Sky Blues in the Community pick up Project of the Year gong at sports awards
Coventry City’s Sky Blues in the Community are celebrating after their ‘Kickz’ young people’s project was awarded Community Project of the Year at the recent Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sports Awards.
The annual CSW Sports Awards is a celebration of sporting achievement and excellence, with the Community Project of the Year award recognising innovative projects that use sport and physical activity to improve and enhance the quality of life amongst those taking part.
The Coventry City Kickz project started in July 2012, initially offering three evenings of activity each week to young people aged 12-19. In the first 12 months of the scheme of being based at the Goals Soccer Centre, the project engaged over 450 young people from priority areas across Coventry – with an average attendance of 70 young people at each session.
Funded by the Premier League Charitable Fund, West Midlands Police and supported by the Positive Youth Foundation, the project offers football and other sports three evenings each week at Goals.
With funding recently secured to continue delivering Kickz until 2016, the project has now expanded, offering additional activities at the Moathouse Leisure Centre and Sidney Stringer Academy.
As well as sport sessions, Kickz also provides opportunities for young people to take part in training and obtain sports coaching and leadership qualifications.
Guy Rippon, Community Director said “The project has proven to be very successful in engaging young people in football and other sports, as well as achieving wider outcomes.
“To date young people involved in the project have benefitted with 50 qualifications obtained and training workshops, and we have taken on two full-time apprentices through the programme.
“It is also a very good way for our staff and police to deliver community safety messages. According to West Midlands Police there has been a significant reduction in youth crime and anti-social behaviour. We can’t put all of that down to the Kickz project, but we know we are working with the right young people and there are numerous instances of positive behaviour change and personal progression amongst the group.”
Fellow Director of Sky Blues in the Community David Busst added “We were delighted to be shortlisted in the first place, so to win the award was an unbelievable achievement with the project having been run for just over 12 months.
“Our staff team and partners that deliver the project deserve the plaudits. They work for three hours at a time in the evenings and at weekends, throughout the year providing these activities and opportunities for young people.”
The Kickz project will now go on to represent the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire area in the inaugural West Midlands Community Sports Awards, which take place on Wednesday 4th December at Villa Park.