Marco Gabbiadini, i2i's Head of Sports Based Learning is preparing for a crunch game in London next week - against a team of MPs.
The ex Sunderland player, now part of the i2i team, has set up a game with parliament members and ministers in a bid to increase the profile of work with unemployed people. i2i Football 5000 is a project which aims to get 5,000 unemployed individuals into sustainable work by 2012, using the medium of football.
“We are hoping the game, which will also involve ex-professionals and personalities, will help to raise awareness of a national drive to get 5,000 unemployed people back in to work in the next four years. We use football as a medium to inspire unemployed people to help them get back to work. We’re working with a cross-section of people, from young people to ethnic minorities, and we have already run successful programmes with football clubs such as Blackburn, Bolton, Blackpool and Preston. Sunderland is obviously a prime target for us, and we have held early discussions with the club about how we can go forward. Football brings everyone back down to earth and this game will hopefully show what positive things can come out of it,” said Marco.