Sky Blues in the Community project shortlisted for national Premier League awardSky Blues in the Community's Coventry City 'Kickz' project has been shortlisted for a national Premier League award.
Kickz is a national Premier League initiative, which provides positive activities for young people aged 12-19 three nights of the week in some of the most deprived areas in the country. The Coventry City Kickz project was launched in July last year, becoming the 44th Premier League and Football League club to operate the Kickz scheme.
Since its inception last July, the Coventry Kickz project has worked with over 390 young people, delivering a range of sports activities, as well as coaching and education qualifications and personal development workshops for the young participants. The Kickz project regularly has over 100 teenagers attending sessions at the Goals soccer centre on Friday nights.
Sky Blues in the Community work with a range of partners to fund and deliver the project, including Coventry Community Safety Partnership, West Midlands Police, the Positive Youth Foundation and Heart of England Community Foundation.
The Premier League's National Kickz Awards celebrates the achievements of individuals and Kickz projects up and down the country, with the Coventry nominations coming in the young volunteers and outstanding police contribution categories.
Young volunteers Darsin Shamdeen and Maya Stoysavljevic both regularly give up their time to support the Sky Blues in the Community staff on the Kickz project, as well as volunteering on other community-based activities for young people.
Project Coordinator Craig White was delighted that their efforts had been recognised: “Darsin and Maya have both been involved in the project since it started, and have really helped us both in terms of helping us to promote the sessions, as well as mentoring their peers and supporting the coaches run the sessions.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant Alex Tarr is one of four police officers shortlisted nationally for the outstanding police contribution award, having been instrumental in helping to establish the project. Overseen by Sergeant Tarr, West Midlands Police officers regularly attend the Kickz sessions at the Upper Stoke venue, developing stronger relationships with young people as well as providing information and workshops on a variety of issues including gun and knife crime, and preventing extremism.
The Kickz project attracts young people from across the Upper Stoke, Foleshill, Henley and Hillfields areas of the city, with West Midlands Police statistics highlighting a significant drop in crime and anti-social behaviour amongst young people in these areas.
Sergeant Tarr said “I feel very humbled to be nominated. I see it very much as a collaborative effort between West Midlands Police and partners, and therefore see the nomination as an acknowledgement of the great work of Sky Blues in the Community, the participants, and partners have put into it.
“The project has clearly had a positive effect upon reports of anti-social behaviour in some of the priority locations in Coventry, as well as provided a structure for some of the participants, which they never had before.
“It has provided educational opportunities for participants as well as signposting them to other activities. The project has also enabled local police to build/repair bridges with some of our vulnerable and difficult to reach young people.”
The awards ceremony takes place at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium on Tuesday 2nd April.
For more information on the Sky Blues Kickz project, contact Craig White on 024 7678 6313.