Young people from Hastings took part in a unique football tournament last week as part of an initiative to help reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
They joined more than 150 teenagers from across Sussex at the Regional Summer Kicks tournament at Brighton’s Preston Park run by Albion in the Community (AITC) in partnership with Sussex Police and American Express.
The tournament was part of the wider national Premier League Kicks programme run locally by AITC. The initiative gives young people between the ages of 13 to 19, in targeted, deprived areas of Sussex, the chance to take part in free weekly football and sport sessions and also provides access to education and training opportunities for those taking part. The project runs four different weekly sessions in Hastings and St Leonards.
The Neighbourhood Policing Team and American Express volunteers were joined by Sussex Police and police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne and Brighton & Hove Albion’s women’s players Jay Blackie, Faye Baker and Kirsty Barton to chat to the young people taking part in the games and present the winning trophies.
Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, said: “The Kicks programme is all about giving young people the chance to play sport in a supportive, inclusive environment and promoting the values of respect and understanding. The event was a great example of that and was a major success thanks to the support of police and American Express. It was also the first time we have brought together young people from all of our Kicks projects across Sussex for something on this scale and it was great for them to meet each other and take part in such a positive event.”
Mrs Bourne said: “I am pleased to support Albion in the Community and the important work it is doing with the help of Sussex Police to educate young people through football and sport. I recently awarded grants from my Safer in Sussex Community Fund to support the Kicks initiative.”