At Saving Lives, we love football: not only do we owe many clubs and players a debt for supporting our campaign, but we want to help the sport in return. For us, then, supporting junior football teams and young players is a great way of offering what we can – and, of course, spreading the Saving Lives message at the grassroots.

Young players – whether boys or girls – are the sport’s future, both as participants and fans, and the clubs they join serve a valuable social as well as a sporting function. By working with junior teams we can help them deliver on these important goals. At the same time, one of the ways we can best improve HIV awareness in this country is by combating stigma before it starts – and educating children is the most effective means of doing this.

Gary Vella, coach of Warwick Juniors’ under-11s, believes in Saving Lives and our the importance of our involvement in junior football. “If we’re going to reduce the stigma that surrounds HIV, and prevents people getting tested and diagnosed, we need to educate our young people about the myths and why they’re wrong,” he said. “Sport can be a brilliant way of bringing people together – it’s great that Saving Lives has recognised the juniors leagues’ contribution to football.”

Saving Lives sponsors Leamington Juniors’ Under-8s Colts, and the team’s manager, Jemma Phillips-Grant, says: “Saving Lives is a great cause, and of course it’s true that young people can be crucial in changing attitudes over time.But just as important is that we encourage young people to work together and to understand difference. The support we’re getting from Saving Lives helps us promote those key values – it’s a win-win scenario!”

If your junior football club is looking for more information, or would just like to learn more about Saving Lives, please get in touch!