A project which has been reaching out to at-risk youngsters in Doncaster is set to continue following a successful pilot.
Doncaster Rovers Foundation, the charitable arm of Doncaster Rovers FC have been running a ‘Kickz’ programme which is aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour. The charity has held a launch event to signal the official start of project.
The programme features football sessions and educational workshops, in a bid to improve neighbourhood relations in two of the most deprived areas of Doncaster.
Community Officer and Kickz Project Co-ordinator Jan Budtz said: “We started with a pilot project in November and have had a fantastic response so we are now expanding on the pilot and officially launching the programme.
“We are looking to inspire those who have previously been difficult to reach through a range of sporting and non-sporting activities. The Kickz model has had great success across the country and locally we have already engaged with 85 young people who have devised their own Code of Conduct for the project, supported by Rovers Captain, Rob Jones. Our aim is to engage with over 150 young people in the area during 2013.
“The goal of Kickz is to educate young people and use football as a way to instil confidence, self-belief and respect. We are also looking to introduce a number of other sporting activities including boxing, street dance and BMX to widen the appeal of the project.
“We are delighted to welcome Rovers Captain Rob Jones as the club’s Kickz Ambassador and look forward to working with him moving forward.
“We are currently planning on holding competitive football tournaments with other Kickz projects from across the UK and holding life skills master classes delivered by the police and Fire service which will deliver additional benefits to the youngsters involved.”
“We run a number of community initiatives which have been very successful, giving participants employment opportunities and new skills, and we are delighted that this new project is achieving similar results.”
Kickz is a national scheme with programmes offered by more than 40 Premier League and Football League clubs. Rovers’ project will use facilities at Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College on three evenings per week for 48 weeks of the year.
The programme has received funding and support from 12 organisations, including NHS Doncaster, South Yorkshire Police, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Serco.
Councillor John McHale said: “We are delighted that the Kickz pilot period has been so successful and I am sure that the project will continue to go from strength to strength.
“The Kickz project demonstrates how important it is to engage with young people in the community and what a positive difference it can make to their young lives.
“Doncaster Rovers do some excellent work across the Borough and we are pleased to continue our winning partnership with the club.”
Doncaster Rovers Community Sports and Education Foundation is a charity which encourages participation in sports, social inclusion and health and wellbeing.