Cam Warden's story: Being a part of PL Kicks is a great opportunity

By Mark Orlovac 3 Oct 2023
Premier League Kicks, Leicester City, Cam Warden

Leicestershire Police officer says being a coach at Premier League Kicks helps him engage with the local community

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Cam Warden is not your average police officer. 

As well as keeping the streets safe in his role with Leicestershire Police, he is building bridges in the local community by spending much of his spare time as a volunteer Premier League Kicks coach with Leicester City in the Community.

"I joined the police in 2021 and although I'd heard about Premier League Kicks, I didn't really know a lot about it," he explains. 

"I was invited down to one of the sessions and right from the start, I loved every moment. I wanted to grab hold of the opportunity."

Cam soon saw how PL Kicks uses football to engage and support young people in disadvantaged areas as well as the crucial role it plays in bringing down barriers between participants and those working in law enforcement.

"It really grabbed me that I could speak to young people and they could speak to me as a normal human being instead of them just looking at someone in uniform," he says.

"When I go there, they know who I am - they know me in uniform, they know me out of uniform. They chat to me, they can speak to me about their problems. They can talk to us freely."

And with young people seeing Cam and the police in a different light, the influence of weekly meet ups at PL Kicks sessions reaches far beyond the boundaries of the football pitch.

"This is perfect for me and my role," Cam says. "Some of the kids don't like the police but this is another way of helping the community realise that we are only trying to do the right thing.

"If there are any issues regarding anti-social behaviour for example, the participants can be honest about who it might be and then we can talk to them.

"Out on the street, I can change a young person's mind about doing certain things. I've mentioned Premier League Kicks, encouraged them to come down and they change completely, their view of the police is so much different."

Premier League Kicks Leicester City

When PL Kicks started in 2006, it started out as a pilot project between five clubs and one police force, the Metropolitan Police in London.  

Seventeen years later, the programme reaches every corner of England and Wales, being run by 90 professional clubs together with 36 police forces.

"That relationship between football, the Premier League and the police is a pretty powerful combination," he says.

"I was told by one of my colleagues that these kids will never forget me. It's quite special to hear that because I didn't think they would remember me, and that means I must have had an impact on them, it's a massive change in their life.

"Premier League Kicks is genuinely incredible."

Premier League Kicks, funded by the Premier League through the Premier League Charitable Fund, uses the power of football and sport to inspire young people to reach their potential, in some of the most high-need areas in England and Wales.

More than half a million people have benefited to date.

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