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Elizabeth Clough supports ‘Step Out Stay Out’

An organisation in Nottingham that effects positive change in the community and custody through the power of football is being backed by the daughter of one of the city’s most iconic figures.

Elizabeth Clough, daughter of the late and legendary ex-Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough, was “extremely honoured” to become a trustee for Step Out Stay Out. The organisation founded by Pete Bell runs an early intervention and prevention football project on the Clifton estate as well as initiatives focusing on resettlement post-custody.

Pete’s Friday night community football sessions on the estate offer up to 40 local children and young people from all backgrounds a safe space, especially those who have become marginalised for a variety of reasons.

“When I visited the session, I saw immediately the positive impact it was having,” Elizabeth told the Alliance of Sport. “It’s about getting children out of certain environments and bringing them together to play football.

“A percentage of these children aren’t accepted elsewhere because they struggle with weight, autism, dyslexia and behavioural issues. Pete welcomes them all with open arms. They get exercise and fresh air and it takes them away from street corners.”

Pete is looking to bring together local partners and funders to secure a permanent base for his community project which will allow him to expand provision and secure more funding. For now, his weekly sessions are of huge benefit to local children and families.

“The football part of it pales into insignificance really,” explained Pete. “Young people are really looking for a safe space on a Friday and are recognising us as a caring organisation. I encourage shaking hands, helping each other and dialogue between children who are all different ages.

“It’s an honour and privilege to know Elizabeth and for her to really value what we do – bringing people together through the power of football.”

Being the daughter of the legend who led Forest to the First Division championship and two European Cup victories in successive seasons in the late 1970s, Elizabeth understands her surname carries great weight in the city of Nottingham. She and Pete recently appeared on a podcast to raise awareness of Pete’s work on the Clifton estate where he grew up.

“Visiting the project really reminded me of my childhood when my two brothers were heavily involved in community football and whole families went along,” said Elizabeth. “It kept people positively engaged and kept children off the streets.”

Step Out Stay Out are holding another Jumpers 4 Goalposts family fun event in June in partnership with sponsors Nottingham Express Transit, as well as Nottinghamshire Police, the army and Nottingham City Council.

Pete’s resettlement programme with men leaving nearby HMP Lowdham Grange, funded by the Nottinghamshire PCC, is also ongoing.

Step Out Stay Out run specially-tailored courses to train up prison leavers as football coaches working with young people in Clifton, as well as offering potential routes into training and employment.