Wednesday 23 January 2013
The positive impact of a Fulham FC Foundation project to help young people in Epsom has been recognised with the winning of a local award.
Longmeadz Kickn is run in partnership with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Surrey Youth Support Service, Surrey Police and the Beat Project and won in the Sports Project of the Year category of the Surrey Sports Awards last month.
Longmeadz Kickn is an estate-based programme in Epsom using sport as a platform to help young people develop life skills and revitalise disadvantaged communities. The project aims to engage “at risk” youngsters between 10 and 18 years of age, in sport and positive activities.
"The ability and commitment of all the young people is extremely positive and I’m very proud to be their coach"
“As a project, Longmeadz Kickn has come a long way,” Paul Smithers, Fulham FC Foundation’s Lead coach, said. “The number of participants attending is improving and we are growing as a project in both football and dance. The ability and commitment of all the young people is extremely positive and I’m very proud to be their coach.”
An example of the benefit derived from the project is Paige Mollatt, a 15-year-old, who is often the only female member attending the Longmead football sessions.
Previously, Mollatt was known for her bad language and had struggled with behaviour, but with the guidance of the Fulham FC Foundation coaches and her personal action plan she has improved not only in her language but in her overall behaviour and her aptitude in embracing new skills. Mollatt also has a better understanding of each individual session and has devoted more thought towards her future career goals.
One of the highest-attending members of the programme Mollatt has become a valued member of the team and, though still in school, intends to pursue a career in sport when she leaves.
“Paige seems to lead by example and has a drive to complete objectives she has set herself,” added Smithers. “She currently plays for AFC Wimbledon ladies team and I think she could progress there, as she is still young. As her coaches we will encourage her to excel herself in the hope that she will be able follow her dream of becoming a PE teacher or a coach.”
Mollatt is not the only girl to benefit from Longmeadz Kickn. Although football was originally the main focus of the programme, from February 2012 it has also included girls-only street dance and zumba sessions to engage more girls in the project.