Exeter’s leading health and wellbeing charity, CITY Community Trust celebrated news of further funding for the Premier League Kicks programme with a special event.
Exeter City first team players Harry Kite and Jordan Dyer joined participants of CITY Community Trust’s Premier League (PL) Kicks session along with special guest and professional freestyler Steve Grey at St James Park.
The event was held to celebrate the commitment from the Premier League to fund the community programme for another three years. This national investment will enable more than 175,000 young people to access PL Kicks sessions across England and Wales by 2022.
PL 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 Devon & Cornwall Police, local community builders, Exeter City Council Community Safety Partnership, Co-op Group’s Local Causes, One Stop Carriers for Causes and Proceeds of Crime Act to create stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Aimed at eight-to-18-year-olds, PL 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.
City Community Trust has been running Premier League Kicks sessions for the last three years and has encouraged more than 600 participants to take part in positive activity. Sessions are held in Wonford, Merrivale and Cranbrook.
Harry Kite and Jordan Dyer saw how young people in Exeter and the surrounding areas have been positively impacted by the programme and joined in with the street soccer session at St James Park.
Harry said: ‘It’s great to see all the different communities around the city coming together at a central venue such as St James Park, and it’s good to see they are getting the opportunities to come along and play together.’
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.
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 Kick’s 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.’
The next three years of the programme will also see more targeted provision for young people requiring extra support. Working in partnership with Children in Need, 48 professional football clubs will provide mentorship and guidance to young people, inspiring them to realise their potential.
To find out more about Premier League Kicks or to find a local session, visit: https://www.exetercitycommunitytrust.co.uk/premier-league-kicks
More information on the national PL Kicks programme and its objectives can be found at: https://www.premierleague.com/communities/programmes/community-programmes/pl-kicks