they´re something special because of what they do, instead of who they actually are". He went on to warn of the dangers of relying on boxers, sprinters and footballers as black role models. "For us to be completely accepted, we have to be socially and economically viable and that comes from black people being doctors, lawyers, judges and engineers", he said.
The event was organised by FURD in partnership with Andy Kiwomye, former Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City player, now a learning mentor at a local school.
To read some press coverage of the event go to
John Barnes with FURD Millennium Volunteer Uba.