Brighton & Hove Albion’s charity using football to teach Hastings youngsters important life skills

One of the sessions held in Linley Drive
One of the sessions held in Linley Drive

Brighton & Hove Albion’s official charity has been holding a series of free pop-up sessions for young people in Hastings and St Leonards as part of a programme which uses football to teach important life skills.

Coaches from Albion in the Community (AITC) have been encouraging young people to get active during the school holidays, and promoting the charity’s regular free football sessions which take place each week across the town.

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Pop-up sessions have been held in Linley Drive, at Tilekiln Recreation Ground, Hollington United Football Club, Hastings Academy, and The Firs, with upwards of 200 young people taking part so far this summer.

The pop-up events were organised by AITC as part of the Hastings Opportunity Area (HOA) summer 2019 enrichment programme.

Local councillors Warren Davies and Mike Turner stopped by at one of the Linley Drive sessions to meet some of the young people taking part. Cllr Davies said: “It’s fantastic to have organised summer activities for the kids, which are making the most of the wonderful open spaces in this part of town: safe, well-organised fun.”

The HOA enrichment programme was launched to help broaden the horizons of young people living in the town, to encourage them to be more active, and to help them develop wider skills, such as resilience, teamwork and communication.

AITC has similar ambitions for the young people attending the free weekly football sessions it runs across Sussex as part of a project called Premier League Kicks.

Sessions take place each week at five venues in Hastings and St Leonards and anyone aged seven to 19 is welcome.

Sessions combine free football with mentoring and regular workshops covering subjects like anti-racism, road safety, and substance misuse.

Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, said: “We know that summer holidays can be a challenging time for families, particularly those who perhaps can’t afford expensive days out or holidays abroad. As a charity, we’re delighted to be working with the HOA summer 2019 enrichment programme to provide free activities.

“It is brilliant to see so many young people coming along to our sessions, getting active, making new friends and, most importantly, having fun.”

For more information on AITC’s weekly free football sessions in Hastings and St Leonards, email kicks@albioninthe

community.org.uk.