Ideagen and Nottingham Forest team up to create an unforgettable 'ball kid' experience
Children of Ideagen employees are playing a pivotal role in the Premier League matchday experience as part of our sponsorship of Nottingham Forest Football Club.
Youngsters aged between 12 and 16 are being given the opportunity to become members of the 'ball assistants' team during Nottingham Forest home matches. This important job involves retrieving the ball and returning it to Premiership stars when it goes out of play for a corner or throw-in.
The first ball assistant was Leo Sisson (13) at Forest vs Burnley on Monday, September 18. The game was a memorable night for Leo, who claimed an assist after a Forest corner in the second half led to Callum Hudson-Odoi scoring his debut goal for the Reds and equalizing for a 1-1 draw.
Mani Hepworth-Bourne, also 13 years old, followed in Leo's footsteps as a ball assistant for the Forest vs Brentford match on Sunday, October 1.
"I had an amazing time and would love to do it again," said Mani.
"I met some really nice people from the club and even held the Premier League flag before the start of the game. It was fantastic to be so close to the Forest players, as I could see all of them warming up right in front of me. I was sitting at the scoring end, so the players came right up to me and celebrated when they scored."
Asked whether he would recommend being a ball assistant to other Ideagen kids, Mani said: "I definitely would."
"The ball assistant coach and other academy kids were really nice and welcoming. It was really loud and very atmospheric to be on the pitch and hear 28,000 fans singing and cheering. I even made it onto TV, giving my family back in Australia a chance to see me!"
This exclusive employee opportunity is part of Ideagen's two-year sponsorship deal with Nottingham Forest, which sees the Ideagen logo featured on the sleeve of the men's, women's and academy matchday shirts.
Ideagen CEO and lifelong Forest supporter, Ben Dorks, added: "We are thrilled we can offer this amazing experience to the Ideagen family.
"Both Ideagen and Forest have a long-running commitment to community, so it was important to both parties that employee and community engagement be built into the sponsorship agreement.
"Our colleagues give so much commitment to the work we do, supporting the safe hands and quiet voices that protect the world, so it's important that we also give something back, not just to them but to their families.
"Becoming a ball assistant allows young football fans to experience the game in a special way, providing unforgettable memories. I’m really looking forward to seeing more Ideagen kids participating in the future."