Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) kindly donated two tickets to a football game at Etihad Stadium to West Mercia charity YSS, to support a young person referred to the charity’s ‘Divert’ service.

YSS, a charity working across the whole of West Mercia to support some of the most marginalised people in society, including seven year olds acting as young carers, families in need of additional support and young people and adults within the criminal justice system, runs a service called Divert which provides one to one support to 13 – 16 year olds who are involved, or at risk of becoming involved in, the criminal justice system across West Mercia. It is a diversionary service aimed at young people who are displaying anti-social behaviour, have started to disengage with education and training and have little or no focus.

Matthew* was referred to the service by his school in Shrewsbury, following extremely disruptive behaviour and failure to turn up to lessons on time. He began working with YSS to identify what the problems were and how he could overcome them.

YSS Keyworker, Chris Cosgrove, who has been supporting Matthew for three months, said: “Matthew was referred to Divert following a lack of motivation at school, which was causing him to turn up  late to lessons and cause disruption to his classmates.

“When working with Matthew I came to learn he supported Manchester City and had never been to a live match before. I contacted Manchester City Football Club and to my delight they kindly donated two tickets to YSS. Matthew was given the opportunity to watch his favourite team take on Leicester City free of charge, if his attendance and engagement at school improved.”

As a result of this amazing incentive, Matthew’s behaviour began to improve. Teachers and Matthew’s mum confirmed he was turning up to school on time and was more proactive and engaged during lessons, answering questions and completing assignments on time. On Saturday 13 February Chris collected Matthew from his home and took him to Manchester to watch his favourite team beat Leicester City 5-1.

Chris said: “Matthew was absolutely amazed by the whole experience. He had never been to a premiership match before and hadn’t watched his team, Manchester City, play live. We had a great time and he loved the club scarf that he was treated to, to help him remember his day. He also relished the McDonalds we had on the way home!

“He was extremely grateful to YSS for supporting him, and to Manchester City Football Club for providing the tickets completely free of charge. He told me he couldn’t wait to get to school on Monday to tell his friends all about the experience.”

Lorraine Preece, Chief Executive at YSS, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Manchester City Football Club for donating two tickets to YSS, which provided the motivation to support Matthew back into education. This is a great example of how one to one support can empower young people to make better choices, and can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems further down the line. Hats off to our worker Chris for making this happen – both for his innovative thinking around how to best motivate Matthew and in writing to Manchester City to get the tickets – fantastic!

“It’s brilliant that Matthew is able to work with YSS to achieve his goals. He is now one step closer to getting where he wants to be, and is enjoying participating in lessons and going to school every day.”

To find out more about Divert or any of the services YSS delivers, please go to or for news and updates follow the charity on social media @OfficialYSS.