Club legend Wes Brown and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham joined the Foundation’s young people at Salford Sports Village to celebrate the landmark achievement of one million hours of the Premier League Kicks programme.
The Kicks programme provides free football and diversionary activities for young people aged 8-18 across the country, through professional clubs’ affiliated community organisations [CCOs].
Through Street Reds – the Foundation’s adaptation of the Kicks programme – 17 free football sessions are delivered across Greater Manchester every week.
Nine CCOs played in the tournament, where Under-16 girls and Under-16 mixed teams from across the North West were involved, while also taking part in workshops focusing on mental health and stress awareness, and a series of football skill challenges.
The young people also had the opportunity to meet Wes Brown, who signed autographs and posed for photos with participants. Similarly, the Premier League trophy was also on-site at Salford Sports Village for photo opportunities.
Wes – a product of the club’s Academy, born locally in Longsight – spoke of the importance of the Kicks programme: “One million hours of coaching sessions like PL Kicks, it’s a great achievement. The teams have come from all over, they’re having such a great time.
“It [Kicks] has helped people along the way, there are people that have played in these games and tournaments that have gone on to help out and become coaches themselves.
“When I was a kid, there wasn’t much going on and we just played on the street, but this is a safe environment, it’s something the kids enjoy. This is a special day and one that they will remember.”
The Foundation’s Community Engagement Manager Tom Sellers said: “It’s a massive opportunity, bringing young people from all over the North West together.
“Participants have the chance to play in front of the Premier League trophy and get to meet and challenge themselves against young people from other clubs. Having Wes here, along with the Mayor and lots of media just makes it feel that extra bit special for the participants.”
Young people from a range of Street Reds sessions, including those from our Youth Voice Council, were among those representing the Foundation at the tournament.