AN INNOVATIVE youth programme has received long-term funding from Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland Steve Turner.
Middlesbrough Football Club’s (MFC) Kicks has secured £86,000 in funding from the PCC to cover the period of Mr Turner’s three –year Police and Crime Plan.
MFC Kicks is part of Premier League Kicks (PL Kicks.) The UK-wide programme harnesses the power of football and appeal of professional football club brands to engage young people.
The club’s programme offers a range of free, weekly activities from sport to educational workshops and community action.
The Premiership match fund any contribution from the OPCC. This means Kicks can offer more for the OPCC’s contribution than alternative youth schemes.
The Kicks team has worked with 1,195 children and young people across Cleveland over the past 12 months. Highlights have included:
- 92 per cent of participants over-12 feeling more positive about their future after taking part in MFC Kicks
- 96 per cent of participants over-12 felt more confident about themselves after attending
- More than 96 per cent of participants said they felt they could “be themselves” at Kicks
PCC for Cleveland Steve Turner said: “MFC Kicks means we can reach youngsters at an early stage and divert them from taking part in risky teenage behaviours, criminality and violence. The whole programme aims to put youngsters on the path to a more positive future.”
Funding comes at a time when organisers are extending a pilot scheme aimed at breaking down barriers between young people and the police.
Successful pilot extended
Currently, neighbourhood officers from Cleveland Police take part in MFC Kicks sessions in Middlesbrough.
They attend in police branded kit to break down barriers between the police and young people as well as engage with participants from an early age.
The pilot is being extended to allow neighbourhood officers from Stockton, Redcar & Cleveland and Hartlepool to attend free football sessions wearing Cleveland Police colours.
Chief Inspector (CI) Daryll Tomlinson has attended a number of sessions on behalf of the Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Team.
CI Tomlinson said: “These sessions are imperative for us as neighbourhood officers to engage with young people and help them understand what we do and why.
“We also help educate young people around important topics, such as stamping out racism in football.
“The fact that this project is being extended across Cleveland shows its success and emphasises the importance of holding these important conversations between police and young people.”
MFC Kicks’ vision is to “Build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential.” MFC is one of only nine clubs of 92 in the country running similar schemes to be graded “exemplary” by the Premier League Charitable Fund.