New junior football programme kicks off in Berwick

Organisers and youngsters photographed before their Four Housing funded Kicks session at the Swan Leisure Centre in Berwick. Adults, centre, from left are Kicks coach Matty Moor, Gillian Buchan (holding ball) from Four Housing, Kicks coach David Brown and project co-ordinator Laura Wilson.
Organisers and youngsters photographed before their Four Housing funded Kicks session at the Swan Leisure Centre in Berwick. Adults, centre, from left are Kicks coach Matty Moor, Gillian Buchan (holding ball) from Four Housing, Kicks coach David Brown and project co-ordinator Laura Wilson.

A social inclusion football project has kicked off in North Northumberland that is set to benefit dozens of young people in the area, thanks to a partnership between Four Housing and Newcastle United Foundation.

The Kicks Project, a football and lifestyle programme for 12 to 19 year-olds, has got underway in Berwick upon Tweed which will see as many as 50 young people participate in the sessions being held at The Swan Centre over 36 weeks.

The Berwick Kicks project, which has benefited from a substantial donation from Four Housing’s Community Development Fund, is part of a national scheme designed to help young people achieve their goals through football. The aim is to engage young people in constructive activities, increase playing and coaching opportunities, and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

These free weekly sessions comprise football coaching sessions and educational sessions which focuses on other sport, music or developmental activities such as career development, healthy eating, drug awareness and volunteering.

Kicks has received huge success nationally and has been recognised by the Audit Commission as a model of best practice. 42 Premier League and Football League clubs run a combined 112 projects across England, with 45,000 kids engaged in their local community in just one year and 85,000 personal outcomes achieved overall, including 5,500 educational qualifications.

The first Berwick Kicks session attracted 48 participants and saw the Kicks coaches arrange young people into teams, with participants assisting in setting-up and running a league format for all of the teams to compete against each other.

Not-for-profit housing provider Four Housing’s Community Development Fund was set up to support local projects within the Berwick Borough where they are responsible for 2,000 properties. Commenting on the launch of the Kicks project in Berwick, Gillian Buchan, customer engagement officer at Four Housing, said: “The success of the Kicks project nationally has been phenomenal,so we were delighted to provide funding to help launch the scheme in Berwick.

“The project gives young people in the area the chance to learn football skills from professionals from the NUFC Foundation and discuss important issues which can significantly affect young people’s life chances. As well as achieving personal goals, we hope that some of the young people go on to volunteer themselves in referee and coaching roles.”

Laura Wilson project manager for Youth & Community at the Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the roll out of the Kicks project to Berwick thanks to funding support from Four Housing. The scheme has already been a huge success in Newcastle, engaging young people in constructive activities, increasing playing and coaching opportunities, breaking down barriers between the police and young people and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and we hope to repeat this in North Northumberland.”

For further information or to get involved, young people can turn up to the sessions at The Swan Centre, Northumberland Road, Berwick upon Tweed on a Friday evening from 6pm to 8pm or can email laura.wilson@nufc.co.uk