A total of 28 participants from local Premier League Kicks sessions were invited to celebrate the relaunch during Doncaster Rovers’ last home game against Burton Albion.
All those involved were present at the Keepmoat Stadium to celebrate the commitment from the Premier League to fund the community programme for another three years. This investment will enable more than 175,000 young people to access Premier League Kicks sessions across England and Wales by 2022.
Before Rovers’ entertaining 2-2 draw with Burton Albion, the Kicks participants were treated to a unique match day experience, including a stadium tour, skill challenges and flag-bearing whilst the players walked out onto the pitch.
At half-time, the participants were invited back onto the pitch to take penalties against Rovers mascot Donny Dog, before celebrating in front of the black band stand.
Jo Evans, parent of participants Oliver, said: “I just wanted to say a big thank you to the Kicks staff for inviting Oliver along to the match day experience on Saturday.
“It was a fantastic experience for all the kids and parents. Oliver had the most amazing day; he loved every single minute of it.”
Premier League Kicks gives young people access to free football sessions, sports sessions and workshops, providing them with opportunities, support and pathways to achieve their full potential. It sees club community staff working closely with young people and authorities in their local area to create stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Aimed at eight-to-18-year-olds, Kicks engages young people in positive activities through their passion for football, whilst also addressing topics covering everything from equality and inclusion to youth violence and knife crime.
Premier League support will see the programme grow so that 90 Premier League, EFL and National League clubs are able to deliver sport and education sessions in hundreds of local communities where projects are needed most. With a focus on integration, equality and inclusion, thousands more girls will be engaged, and clubs will deliver ever more inclusive sessions.
The Foundation has been running Premier League Kicks sessions for the past seven years and encourages nearly 1000 participants to take part in positive activity each year.
Mark Cooper, sport development officer at the Foundation, said: “Our Kicks programme has allowed us to engage with young people in hard to reach areas across Doncaster.
“This Kicks relaunch went really well. The amount of positive feedback we have had from parents and from the Kicks participants is fantastic. We look forward to the next three years of sessions.”
Premier League executive director Bill Bush said: “The Premier League Kicks programme has been running successfully through our clubs and many across the EFL for thirteen years. To show our commitment to young people and communities, we are investing further to ensure its continuation for another three years, until 2022.
“Kicks is our flagship community programme and we are pleased that with the support of clubs and partners across the country, not least the police, we can continue to positively impact young people, providing them with opportunities and pathways that they may not have been able to access. Twenty per cent of current Premier League Kicks staff are former participants or volunteers, which goes to show how a long-term commitment can provide support and pathways for young people to better themselves, in turn allowing them to be a positive influence to others growing up in their community.”
The next three years of the programme will also see more targeted provision for young people requiring extra support. Working in partnership with Children in Need, 48 professional football clubs will provide mentorship and guidance to young people, inspiring them to realise their potential.
To find out more about Premier League Kicks or to find a local session, head to: www.clubdoncasterfoundation.co.uk
More information on the national PL Kicks programme and its objectives can be found at: https://www.premierleague.com/communities/programmes/community-programmes/pl-kicks