First-team duo Chris Martin and Kieran Dowell joined participants from Derby County’s Premier League Kicks session on Thursday evening at Arboretum Park to celebrate the commitment from the Premier League to fund the community programme for another three years.
This investment will enable more than 175,000 young people to access Premier League Kicks sessions across England and Wales by 2022.
Premier League Kicks gives young people access to free football sessions, sports sessions and workshops, providing them with opportunities, support and pathways to achieve their full potential. It sees club community staff working closely with young people and authorities in their local area, including police, local councillors, multi-agency and NHS teams to create stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Aimed at eight-to-18-year-olds, Kicks engages young people in positive activities through their passion for football, whilst also addressing topics covering everything from equality and inclusion to youth violence and knife crime.
Premier League support will see the programme grow so that 90 Premier League, EFL and National League clubs are able to deliver sport and education sessions in hundreds of local communities where projects are needed most. With a focus on integration, equality and inclusion, thousands more girls will be engaged, and clubs will deliver ever more inclusive sessions.
Martin and Dowell saw how young people in Normanton have been positively impacted by the programme and joined in with the Derby County Community Trust’s weekly football session at Arboretum.
Derby County Community Trust has been running Premier League Kicks sessions for the past 11 years and has encouraged thousands of participants to take part in positive activity.
Martin said: “It’s great to come and get stuck in with community sessions. It’s been a while since we played on this sort of surface but its brilliant to see so many kids down here having a kickabout, and the standard is really high.”
Simon Carnall, Head of Community, said: “The PL kicks programme has been a fundamental part of our offer since 2008 and we are so pleased to know we have three more years of delivery funded in some of the neediest areas of our city. The young people who come week in, week out, are a credit to our organisations and more importantly themselves.”
Premier League Executive Director Bill Bush said: “The Premier League Kicks programme has been running successfully through our clubs and many across the EFL for thirteen years. To show our commitment to young people and communities, we are investing further to ensure its continuation for another three years, until 2022.
“Kicks is our flagship community programme and we are pleased that with the support of clubs and partners across the country, not least the police, we can continue to positively impact young people, providing them with opportunities and pathways that they may not have been able to access. Twenty per cent of current Premier League Kicks staff are former participants or volunteers, which goes to show how a long-term commitment can provide support and pathways for young people to better themselves, in turn allowing them to be a positive influence to others growing up in their community.”
To find out more about Premier League Kicks or to find a local session, head to: derbycountycommunitytrust.com
More information on the national PL Kicks programme and its objectives can be found at: premierleague.com/communities/programmes/community-programmes/pl-kicks