Eight teams from across Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire were in attendance as the Doncaster Rovers Community Sports and Education Foundation hosted Doncaster Kicks at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Kicks aims to use football to bring communities together and help engage with young people, in order to build safer, stronger and more respectful communities.
The day began with a series of workshops from South Yorkshire Police and Fire Service, where the young people at the event got to experience a riot situation and the procedures the police would take. Attendee’s also got to take part in the training maze, which the fire service use as part of their induction training, in order to carry out a rescue.
The teams then got to see the different vehicles used by the emergency services, such as the police riot van and motorbike, along with the Subaru Impreza emergency vehicle used by the fire service.
A five-a-side football tournament followed the workshops, on the Keepmoat’s state of the art 3G pitches, with Kicks representatives from Rotherham United running out as the eventual winners.
Speaking about the day, Nick Perchard, Community Development Executive from the Premier League said: “I think events like this are massive, they give everyone an incentive to carry on coming along on a Friday or Saturday night Kicks programmes, the young people here today, wearing the club kit make them feel part of the club and it gives them something to keep coming along for. The clubs can use it to improve behaviour and attendance, so it is massive for them.
“There are very few organisations that can get 50 young people listening to a workshop by the police or fire brigade, but Kicks and the clubs can do that, because they have the hook of the club and the club badge and the draw of playing football. By bringing people in using football, hopefully we can educate them in some important social areas.
“Doncaster’s contribution has been absolutely terrific, they are getting more people than they said they would which is brilliant, they are engaging for a long period of time, so people are coming again and they are putting on events like this which is fantastic, drawing in clubs from across the north and people from their own scheme, so it is absolutely brilliant work going on and I am sure they will continue to do it.”
PC 1145 Tracey Stillings was impressed with how all of the young people wanted to take part in the workshops, she said: “It’s been a fantastic day, I was surprised just how engaging the young people have been, they were quite happy to come try all of the equipment on and asked all of the correct questions.
“Hopefully they have taken something away with them and they realise what the emergency services do on a day to day basis.”
South Yorkshire Fire Service’s Ian Foster echoed Stilling’s thoughts, believing Doncaster Kicks has been a real success.
“Events like this are excellent for the community, it brings everybody together with teams from all over Yorkshire, there was a fantastic turn out, with lots of people here all enjoying the day,” said Foster.
Doncaster Kicks Coordinator Tim Ryan added: “The tournament was a great success, a lot of hard work went in to the planning of the day and to see everyone enjoying themselves makes it all worthwhile.
“The feedback from the other participating clubs has been good and we are looking forward to future tournaments and collaborations with our Kicks Partners”
For more information on how to get involved with Kicks in Doncaster, please visit: http://www.drfc-community.co.uk/activities