Foundations4thefuture design programme to help empower and motivate young people.

Foundations4thefuture is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which was formed in 2017 by Aaron Forde and his friend Calum Dwyer to empower & motivate young people of all ages to unlock their potential.

Managing Director Aaron tells more about his Community Interest Company:

'Our mission was and still is, to change the dynamic and mentality of how young people think, enabling them to maximise their chances of being successful.' Aaron begins. 'We believe that through our tailor made and precisely designed programmes, along with simple communication and understanding skills, we can ensure that the young people we work with go away with things to think about leading to a change in attitude and mindset to not only school but life in general.'

Aaron started life as a budding footballer, tipped for a great footballing career, until his path started to change direction. Living in Erdington, Birmingham, created challenges for Aaron from the onset. 'When I was 18, I had a big reality check after I was released from Walsall FC just before Christmas by current Aston Villa Manager Dean Smith.' Aaron explained. 'I had always thought that I was going to be a professional footballer and that I didn't have to really worry or take time to think about a career other than professional football. I had been in the academy at Wolves since the age of 12 and worked my way up through the various age groups playing with and against some very talented players. It was always a dream of mine to play professional football ever since I can remember so playing on this platform was always something I really enjoyed. Unfortunately for me as a young teenager brought up in Erdington Birmingham, there was always a lot of distractions there that could take your eye off the prize. Aaron said. 'I went to Kingsbury School and Sports College which is now Erdington Academy and there was a reputation at the school that it was a tough school. You had to be strong minded and have a strong personality to get through it, as back in them days gangs were the "cool thing" to be affiliated with. Over the years I kind of joined a friendship group that at the time lacked guidance and understanding of what reality is. We would get into trouble with the police, have problems with other groups of young people from different areas and would generally be anti social at anytime we possibly could be. There was a lack of things to do in the area, as most youth clubs and community centres had closed down by then leading to us teenagers being left to entertain ourselves, which is always a bad idea, especially when there is a large group of you together.'

Aaron explained how his affiliation affected his potential. 'It was hard for me as I could never get involved too far in certain activities that would happen, due to me having it in the back of my mind that if Wolves had found out about what I was doing they would release me and the dream would be over. At the same time I didn't want to miss out, leading me to sometimes push the boundaries and not think about the potential consequences.' Aaron told us. 'When I was 16 I had the first big wake up call when the management at the academy of wolves changed and new people came in to run the academy. I was always pretty highly rated by the old management but the new management came in and they couldn't really handle my temperament as I was always quite hot headed especially when playing. If I am honest, I had a bit of a street mentality where nobody could tell me anything and if they did I would answer back or show some kind of attitude which wasn't accepted by the new management. Ultimately leading to me being released by the club.

Aaron continued to cast his mind back on past experiences. 'I then moved to Walsall FC on a 2 year scholarship but again a big reality check hit me in the face as the manager who brought me to the club, Mick Halsall, decided to leave and go to Wolves. Leaving me in a very similar position to what I was in at Wolves previous. I did well in my scholarship until I injured my knee leading to me not playing for 9 months. During that time I found alcohol and partying, which every 17 year old does but for me it was the worst thing to happen as I prioritised that over concentrating on getting myself fit and pursuing the dream. During my time injured, two good and close friends of mine got sentenced to murder which at the time I didn't realise had a massive impact on my mentality towards life going forward.' Aaron said.

The rollercoaster which was life for Aaron, continued to throw twists and turns at every opportunity. 'I was lucky enough to get back fit and was awarded with a place in the first team 16 for a match against Colchester United.' Aaron explained. 'This had me think like I had made it and my life was going to be great! Six months later I broke my leg in a youth team match which mentally broke me. When I got back to being able to play, I had zero motivation to get back fit and really let myself down in terms of the input to try and get back to my best in terms of physically. I left the club just before Christmas and had no idea of what I was going to do with myself as I was now an adult, 18 years old with no job, no income and no dreams.

'After having a few months doing nothing and signing on at the local job centre, I joined a sports coaching apprenticeship through a company my Mum had seen advertising for recruits in a local newspaper.' Aaron said. 'My Mum applied for me and I was lucky enough to get given a place. It was hard for me to accept going from one year before thinking I am going to be a professional footballer to now working in the real world for around £80 a week. I chipped away at it gaining qualifications in the education and sport sector working with primary school children across the West Midlands teaching them P.E. I found myself enjoying helping the young people and found myself enjoying the challenging behaviour some of the students sometimes presented. Over the time I developed my skills and found a passion for something other than football leading to me having groups of challenging students that teachers would hand to me because they struggled with them.' Aaron explained. 'After spending 3 years with the company, I decided to come away from it after creating a vision of being able to create my own company, supporting young people in all areas of their life, after seeing so many students not have that support and guidance they needed.

Things started to take shape for Aaron over the coming years. 'Over the next year I developed the idea with my good friend Calum Dwyer.' Said Aaron. 'Who was also a student at Kingsbury School and Sports College, leading to him turning down a guaranteed job at Jaguar Land Rover to pursue his own dream of making a positive difference to the lives of young people. It was a big risk at the time due to this being merely an idea. After developing the idea in to reality, we approached a former teacher of ours, Lisa Millward, who was still working at the school and told her our idea and the vision we had. We were lucky enough to be invited back to pilot the idea and to see what impact it could have on the students. We volunteered for 3 - 4 months not getting paid, just developing strong relationships with the students and helping them gain a different outlook on school and life in general. The young people we worked with started to change their behaviour around. We were then lucky enough to be approached by the school to continue our work on a paid basis after the success we had and that is where it all started.'

Foundations4thefuture continues to go from strength to strength and makes a real difference to the community. They now work in over 15 schools across the West Midlands supporting over 3000 young people since their formation. 'It is so important that young people have someone they can relate to and feel they can fully trust.' Aaron said. 'In my time working in education, I have realised that every young person has the potential to succeed and that they don't want to be bad people. Sometimes their circumstances and environment force them into making poor and regrettable decisions which they don't understand the impact it can have on their lives. We have had former mentees and young people we have supported work for us as well as having multiple young people come on work experience, providing them with a bit of grounding and understanding of what the real world looks like.'

Aaron's aim is to be nationally recognised as the leading support service for young people across the country and he hopes 2020 can help them get one step closer to achieving that goal. 'This is an organisation for everyone to get involved in and to help people realise anything is achievable.' Aaron beamed.

Foundations4thefuture run community football sessions on the evenings for young people to attend free of charge. They will be working closely with West Midlands Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide even more opportunities for young people across the West Midlands. If you would like anymore information on these sessions please feel free to email or visit their website

OSN believes this is a fantastic Community Interest Company and wish Aaron and his team all the very best for the future.