Kickz, the football project aimed at engaging young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country, has received a prestigious award for its work. Minister for Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe MP, has praised Manchester United Foundation for their part in making the Kickz programme such a successful programme.
Kickz scooped the Community Programme Award at the recent national Sport Industry Awards 2009. It gives young men and women (aged 12-18) the chance to play quality football, as well as becoming involved in other sports and activities, such as music production and dance. Kickz also offers them an opportunity to volunteer in their community, learn to coach and in some cases gain employment in the clubs themselves.
At the same time, Kickz is also breaking down barriers between the police and young people, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and encouraging young people 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.
The Foundation's Kickz project was set up in the autumn of 2006, focusing on the Cliffard ward of Old Trafford. The project has gone from strength to strength, with crime reducing by as much as 18.5% in the local area at the times when sessions run. The project has linked with other sporting organisations to offer a range of activiites to the young people and has included sessions in rugby, martial arts, hair and beauty, cheerleading, fitness and boxing.
Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister for Sport, said: “Winning a Sport Industry Award is no easy task so this recognition just goes to show what a triumph Kickz has been nationwide. Everyone working on Kickz has played their part and should be proud of the positive impact they've had on the lives of tens of thousands of young people. I want to congratulate Manchester United Foundation's staff and their local partners for their work in making Kickz the success story it is.”
Kickz began in 2006, after discussions between the Premier League, the Football Foundation and the Metropolitan Police. From an initial four pilot project, Kickz has grown rapidly. It now has a staggering 106 projects being delivered three nights a week, 48 weeks a year, by 39 professional football clubs, local authorities across the country and 17 major police forces. Having originally set out to engage with 12,000 young people, it has instead impacted upon over 24,500 young people.
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.
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. 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, we have worked in partnership on delivering Kickz projects in some of the most deprived communities across the country.