Young footie fans give graffiti a Kickz

Youngsters help clean up graffiti from the Sports Barn, in Victory Road, Blackpool. Below: Nick Cunliffe.

Youngsters help clean up graffiti from the Sports Barn, in Victory Road, Blackpool. Below: Nick Cunliffe.

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YOUNG football fans have come together to help combat the scourge of graffiti at a sports facility in their neighbourhood.

Ten teenagers picked up their paintbrushes in a bid to eradicate past vandalism at the Sports Barn, Victory Road, Blackpool.

Nick Cunliffe

Nick Cunliffe

The teens took part in the clean-up as part of Blackpool FC’s Kickz project, a scheme which aims to tackle youth crime and anti-social behaviour through the mediums of football and education.

Kickz manager Nick Cunliffe, who heads up the project, said: “It’s not just all about giving kids football sessions.

“They get a lot of things for free and part of the deal is we say they’ve got to give a little bit back to the community too.

“They did a great job and it went better than expected, we weren’t sure how it was going to go because you’re never sure about mixing kids and paint, but we’re very proud of what they’ve achieved and they should be proud too.”

The youngsters who helped with the restoration have been rewarded with free tickets to Blackpool matches.

Mr Cunliffe added: “There was a sense of accomplishment afterwards.

“There was a bit of apprehension at first but by the time we were nearly finished they thought it had gone really quickly.

“That’s hopefully just the first stage because we want to take it further now and paint the rest of the facility.”

Kickz has been running in Blackpool since last year and boasts around 270 regular members across two sites.

The restoration of the Sports Barn is the first such project to have been undertaken at the facility, following on from the voluntary clean up of the Revoe playing area by the young people involved in the Revoe Park branch of the Kickz project.

The project is free for all 12 to 18-year-olds who are interested.

Sessions run from 6pm to 9pm every Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings.

They are held simultaneously at Revoe Park on Lune Grove, Blackpool, and at the Sports Barn on Victory Road, in the resort.

For further information contact the Mr Cunliffe on (01253) 348691.

Alternatively people can e-mail nickct@blackpoolfc.co.uk.