On Tuesday 18th February, teams from Blackthorn in Northampton and Queensway and Kingsway in Wellingborough met at the Old Grammarians Football Club to play a friendly tournament.
All three groups play free weekly football sessions at their respective sites with the Northampton Town Community Trust coaches Ben Ryan, Mark Seymour and Brett Moran alongside volunteer Alex Wilson.
This is the first time the club's different sessions have met, and they played small sided games within younger and older age groups which provided the opportunity for participants to show off the skills they have developed in sessions and play with and against different people. Respect is a major theme with these groups and all players followed the coaches and referees’ instructions. Well done to all those who took part and thanks to parents and Wellingborough Police for attending to support.
A follow up tournament is planned on 20th May at the PTS Academy Stadium where other PL Kicks groups from regional clubs will be invited to play alongside girls and disability groups which are also part of the programme.
Northampton Town Football Club’s Community Trust started Premier League Kicks sessions in different parts of the county in September 2019. The project aims to use the reach and appeal of football and Northampton Town in particular to target vulnerable young people at risk of gang culture and crime to engage in positive activities. These are young people from deprived areas with low aspirations and are more vulnerable to crime either as victims or potential offenders.
• Improved community opportunities through physical activity
• To raise awareness around violent crime, specifically knife crime
• Improved perception and interaction between local PSCOs and communities
• To reduce levels of anti-social behaviour and crime
• Improved community cohesion and social interaction
This is what some of our participants have had to say:
“I enjoy coming to sessions, I have become more confident playing football. I have made friends.” – Participant.
“My son joined the PL Kicks Queensway after searching for a club. He always wanted to do more than kick a ball about with friends during breaks at school. He had developed an interest in football, watching matches and looking at the techniques of the famous players. He was keen to learn how to play 'properly' and since being part of PL Kicks he feels his skills have improved, his confidence has grown and he has made new friends. Football is his primary motivator! He looks forward to it every week. He was excited to tell us that he is comfortable playing in different positions too”. - Parent
“I have seen first-hand the change in some of the children who attend the sessions. At first they were shy but through the coaches’ support, they have become confident young adults. Even though the Wellingborough scheme is still in its infancy, I am sure that with time, the longer term impact the sessions have will be clear to see. The work Northampton Town does and the opportunities it offers can't be measured, it has a positive impact with the local children in the community. When out and about in the area, on the occasions where I meet participants misbehaving who attend the club's sessions, I have found that threatening to tell staff at the Cobblers about their behaviour has encouraged them to change their behaviours and attitudes which shows how much they enjoy attending and being involved in the programme.” - Phil Dobson, PCSO Kingsway area, Wellingborough Neighbourhood Policing Team
"I believe the most important part has been the young people gaining acceptance of officials and developing respectful relationships with the police and coaches. Having normal conversations and building mutual respect and courtesy. Simple spotting and recognising positive behaviour and identifying the behaviours that need adjustment has worked really well." Mark Seymour, Coach
To find out more about the programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org