Rio attended an event called Your Voice - Your Goals, which was hosted by Kickz and Trafford Council and aimed to tackle violence in Trafford and break down barriers between young people, the Police and other government agencies. The event also showcased the positive services available to young people in the area.
Rio took part in a Q&A session with a selected panel of guests, which included local musician Fabian Wilks, community worker Joe Malaika, police officers from Manchester’s XCalibre Taskforce and Kickz project coordinator Lee Adams.
England international Rio told the 60 teenagers who were in attendance about his experiences growing up and advised them on achieving future goals. He said: “My advice to people here tonight is to decide what your goal in life is, and work towards it as you can achieve anything you want in life if you put your mind to it.”
The Foundation's Kickz project was set up in the autumn of 2006 to build relationships between key partners in the community and engage youngsters and encourage them to talk about their role in tackling crime. Kickz is aimed at encouraging youngsters between the ages of 12-19, who live in the areas where crime figures are high to take part in sports. The Kickz project runs football and sports sessions at times when anti-social behaviour is at its highest and is delivered by the Foundation in partnership with the Football Foundation, Greater Manchester Police and Trafford Council.
Project coordinator Lee Adams said: “Everything you hear about young people at the moment is negative but Kickz has had a massive effect in this area. Crime has dropped dramatically since the project has started and the whole community has seen a positive improvement in the area.”
Lee is supported by volunteers who help coach the children, building up their confidence and encouraging them to take part in different activities in the area.
Chief Executive of Manchester United Foundation John Shiels said: “Kickz has been fantastic for this area in recent years it has encouraged youngsters to take part in sport and a big thank you must go out to Lee and his team who have been brilliant in helping hundreds of youngsters achieve their goals.”