Wednesday 03 April 2013
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A host of inspiring young people received the recognition they deserved on Tuesday as volunteers, mentors and some of the country's most purposeful youngsters were honoured at the 2013 Kickz Awards ceremony at Stamford Bridge.
"If it wasn’t for Kickz there wouldn't be so many positive young people out there who realise they can achieve whatever they want if they put their minds to it"
Among the hundreds present at the glittering ceremony were former Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus midfielder Edgar Davids, Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira, England international Rachel Yankey and Policing Minister Damian Green, who presented awards celebrating the good work undertaken by those who have helped turn around people’s lives in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the community.
“Kickz is amazing,” said Inspiring Female Person award winner Danielle Towner, who was honoured for the good work she has undertaken with Crystal Palace’s Kickz project. “Being here today and seeing so many young people and what they’ve done is incredible.
“It’s nice for them to actually be recognised for what they’ve achieved. If it wasn’t for Kickz there would not be so many positive young people out there who realise and understand that they can achieve whatever they want if they put their mind to it.”
Towner was a winner in one of 12 award categories that ranged from Outstanding Kickz Delivery – which was won by Pompey in the Community – to Football Achievement; Innovation to Alternative Achievement; Outstanding Partner Support to Inspiring Young Person.
All of those shortlisted for an award have given telling contributions to their community through Kickz, using the power of football to help inspire young people to take a positive direction in life.
“I set up a football project called Save The Streets within the police in my spare time,” said PCO Carlos Husbands, the winner of the Outstanding Police Contribution award. “It was an idea to get the kids off the street.
"I was having problems getting pitches, but then then I heard about Kickz who came on board and gave me the pitches and the coaches and we worked together to get the young people off the street.
“The anti-social behaviour levels have gone right down, and that’s originally why I came up with the idea. I started the football in the hope that it could be achieved and that’s what happened.”
"We don’t want to isolate or alienate young people and Kickz provides a mechanism with which we can engage"
Commander Mak Chishty
With 7,775 volunteers helping over 68,000 participants in over 100 Kickz projects over the last year youngsters have been inspired to achieve over 9,000 qualifications and accreditations.
With the backing of 46 football clubs, 20 police forces nationwide and over 650 partners over 500 people have gained employment with clubs. Tellingly, a 60% reduction in anti-social behaviour has been reported where Kickz projects take place.
“I have responsibilities for certain neighbourhoods across London and our job is to make each and every neighbourhood safe,” added Metropolitan Police Commander Mak Chishty. “Our biggest target group is young people; we don’t want to isolate or alienate them and Kickz provides a mechanism with which we can engage.
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“Football is a universal language, so we’re using things they can relate to which are cool but also which we enjoy. So by finding that common ground we can move them away from anti-social behaviour and low-level crime and indeed move them away from being a victim of crime as well. So in that sense we’re keeping them and their community safe. So I think it’s a winner all round.”
Award winners Joe Deverdics of the Newcastle Foundation and Craig King, of Blackpool both agreed that Kickz has steer youngsters away from less constructive uses of their time. “Kickz is brilliant, it really is,” said Deverdics, an Inspiring Young Person award winner. “It gets people in who would usually be hanging around on the streets on a Friday or a Saturday night, brings them in to play football for nothing.
"The successful local projects show how positive engagement with role models from the world of football can influence future generations’ attitudes and behaviours"
Policing Minister Damian Green
“I had no career plans beforehand but after going to Kickz I got myself into college, I got my coaching badge and now I’m going to go into coaching. I want to become a full-time coach and if I’m good enough maybe even become a professional referee.”
King, who won the Outstanding Volunteer Award for his selfless work in the community with Blackpool FC, said: “Looking at the statistics crime is massively down. Looking at the people that I work with it is making a massive, massive difference.
“We’ve been able to reach kids that only football could reach and guide them on to other things like refereeing courses, coaching, apprenticeships, putting them in touch with people that can get them into things we couldn’t get them into.
“We’ve had police coming down for a kick-around and having a laugh with them. We’ve noticed that some kids that used to take drugs have actually stopped since coming to Kickz.”
Policing Minister Damian Green added: “The Kickz Awards celebrate the hard work that has gone into engaging young people in sport who could otherwise be lured into a life of crime.
"The successful local projects recognised by today's awards show how positive engagement with role models from the world of football can influence future generations’ attitudes and behaviours."
Inspiring Person (Male)
Steve Mack, Newcastle United Foundation
Inspiring Person (Female)
Danielle Towner, Crystal Palace FC Foundation
Outstanding Police Contribution (London)
PCSO Carlos Husbands, Chelsea Foundation -
Outstanding Police Contribution (Non-London)
Sergeant Steve Hodgkins, Blackpool FC Community Sports Trust
Outstanding Partner Support
Chris Hodge, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Rushcroft Sports College
Inspiring Young Person
All 46 clubs recognised
Newcastle United Foundation, Refereeing Course
Kane Lewis, Chelsea Foundation
Mohsin Dawood, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust
46 clubs recognised
Craig King, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Outstanding Kickz Delivery
Pompey in the Community (Portsmouth FC)