KICK IT OUT made its first visit to Scotland on Wednesday through Wes Foderingham and the goalkeeper says he wants to make a difference when it comes to tackling discrimination and racism.
The campaign picked the Gers stopper as one of its ‘Next 20’ ambassadors three years ago which means they have been able to stretch their reach beyond English football for the first time.
25-year-old Wes recalls one moment of racial abuse in his career, while at Swindon Town, and he is keen to educate people to make it the last.
He said: “I have been fortunate not to be on the receiving end too much, definitely nothing off the pitch but there was one incident at an away game.
“An opposition supporter said “Keeper go back to your own country” and he was only a boy, he wasn’t older than 16.
“I thought at the time that it was a perfect opportunity for me to get involved with Kick It Out and try and educate kids of that age.”
“At Kick It Out we try and educate the kids, try and give them the right knowledge, teach them right from wrong and give them a chance to speak openly about it.
“It’s a sensitive subject and sometimes it’s difficult to talk about so to sit down in a group and talk about it makes it easier.
“I’m very proud me being here has brought Kick it Out to Scotland, we do a lot of work down south and hopefully now we will have more opportunities to go into schools and other football clubs in Scotland and do some work.”
Wes was joined by Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager at a Q&A he held with children from Ibrox Primary on Wednesday.
Paul Mortimer wants to spread the message throughout Scotland now Wes is at Rangers and stressed how important football is in the process.
He said: “Football is huge for raising awareness; simply put, one word from players can change so much.
“I always challenge this and what irritates me is that I don’t think players say enough, there is so much more they can do to inspire the younger generations.
“Literally one word from them will go a lot further than I can go, one word from someone like Wes who people follow and idolise, can really make a difference.”
“I’d love to do some more work in Scotland, it is great that he has come up here and the first thing I thought when he signed was that we definitely want to go up to Scotland and do more work.
“It’s something we want to do all over Britain really because discrimination is there and it’s important that through football we can challenge the players to challenge what is going on, highlight that it’s happening and to help the fans be aware of it, deal with it and so we can have a sport that is discrimination free.”