4 Jun 2021
Kickz, the groundbreaking football project aimed at engaging young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country, has received a high profile award for its work. It scooped the Community Programme Award at the Sport Industry Awards 2009, held recently in Central London.
Representatives from the project’s lead partners – the Football Foundation, the Metropolitan Police Service and the Premier League – were presented with the award by Chelsea footballer Nicholas Anelka and Sport England Chair Richard Lewis at the ceremony that was attended by over 1,500 guests from the world of sport and media. Kickz was chosen for the award from a shortlist that also included projects run by organisations as varied as McDonald’s, npower, and The Cricket Foundation.
Not only does Kickz give young men and women (generally aged 12-18) the chance to play quality football and other sports, it also offers them an opportunity to volunteer in their community, learn to coach and officiate in the game and in many cases gain employment in the clubs themselves. At the same time, it is also breaking down barriers between the police and young people, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and encouraging them to think about serious social issues such as the dangers of being involved in gang activity, carrying guns and knives or alcohol and drug abuse.
Kickz started in 2006, after discussions between the Premier League, the Football Foundation and the Metropolitan Police. From an initial four pilot projects, Kickz has grown at a rapid rate. It now has a staggering 106 projects being delivered by 39 professional football clubs, local authorities across the country and 17 major police forces and. Having originally set out to engage with 12,000 young people, it has instead impacted upon over 24,000, each for an average of 55 hours.
In London alone, over 12,000 people have been involved in the 69 projects based in the capital, with each London borough currently running at least two projects.
Not only is Kickz offering young people the chance to play sport and take part in other activities like music production and dance, but it is also playing a significant part in reducing crime and Anti Social Behaviour (ASB). Sessions are targeted in hotspot areas at key times and 86% of projects involve activity on a Friday and/or Saturday evening. As part of local strategies the police and local partners have indicated that Kickz has helped contribute to reductions of up to 50% in the communities where Kickz projects are based.
The Football Foundation has invested £4.7 million into the scheme, the Metropolitan Police Authority £3 million, £1 million through the DCMS from the Premier League’s good causes fund and a further £700,000 from v, the national youth volunteering charity. Recent additional contributions from the Brit Trust and the Home Office have also allowed the programme to enhance its music offering to young people and deliver a national anti-knife crime campaign and tournament.
Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe said: “Kickz has got the recognition it deserves for the fantastic work it does. In just three years the scheme has reached out to tens of thousands of young people across the country.
“It gives them opportunities to get involved in sport, music and dance, as well as tackling important social issues and giving participants routes into employment.
“This is a tremendous achievement and I congratulate all involved for their collective work making Kickz a success.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This Sports Industry Award is recognition of the hard work, initiative and investment that has gone into making Kickz the leading sport-based social inclusion programme in the country.
“I am very proud of my team at the Football Foundation who have delivered and managed the national project centrally. Alongside the programme’s other lead partners – the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police Service – 39 professional football clubs, v and the Brit Trust, together with many other key organisations, have worked in partnership on delivering Kickz projects in some of the most deprived communities across the country.
“Moreover, it should not be forgotten that this success would not have been possible without the dedicated and enthusiastic support from thousands of young volunteers from the estates where Kickz projects operate. The fact that many of them began as Kickz participants also makes them themselves shining examples of the programme’s success.”
Tim Godwin, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “The Metropolitan Police is very proud to be working with the football world on the Kickz project, which through this award has been recognised nationally as best practice for sports based inclusion projects.
“This project has changed the lives of many young people and the fact that Kickz is the success it is due to the hard work and commitment of the project team and the many other people who work so hard behind the scenes and I would like to thank each and every one of them. Without them, Kickz would not be the fantastic project that it is, making such an incredible difference to the lives of so many young people.”
Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said: “Football clubs have a crucial role to play in their communities and Kickz is perhaps the best example of the positive impact a club can have.
“The Premier League is at the heart of Kickz; bringing not just the resources to help deliver it, but also the commitment of our clubs and their players who are crucial in encouraging young people to become part of the project.
“The Sport Industry Award is great recognition for the enormous strides that Kickz has made over the past three years. To have engaged over 24,000 young people in that time is a real achievement and one I am sure that the project will continue to build on.”
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