The Premier League will expand its Premier League Kicks community programme as it looks to work with the Government to support young people in serious violence hot spots.
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, chaired a roundtable yesterday with Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies, bringing together sports bodies, including the Premier League, charities and creative organisations as part of the Prime Minister’s Serious Youth Violence Summit to tackle knife crime.
The Premier League said it will work in partnership with Government to increase Premier League Kicks, one of its flagship community programmes.
Inspiring young people
PL Kicks reaches 75,000 participants a year, using football to inspire young people to develop their potential and build stronger, safer communities.
"The Premier League and our clubs recognise that young people today face huge pressures in their lives," Bill Bush, Premier League Executive Director, said.
"Our education and social inclusion programmes engage thousands of youngsters every week in areas of high need.
"Working in partnership with a range of Government and third-sector organisations we are determined to use our popularity and reach to strengthen local communities.
"This includes working together with young people and supporting them in understanding how to deal with the very real dangers of gangs and knives."
"We are determined to use our popularity and reach to strengthen local communities"
Government said it will also work with a range of sports’ organisations including basketball, boxing, cycling and community-based sports charities to see what more they can do to use sport to engage young people in hard-to-reach areas.
Sport England, which invests more than £10 million in projects that use sport to support crime reduction, has also pledged to increase investment in sport and physical activity for children in hot-spot areas.
This will include increasing the number of sports "satellite" clubs, which are held after school and at weekends for 14 to 19-year-olds and aim to bridge the gap between school, college and community sport.
Power of sport to connect
A total of 10,000 satellite clubs have been established in England, helping over half a million young people to get active.
"Sport has the power to reach and connect people of all ages and backgrounds," Wright said.
"We want to harness that power to encourage young people to choose positive activities that build confidence and key skills, rather than turn to crime and violence.
"Sports bodies already do excellent work in the community and we will work with the sector to expand sporting opportunities in youth crime hot spots to reach as many young people as possible."