Grant allows game to go on

Cllr Tony Williams, Nick Cunliffe (Kicks Project Coordinator), Jack Shields (Kicks coach) and Cllr Paul Galley
Cllr Tony Williams, Nick Cunliffe (Kicks Project Coordinator), Jack Shields (Kicks coach) and Cllr Paul Galley
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A project which has had great success in encouraging youngsters to play sport rather than go off the rails will be able to continue after being awarded a £2,000 grant.

Football Kicks, run by Blackpool FC’s Community Trust – and which encourages young people between the ages of seven and 20 to play football – runs seven projects across Blackpool.

Our figures show more than 800 people have attended since September

It says the money will allow it to continue its scheme at the Anchorsholme Academy.

“The Football Kicks scheme has been going since 2011 but we only started the centre in Anchorsholme last summer. The initial funding had gone, so this grant will ensure we keep it going,” said Nick Cunliffe, senior involvement officer at the Community Trust.

“What we do is go into areas of Blackpool where the police or youth offending teams might have a few issues and we run this football project six nights a week, all year round. You don’t have to be good at football – it is just about giving kids something to do and making sure they’re not sat on Facebook, or out drinking or taking drugs, and putting them in a positive environment instead.”

The £2,000 grant was awarded to community group Friends of East Pines Park by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, with the aim of helping disadvantaged youngsters stay away from crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Friends chose to give the money to the Football Kicks project, which has been hugely successful in tackling bad behaviour and working with youngsters.

“It is important to continue the sessions in Anchorsholme because you don’t want to turn round to the kids and say ‘sorry but we’re stopping now’,” added Mr Cunliffe.

“We want it to be a long-term thing so it is great that this money will allow us to continue the scheme,

“As well as the football we offer further education opportunities, sporting qualifications and various other rewards.

“It’s been a big success, our figures show more than 800 people have attended our seven centres since September – and we’re proud to be having a positive effect on the lives of youngsters in Blackpool.”

For more information on the Football Kicks project, or to get involved, go to: www.blackpoolfccommunitytrust.co.uk.