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Vieira salutes 'fantastic' Kickz project

Patrick Vieira was one of the star guests at the Kickz Awards 2012 in Manchester

Read more quotes and reaction from the Kickz Awards 2012.

Premier League star Patrick Vieira has paid tribute to the work of the flagship Kickz project after attending the scheme's 2012 Awards ceremony in Manchester.

The Arsenal legend, now football development executive at Manchester City, was one of the stars attending the glittering event at the Etihad Stadium.

The ceremony honoured the participants and volunteers working in Kickz, which uses the power of football in some of the most deprived areas of the country to create safer and more respectful communities.

Vieira said: "Schemes like this are fantastic because as a football club we have a responsibility to try to help the kids around the local community to achieve their dreams.

"We all know that sport in general, and football in particular, is brilliant at breaking down barriers and bringing people together"
- Michael Gove

"I am sure some of them will want to play for their football clubs, some of them will have dreams and may not have the tools to achieve them.

"Every kid, all around the world, is playing football and as the number one sport in the world, we have a duty to give back to society."

The fourth national Kickz Awards had 500 people in attendance with the likes of Vieira, Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden and Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove presenting accolades while Sky Sports presenter Ben Shephard hosted the event.

Impressed

Mr Gove, who also went on a tour of Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, said he was hugely impressed with the work of Kickz.

"Kickz's success has been amazing," he said. "It's been driven by the clubs themselves and also by the young people who have been engaged.

"We all know that sport in general, and football in particular, is brilliant at breaking down barriers and bringing people together.

"And I think what Kickz does, in many circumstances, is that it allows the police to see the best in young people and young people to see the best in the police; that can only be good.

"We are humbled, we are honoured and we are incredibly proud to be involved in this"
- Premier League's Nic Coward

"One of the great things about the Premier League's involvement is that it is a world-class organisation which is able to support great clubs to do the sort of thing on scale that makes a difference and we can learn from their success.

"I am absolutely delighted that the Premier League is so involved in a scheme like this."

Kickz began in 2006 as a partnership between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police with four pilot projects. Since then the scheme has gone country-wide, with 43 Premier League and Football League clubs now running over 110 projects across England.

The initiative, which now works with 19 police forces and over 60 local authorities in England, engages young people through football, breaking down barriers with the police as well as creating routes into education and employment.

More than 57,000 young people have gone through the scheme with as much as a 60% reduction in anti-social behaviour being reported in some areas where Kickz projects are operating.

Premier League General Secretary Nic Coward said: "We are humbled, we are honoured and we are incredibly proud to be involved in this. It's an amazing project.

"I think it's fair to say that we have been amazed, the Metropolitan Police and the other forces around the country with whom we work have been incredibly impressed and that's why we are so delighted to continue our investment and support."

Holden said he was proud of how the Premier League and its clubs have contributed to the scheme.

Great effort

"It's great for the Premier League to be able to get involved and to use clubs like Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, to use football to unite people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to all to come together for one thing – the love of football," said the 26-year-old United States international.

"We couldn't be more proud of them"
- Jennifer Mildenhall of Wolves Community Trust

"You can see that with all the participants and all the outstanding achievements, everyone that was recognised has really put in a great effort and great work and is really enjoying being part of this programme."

There were a total of 12 award categories at the Kickz Awards 2012, including Outstanding Police Contribution and Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.

The prestigious Outstanding Kickz Club of the Year was given to Wolves Community Trust, which won the accolade despite only running their project since September 2010.

"It's a testament to the partners and the young people, they are absolutely brilliant so they have won the award," said Jennifer Mildenhall, the Wolves Community Trust Kickz & Community Engagement Officer.

"There's been a phenomenal difference since we've been running.

"The young people are from really deprived areas, they have got loads of stuff going on at home and the things they are achieving, how pro-active they are and what they want to do in the community is fantastic. We couldn't be more proud of them."

List of Kickz Awards 2012 winners

Innovation Award: Jessica Purchase and Laura Baker (Wolves Community Trust)

Inspiring Person (Aged 17+): Davis Rizzolo (Arsenal In The Community)

Outstanding Police Contribution (London): Graham Willerton (Watford FC Community Sports Education Trust)

Outstanding Police Contribution (non-London): Jen Richards (Wolves Community Trust)

Inspiring Young Person of the Year (Aged 12-16) Male: Jahmmal Grant (Wolves Community Trust)

Inspiring Young Person of the Year (Aged 12-16) Female: Leah Beal (Reading FC Community Trust)

Outstanding Partner Support: Sir Steve Bullock (Millwall Community Scheme)

Football Achievement Award sponsored by Nike: Tanyah Palisa 'Pele' Chipendo (Albion In The Community)

v Inspired Volunteer: Recognised volunteers from all 43 clubs

v Inspired Outstanding Volunteer of the Year: Robin Clarke (Queens Park Rangers FC Community Trust)

Alternative/Non Football Award: Viva Kickz (The Everton Foundation & The Liverpool FC Foundation)

Outstanding Kickz Club: Wolves Kickz (Wolves Community Trust)

Read more quotes and reaction from the Kickz Awards 2012.

Read the full Premier League Creating Chances report.

Key Points

  • Patrick Vieira praises work of Kickz at national awards ceremony
  • Kickz Awards 2012 recognised participants and volunteers
  • Michael Gove and Stuart Holden also handed out accolades

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