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March to host kids' free football programme called 'Kickstart'

A new football programme called 'Kickstart' will launch in March at the end of this month in a bid to drive young people away from anti-social behaviour.

Kickstart is a recreational football programme supported by Cambridgeshire Football Association (FA), Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Freedom Leisure.

Sessions are open to boys and girls aged 14 to 16 years and the training will be provided by a qualified FA coach.

Pictured (from left) are Ian Lombardo, Katie Critchley and Christopher Bryden
Pictured (from left) are Ian Lombardo, Katie Critchley and Christopher Bryden

Delivered by Norwich City Community Sports Foundation, the football sessions will be fun, engaging and age-appropriate.

The programme will provide 26 weeks of football activities and will encompass an FA qualification, coupled with a bespoke football club support package for the development of young leaders in the community.

Participants will have the opportunity to achieve the FA Junior Football Leaders award and will also have the option to obtain an FA Referee qualification and/or an FA Level 1 in Coaching Football.

Once qualified as a referee the individual will be able to earn a bit of extra money by signing up to referee football matches with local grassroots clubs.

The FA coaching badge will allow the individual to coach a grassroots football team of their own.

The Kickstart team is made up of FA coach mentors, Cambs FA staff and Fenland police officers. All agencies involved are passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of young people and the communities they live in.

Katie Critchley, Cambs FA Football development manager, said: "Building stronger, safer communities is a huge priority and we are delighted to work in partnership with Fenland police and Freedom Leisure.

"We are in a unique position to be able to use our platform to provide positive diversionary activity for young people.

"Kickstart injects a £20k investment countywide to encourage young people into sport. By putting the local grassroots football club at the heart of the community, we can support participants and give them confidence to use the new skills learned through the coach/referee education package.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in something really positive and away from anti-social behaviour."

Christopher Bryden, active communities manager for Freedom Leisure, said: "As part of our Active Communities plan across Fenland, Freedom Leisure has a commitment to improving the lives of local residents through leisure.

"This is an ideal opportunity for young people to get active whilst developing new skills that will stand them in good stead for the future."

Police Inspector Ian Lombardo said: "Even though I'm not the biggest football fan I'm a huge supporter of the Kickstart scheme.

"The qualifications available will help to boost the participant's confidence in decision making and leadership along with teaching them the importance of team work.

"These skills will be a great addition to their CVs ready for when they are applying for further education spaces, apprenticeships or when they are entering the world of full time work.

"I'm 100 percent behind this scheme so much so in fact that I will be volunteering my own time to help out during the sessions as much as I can. I really hope as many young people as possible take advantage of this opportunity to get fit, make new friends and to do something different on a Friday night."

The first session will be held on Friday, February 28 between 8pm and 9pm at the Neale-Wade Academy in Wimblington Road, March.

All sessions and qualifications are free and parents/carers/guardians are welcome to stay and watch if they wish.

There is no need to book, you simply turn up and play. Anyone wanting further information about the scheme is asked to email Katie.Critchley@cambridgeshirefa.com

Also from www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk

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