Kickz began as a pilot project in London between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police in 2006, with the aim of using football to bring communities together and engage with young people.
The vision was to "build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young peoples' potential", getting to youngsters who had previously proven difficult to reach and guiding them towards a range of healthy and constructive activities.
The growth of Kickz has been phenomenal and today 42 Premier League and Football League clubs run a combined 112 projects across England, with 45,000 kids engaged in their local community in just one year and 85,000 personal outcomes achieved overall, including 5,500 educational qualifications.
Kickz has gained an excellent reputation and its format and approach to monitoring have been recognised as a model of best practice by the Audit Commission.
Sessions run for three nights a week, 48 weeks of the year, and on average there are 68 hours of contact for every participant. The sessions include:
- Two nights of football (coaching and competition)
- One 'flexible' session, which could focus on: other sports; music; and developmental activities (such as drug awareness, healthy eating, volunteering, career development and anti-weapons workshops)
One of the main aims of Kickz is to encourage volunteering and create routes into education, training and employment. More than 4,200 young people have volunteered at projects, with over 1,000 football-specific qualifications/accreditations achieved in the process.
Almost 400 young people have gone on to gain employment within one of the 42 club community schemes, where they act as positive role models for peers within their community.
Kickz is targeted at those living in communities where they are considered to be more vulnerable to crime either as victims or potential offenders, and the project works with 650 local Kickz partners, 19 police forces and 60 local authorities.
A key objective is to break down barriers between police and young people and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the targeted areas. Kickz proactively identifies project locations and influences the days and times of provision, which has helped see the following results:
- Over 75% of participants live in the top 30% most deprived areas of England
- One third live in the top 10%
- 91% of projects include Friday and/or Saturday evening activity (local authorities struggle to register more than 5%)
- Up to 60% reduction in anti-social behaviour in Kickz areas
- Up to 20% reduction in 'select crime', which are most often associated with young people
- Falling crime in key areas: 28% reduction in criminal damage and 19% in violence against the person
- Over 50,000 positive outcomes
One of Kickz's principal strengths is its partnership working, with central funding for 2010-13 coming from several different areas, with the Premier League pledging £6m, the Metropolitan Police £3m and the volunteering charity 'v' £500,000.
Other national partners making significant contributions include The Football Foundation, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, The Department for Education, The Home Office, v and The Brit Trust.
Formal links have also been forged with Nike, The Greater London Authority, The Prince's Trust, The FA and The Department of Health.