Chelsea FC Foundation | Evaluation Report

The Successful Failure is a Social Enterprise looking to challenge the way society looks at failure. Our workshops are tailored towards sparking conversation and introducing young people (16-25) to new ways of thinking. This is done through a combination of discussions, debates and theories.

Chelsea FC Foundation is one of the world’s leading football social responsibility programmes, they use the power of sport to motivate, educate and inspire with the belief that the power of football can be harnessed to support communities and individuals. They currently deliver programmes in London, Cobham and further, aimed at reengaging young people.

Chelsea commissioned The Successful Failure to deliver a series of workshops to their current cohort of young people. These groups were based at the following colleges:

·      Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (BTEC Level 3)

·      College of North West London (BTEC Level 2 & 3)

·      Croydon College (Ready to Learn)

We worked with a total of 26 students who represented an even mix of diversity. Backgrounds of students ranged from prior athletes to others who were new to the sporting world but all had a keen interest in sport. Our aim was to use sport as a vehicle to spark conversation around failure and introduce the importance of resilience and mind-set.

During the 90min workshops, students debated the importance of Success & Failure. This allowed us to come up with a group understanding before we went into the “stories of failure” section, this introduced participants to influential individuals and how they have been able to overcome failure. The final section of the workshop included the “cycle of failure”; the steps used to overcome and learn from failure.


What went well?

Many of students had a formed perception of what success looked like to them. This allowed for an in depth look into the subject and raised some good questions.

One question asked was

“Would you give up what you are doing now to be playing in the NFL?” – Kassim, 17

4/26 of the young people were of the opinion that they had never experienced failure. However when we pushed a little harder and with support from the peer group they admitted that it wasn’t that they had never failed but didn’t look at those times as failures. This then led to deeper discussion on how we individually understand and deal with failure.

Students were actively engaged in all three sessions. They came alive as they consistently bounced and debated their thoughts, experiences and aspirations for success and recognising failure as a tool for learning. The young people were unafraid to challenge me on my suggestions, this created an even playing field, it allowed for high energy contributions in an environment they were encouraged to be themselves.

Young people have asked to stay in touch and have asked about the possibility of the successful failure delivering more workshops in the future


What can be improved?

We are always looking to make The Successful Failure workshops better; we know we cannot only measure 'what worked well', below looks at our learning and room for improvement.

1.    We could have improved the sessions with some simple but effective group ice breakers that would give the participants a refreshed feeling of the experience of failure. This would have made the feeling fresh in their minds and helped drive home the message.

2.    In our first of the sessions, we found that the use of online tool stopped the flow of conversation. One of the aims of the sessions was to keep conversation flowing and by having participants use their phones, we lost their attention for a short span, we then had to work to get their attention back. Learning quickly, this feature was dropped for the following sessions, enabling us to get their undivided attention.

3.    In one of the sessions, I found two of the young people challenging, I split them into separate groups, however it was unfortunate that they continued to disrupt the group. We eventually had to ask them to leave the session; this incident has made us relook at our offer and we are working on different ideas should this happen again, including engraining better with staff beforehand for purpose of identifying any extra needs the young people may have.

4.    We are working on marketing and branding materials, in future we would like to give participants access to online learning content, The Successful Failure branded merchandise, including keyrings, t-shirts, this would enable them to have a constant reminder of the message from our sessions.


Feedback & Comments 

19/26 said they’d like to attend more sessions.

21/26 said they now look at failure differently.

21/26 said they found the content of the workshop useful.

14/26 signed up to our newsletter.


“I liked the different strategies Moses used in order to explain how failure can be seen as a good way to motivate yourself to strive further in life.”  

“Loved it, it was good to hear other people’s experiences and the debate session gave me a chance to learn from others”

“Really informative and engaged session”




It was a humbling experience being back at Chelsea FC Foundation. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the young people who trusted me and opened up so honestly about their personal experiences, working incredibly hard to support each other. I'd also like to say a huge thank you to Louise Marriott, Cigdem Turkan and the rest of the team for inviting us in and being part of the journey!

Moses Sangobiyi