Film of the Awards night at FC United of Manchester, Moston, Manchester, November 2015

The work that the young men completed as part of Passions of Youth  was celebrated with an end of project Awards night, at which they were awarded with University Certificates of Achievement by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Paul Murphy OBE who spoke of his “pride and admiration” at the “professional, inspirational job” the boys had done. Addressing the young people in the audience, he urged then: ‘Whether your passion is sport, films or anything else, never be afraid to dream. If you want something enough, nothing is impossible.’

The footballers’ film, To Be Continued and the film made by Collyhurst and Moston Lads’ Club Amateur Boxing Club, 100 Years and Still fighting were premiered to an enthusiastic an audience of over 100 guests, parents, relatives and friends. 

Introducing the event

Sue Reddish, the project’s Creative Director, explained how the ambitious year-long project had involved the arts team working alongside the young men, their coaches, archivists, youth workers, historians and staff at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

The project aimed to work with groups of young men who shared a leisure passion, be that football, boxing, basketball, music or fishing, to encourage them to reflect on the wider benefits of pursuing these interests and to think about how they could apply what they learned in the wider world.

The Passions project also wanted to explore whether what the young men got from these leisure activities were similar or different to what those from previous generations experienced. The young men consequently also interviewed older people about their youthful leisure interests, using history as a tool to understand the present by

researching themes of race, class and youth through the archives and interviews, which illustrated the historical importance of both boxing and football to the region.

Sue described Passions of Youth as a very ambitious project, but one which in many ways surpassed the team’s aspirations. The young men learned new skills in all aspects of film making and performance – they had to research, devise, write, perform, record their work and communicate their ideas clearly, skills that along with those they learned pursuing their hobby should stand them in good stead in the future.

While not everyone can be a champion boxer, professional footballer or film maker, everyone on the project was able to have a go, to develop their confidence, learn new things about themselves and see what the support of others could offer – valuable skills which everyone on the project hoped they would take into future employment, study or their leisure pursuits.


Sue explained how the learning had not been just one way. She had found out about basketball strategy, stood ringside at her first pro-boxing match, and been told in no uncertain terms that it was time she watched ‘Rocky’, a film which, until then, had completely passed her by. Jim Dalziel, the community film-maker,  now knew more about football – fact and fiction – than he ever realised existed! 

Historians, archivists, youth workers, university staff and the boys coaches had all found their involvement in the project immensely rewarding, often in ways which helped them look at their own practice in new ways.

Most importantly, what everyone observed was these young men learning about themselves and what they could achieve when they put their minds to it. Both the Boxers and the Footballers brought their enthusiasm, skills, humour and commitment to the Passions project, to make films they should be proud of.

young men’s testimonials

The project was evaluated by an independent consultant who interviewed the young men to assess how they felt they’d changed as a result of being involved in the Passions of Youth.

‘Coming here every Wednesday morning was good. When I first did it I thought I wasn’t going to like it, but it was good, I wanted to do it’.

‘At the start I didn’t think I would be into something like this but then I ended up liking it’.

‘I’m proud of really wanting to complete the films’.

‘We got more sensible. When we first started we used to act silly, mess about, and then we started taking it a bit more seriously. When you learn how to do it, it’s pretty good’.

‘It’s the first time I’ve been anywhere like that [the Archives at Manchester Library]. It was good. And we wouldn’t have done stuff like going to see that play. We went to the library and it’s got stuff about the gym a hundred years ago. We saw that film about Brian [club manager] and found he’d made his own short film, 30 or 40 years ago, filmed here at this gym. I’ve learned about the history of this gym and stuff about people who used to come here. It’s good, interesting, the old clips’.

‘We’ve learned how to be interviewed without looking stupid, more confidence in front of the camera. Sometimes we used to mumble or keep moving around whereas now we know what to do’.

‘I can speak to new people now’.

‘I thought I’d be dead cringey and feel stupid but it feels good’.

‘I was interested in sport but this opens up a whole other circle’.

‘I would maybe carry on lming for boxing shows, you could lm it and make money from that’.

‘I’ve never done something like this – technology and lming, so would consider it in future, now we’ve made lms and interviewed people, it’s the beginning of something’.

At first I was hoping it [the film] wasn’t going to get on anything like Twitter or Facebook but I wouldn’t be bothered now if it did’. 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester at the Awards Night
Celebrating University Certificates of Achievement

Thomas McDonagh:Manager Collyhurst and Moston ABC

‘The project, it opens new doors for them. When they went to look round the university you could see they were looking at it, it opened their eyes. One of them said “I might go to college, if I do well next year and keep doing it, I could go to uni”. There’s no chance he’d have thought that if he’d not visited, not a chance. It’s opened their eyes and they won’t settle for what people say they should do. Now they can choose to do whatever they want to’.

Andy Cheshire: Club Worker FC United

‘This has been a fantastic experience for the boys involved. They have had opportunities that none of their peers have had and have learnt new skills that can be used for the rest of their lives. The work they have completed is a credit to them and the club and they should all be extremely proud.’

The young men’s films have been used on youth studies provision in England and on undergraduate courses in Norway. Some of the Norwegian students sent their own feedback to the boxers who made 100 Years and Still Fighting – Collyhurst and Moston Lad’s Club.

Message from Norwegian students to the young boxers who made ‘100 Years and Still Fighting

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