Millwall Kicks Project a table topper
Kicks began in London as a pilot project between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police in 2006, with the aim of using football to bring communities together and engage with young people.
The vision was to "build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young people’s potential", getting to youngsters who had previously proved difficult to reach and guiding them towards a range of healthy and constructive activities.
The growth of Kicks has been phenomenal and today 42 Premier League and Football League clubs run a combined 112 projects across England, with 45,000 youngsters engaged in their local communities in just one year and 85,000 personal outcomes achieved overall, including 5,500 educational qualifications.
One of the main aims of Kicks is to encourage volunteering and create routes into education, training and employment. More than 4,200 young people have volunteered at projects, with over 1,000 football-specific qualifications/accreditations achieved in the process.
Almost 400 young people have gone on to gain employment within one of the 42 club community schemes, where they act as positive role models for peers within their community.
Kicks is targeted at those living in communities where they are considered to be more vulnerable to crime either as victims or potential offenders, and the project works with 650 local Kicks partners, 19 police forces and 60 local authorities.
A key objective is to break down barriers between police and young people and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the targeted areas.
Millwall Community Trust works with a wide range of different partnership agencies but more importantly has received huge backing recently from their local councils, in particular Southwark and Lewisham youth services.
This partnership has attracted match funding which adds more value to the Premier League Kicks programme locally which helps engage more young people and helps achieve more positive outcomes.
Millwall CEO Andy Ambler said: “A motto we have adopted at our club is ‘Football is the answer, not the problem’.There is so much that we do, and can do more of, which enables Millwall to be a force for good.”
Millwall manager Ian Holloway added ‘This club does more than any other I have been at within its community. It is something we are all very proud of and it’s great to know that the efforts of those working on this project have been recognised in this way.”