Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness hails the intervention work being delivered in Sunderland to young people vulnerable to falling into crime.
The Foundation of Light, the official charity of Sunderland AFC, is one of the 30 interventions across the region to benefit from funding through the Commissioners Violence Reduction Unit – a team formed in late 2019 to tackle serious violence with a public health approach.
Premier League Kicks, a football-based session delivered Mondays and Fridays at the Beacon of Light, provides an opportunity for young people to play football and be educated around the impact a life of crime can have on the individuals and their families.
Kim McGuinness said: “The fantastic thing about Kicks is that it harnesses the power of football and the power of sport. It uses the Sunderland brand to bring young people in and give them something to do.”
The Commissioner heard about the workshops delivered by the Foundation and the importance of educating the young people around the topics of knife crime, mental health and exploitation.
After taking time to observe the session, the PCC spoke to several young people attending around the benefits of the session and what skills they have gained since taking part. Kim went on to praise the Foundation and thank them for their work to date and evolving partnership.
A massive thank you to the Foundation of Light; this is exactly the sort of thing that gives young people positive mentors and keeps them away from crime, anti-social behaviour, and difficult behaviour
With over 120 referrals to the programme already, including 49 girls, Foundation of Light Kicks Co-Ordinator, Dave Jeffries highlighted the important work of an activity like this in the local area. He said: “A lot of the kids attending these sessions would otherwise be involved in other activities, not always positive ones. So giving that opportunity is a big thing for them, because otherwise anti-social behaviour – which we know a lot of the kids have been involved in the past – can occur.”
Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, along with the funded interventions and several partners including education and health are working together to improve the lives of young people and provide an accessible pathway to support for those in need.
This approach has been praised by the Foundation, recognising the opportunities young people are now being provided with. Dave explains: “Projects like this, and support from the Police and Crime Commission are vital, for the area. It gives the kids such a positive and safe environment to be in.”
For more information on sessions delivered by the Foundation of Light visit our Kicks page.
23 January 2020