Youngsters urged to choose football over a life of trouble

KICKZ members on Revoe Park.
KICKZ members on Revoe Park.
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A pioneering project aimed at reducing anti social behaviour is being rolled out in Blackpool.

Neighbourhood Policing teams are getting involved in the ‘Kickz’ project that encourages youngsters to engage in football instead of anti social behaviour.

The project set up by the Premier League and Metropolitan Police has been run successfully in other parts of the country and is now coming to Blackpool’s Mereside estate.

Officers submitted an application for the scheme with help from Blackpool Council, NHS Blackpool, Blackpool Youth Services, Mereside Primary and Blackpool FC.

Kickz gives children, aged between 12 and 18, the chance to play football, learn how to coach and officiate in the game, while breaking down barriers between the police and young people.

Other towns where the scheme has been run have seen a reduction in crime and anti- social behaviour, it is claimed.

The project will run two nights per week on the days police identify as having the most incidents of anti-social behaviour.

The Blackpool FC Community Trust in partnership with Lancashire police will be staging Kickz sessions every Thursday and Friday night, between 6pm and 9pm on the Mereside Primary all-purpose sports pitch.

There will also be a session tailored uniquely for school years Four, Five and Six between 6pm and 7pm followed by a 7pm to 9pm slot for those aged 12 to 19.

Sgt Philip McVicar, of Blackpool Police, said: “In other areas the Kickz programme has proven to be really successful in reducing anti-social behaviour and we’re hoping it will have the same effect on the Mereside estate with the help of all our partner agencies.

“Most of the time youngsters only get involved in trouble because they say there’s nothing else to do so we’re hoping that by getting them involved in playing football and coaching it will give them something to do.”

For more information call Lancashire Police on 101.