City Pirates is a social football project in Antwerp, Belgium. The project is based on the believe that football can change the world. City Pirates are active in five complex areas (Merksem, Linkeroever, Luchtbal, Deurne & Dam). These areas are known for poverty, unemployment and drug trafficking. The youngsters growing up in these areas are vulnerable and often connected to the streets. Where others see problems, City Pirates see opportunities. They believe that if they give these youngsters the trust, the warm welcome and the structure they need, they can and will amaze us. And what better way to make the connection than through football?
And it works. City Pirates currently reaches 1300 Pirates on a structural basis, aged between 5 and 18, boys and girls, 100 nationalities. What binds them in the first place is the love for the game.
The organisation has a team of 6 social workers. Based on the trust that is built through football City Pirates can visit the players at home. During such a visit parents ask us questions about administration, job search, debt mediation, the school results of their kids, violence.
Because of the vulnerable and complex context the youngster grow up in, City Pirates tries to assist the parents in their pedagogy.
Although the youngsters have the dream to become a professional football player, there is a need to be realistic. Most of them will not make it to a professional level. For this reason at City Pirates the focus of the programme is on the youngsters’ school results. The organization gets in contact with their schools, does a follow up on their results and the youngsters get homework assistance at the club. School results always come first.
City Pirates also give other competence workshops like acquiring digital skills (Digitale Wolven), music and dance workshops in their River Side Studio, assistance in finding a (student)job, cleaning the neighborhood, organising European Eramus+ Projects, and are actively present on the public squares in various neighborhoods.