Sajid Javid has seen how Premier League Kicks helps young people become positive role models in their local communities after watching the programme in action.
The Home Secretary who has since been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer visited the Lisson Green Estate in Westminster, London this month to meet participants and coaches involved in PL Kicks sessions run by Queens Park Rangers in the Community Trust.
It is one of 17 venues where QPR run PL Kicks, engaging around 350 people in a typical week.
And Javid heard how the appeal of the Premier League and the club badge attracts young people to the programme, giving them the chance to reach their potential in a safe and stable environment.
"It's about young people coming out, meeting others, making friends and of course they're learning about football, but they're learning about much more than that," Javid said.
"It's about building skills, building more confidence and looking up to some of the role models that they have and many of those role models exist in football. That works really well."
PL Kicks began in 2006 and is now delivered by 69 professional clubs in high-need areas across England and Wales, with 75,000 young people a year taking part.
Through PL Kicks, the participants are engaged in football, sport and personal development activities, giving them the chance to grow their self-esteem and ambition.
"We all want to see kids having opportunities after school time and in the early evening," Javid added. "This is a great way to spend your time because you're not just doing something positive, you're learning new things, you're making friends, but you've also got someone to turn to if there are things you are worried about.
"The coaches are always there to give advice and turn you to the right direction if you need more professional advice."