Free football sessions launched in partnership with STFC Community Foundation
Children and young people are being encouraged to join in the football fun this summer by signing up to Premier League (PL) Kicks sessions run by Swindon Town FC Community Foundation.
Joint funded by the Premier League and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) the PL Kicks programme works with those aged 8-18 to deliver community activities, workshops and football sessions.
The programme is designed to inspire young people to develop positive, supportive relationships with one another and the authorities with the aim of reducing any risk of youths being exploited or caught up in crime and improving community safety.
Children and young people who live Swindon and the surrounding areas can get involved with sessions running in the evenings and after school. In addition to this, holiday activities will also take place over the summer.
Kieran Kilgallen, OPCC Chief Executive said: “Working in partnership with Swindon Town Community Foundation and Wiltshire Police we’ve identified areas of focus where community engagement will support diverting young people away from criminal activity and any risk of exploitation.
“A core role of the OPCC is not only to ensure victims of crime have the necessary support, but also to commission and fund services and initiatives to prevent crime from happening in the first place as outlined in the current police and crime plan.
“Activities that support the personal development of children and young people from all backgrounds can only be a good thing in reducing their vulnerability and keeping our communities safe and I’m pleased that funding from the OPCC will help Swindon Town FC Community Foundation to run these sessions.”
Swindon Town FC Community Foundation will be delivering a minimum of 160 hours of activities ahead of April 2022.
Andy Tye, Premier League Kicks Coordinator for the STFC Community Foundation said: “The funding agreement with the OPCC will enable the Community Foundation to expand the reach of the PL Kicks programme to young people from different parts of Swindon and its surrounding areas.
“The additional hours of activity will offer the young people of Swindon increased access to free football, coaching opportunities, and even chance to try their hand at officiating. This is as well as educating them on key societal themes through educational workshops.
“The aim is that through this additional provision, the project will help young people to reach their potential whilst acting as a diversion away from antisocial behaviour and crime.
“Partnerships with local stakeholders, and particularly the OPCC, are an integral part of our delivery plan. The collaboration between these parties will ensure we are not only positively affecting an increased number of young people, but ensuring that elements of our delivery are affecting the right people and the areas in need, with a more contextualised approach to delivery.”
Laura Schell, Youth and Early Intervention Supervisor for Wiltshire Police added: “A Police Officer within the Youth and Early Intervention team is actively involved in the delivery of the PL Kicks programme, to engage with local partners, including the local Community Policing Teams to ensure young people are supported to attend.
“We know what a difficult time it has been for young people throughout the lockdowns – this is a fantastic opportunity for them to get together and take part in a brilliant activity programme. We hope many young people throughout Swindon and North Wiltshire are able to attend throughout the Summer.”