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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Millwall PL Kicks friendly brings together Southwark youngsters

Young people from Southwark represent Millwall in a friendly against Metropolitan Police U18s

Players undergoing the pre-match warm-up ahead of the match at the New Den last year

The ability of the PL Kicks project to bring different sections of society together was displayed last month when young people from across Southwark represented Millwall in a match against the Metropolitan Police U18 side in Morden.

Youngsters from the Avondale Square, Silwood and Bonamy Estates in Bermondsey and the Damilola Taylor Centre in Peckham came together for the second match of its kind against the Met Police at the Tooting & Mitcham hub in south London.

"The game highlighted again that through football, all communities can be brought together to support community cohesion," said Tom Rolt, Community Development Officer at Millwall Community Trust. "This fixture is another example of opportunities being provided by the Trust for our local residents."

What is PL Kicks?
- Delivered in partnership with many police forces
- Funded nationally by the Premier League and Sport England
- It began with three pilot projects in 2006
- There are now 47 Premier League and Football League clubs running PL Kicks
- In excess of 71,000 young people have been helped over the last eight years

The event gave youngsters the opportunity to forge relationships and break down barriers with the police and other young people from their community, as this was the first time they had played together.

The Millwall team produced a determined team effort in difficult conditions and quickly settled into the occasion, however they fell behind early on after a clinical finish. Millwall then produced a scintillating equaliser but the Metropolitan Police showed excellent discipline and eventually came away with a 3-1 victory.

This is the second time a team of PL Kicks players representing Millwall has taken on the Met Police following a fixture between the two sides at the club's New Den home last spring. And the success of the matches has led Clive Driscoll, Youth Development Officer at the Metropolitan Police FC, to call for it to become a regular fixture.

"We were honoured and privileged to play Millwall in this friendly match," said Driscoll. "The game was played with excellent spirit and not a shortage of skill. It is our hope this will be a regular event between the two clubs."

PL Kicks has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation to help hard-to-reach youngsters in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the community turn their lives around.

By engaging youngsters in constructive activities, including a wide variety of sports, coaching, music and educational and personal development sessions, communities up and down the country have been transformed with impressive sports participation rates and the authorities reporting significant reductions in anti-social behaviour. The scheme, which is run in partnership with the police, has also enabled thousands of youngsters to find routes into education, training and employment.

PL Kicks began in 2006 and 47 Premier League and Football League clubs now deliver the scheme, with more than 71,000 young people being helped over the last eight years.

Following the announcement last summer of the partnership with Sport England, an extra 30,000 young people will be engaged over the next three years with a further 3,000 volunteers being trained.

For more information about the weekly sessions and opportunities available to local young people from Southwark and Lewisham aged between 12-19 through the Millwall Premier League Kicks programme then please contact Millwall Community Trust by calling 020 7740 0503 or email enquiries@millwallcommunity.co.uk

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Key Points

  • A Millwall PL Kicks XI take on Metropolitan Police U18s in south London
  • Youngsters from Southwark represent Millwall as part of PL Kicks project
  • Met Police hope match can be a regular fixture