Free football sessions can benefit all in Swindon
Since September 2019, the STFC Community Foundation have worked in partnership with the Premier League Charitable Fund to deliver the Premier League Kicks programme.
This program aims to inspire children and young people to achieve their potential and improve their wellbeing whilst working together to build stronger, safer, and more inclusive communities. To achieve this aim, the Foundation have delivered free weekly football sessions, educational workshops, and competitive football tournaments to over 750 young people aged 8-18.
To date, the majority of provision has been hosted at the Foundation’s hub facility, Foundation Park, located in Central Swindon next to the County Ground. All PL Kicks sessions are fully open and inclusive and are free to all participants within the age bands.
In April 2021, a funding agreement was reached with Wiltshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to roll out the Kicks program to an additional area of Swindon. Sessions have since commenced at Abbey Park school in North Swindon every Friday between 6-8pm where over 50 young people have already been in attendance. Whilst these sessions remain open access, local agencies such as the Wiltshire Police and Swindon Borough council, who sit on a steering group for the project, are able to signpost young people to the provision.
In addition to this new session, this funding will lead to an increase in holiday provision and workshops on topics including County Lines and Youth Violence. These interventions will be delivered in a child-centred, trauma informed approach, working in partnership with external providers to ensure the content is relevant and high quality.
The core focus of the partnership with the Wiltshire OPCC and STFC Community Foundation is to support with youth diversion in Swindon and the surrounding areas. This will be achieved through engaging young people in sport through increased playing, officiating and coaching opportunities in addition to educating young people on key societal themes with the aspiration of improving the local community. This also fits in well with the Kicks project outcomes;
- Work in partnership with young people, the police, and other stakeholders to support the younger generation with the societal challenges they face (e.g., youth violence) and to improve community safety.
- Inspire young people to develop positive, supportive relationships with one another and the authorities.
Through this partnership, the Foundation aspires to offer a pathway to enable young people to engage in sporting activity and education to discourage antisocial behaviour in those at risk of offending.