More than 130 young people took part in an exciting football tournament at Northolt High School, Ealing, last month. The tournament, run in partnership with the Premier League’s Kicks project, saw ten community organisations from across the country play a series of enthralling six-a-side matches. Yet the tournament’s real objective was more than just playing football: as the Metropolitan Police launched its Operation Sceptre Week of Action, Brentford used the power of football to raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime and drugs.
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC CST, said: “The Premier League Kicks Programme, delivered by Brentford FC CST in Northolt, builds relationships with young people through the medium of sport. As a result, trust develops between the coach and participants, which means that when we run events like today we receive a positive response. A young person faces a number of decisions when growing up; we aim to be a positive influence in making the right choices.”
The tournament included a powerful workshop from Paul Hannaford, a former heroin addict, who was also involved in gangs as a teenager. Reflecting on his own journey, he said: “Through my own experience, kids from deprived areas are more vulnerable to get involved with gangs and anti-social behaviour. I strongly believe that every young person deserves to be educated on the dangers of drugs and knife crime: early intervention is so important.”
Participants of the tournament benefit from the Premier League’s Kicks project, which supports young people through weekly football, sport and personal development sessions. This year alone, Brentford FC CST has engaged with a staggering 800 young people across west London.
Alamin, 15, certainly enjoyed the tournament, he said: “I’ve been involved with the Kicks project since September; events like these are great because they keep me busy and help improve my self-confidence. It's great to play against other big Foundations such as Chelsea and Arsenal."
After six hours of intensive football matches, participants from Arsenal's Foundation were crowned winners of the tournament. For more information about the Kicks project please contact the Communities Engagement team on 020 8326 7030 or at firstname.lastname@example.org