The Rochdale AFC Community Trust’s Premier League Kicks initiative has gone from strength to strength since its introduction in November, with almost 250 youngsters from across the Borough now taking part in the free sessions.
Held at five venues across the Rochdale area, Kicks, which is funded by the Premier League Community Foundation, uses the appeal and reach of Rochdale AFC to engage with young people through power of football and sports such as basketball and cricket.
To celebrate its success, the programme was officially launched last week, with Dale striker Calvin Andrew and Councillor Janet Emsley meeting attenders at the Soccer Factory.
Keith Hicks, Head of the Community Trust, said: “Kicks is about delivering a first-class participation programme in the heart of the local community and getting out into five different areas allows us to do that.
“The sessions are about giving young people something to do after school and at night, and we’re delighted that, thanks to this funding, we’re able to give local youngsters the chance to participate in sport in a safe and relaxed environment completely free of charge.
“I’m really pleased that we’re already engaging with nearly 250 youngsters and hopefully these numbers will continue to grow.”
Calvin Andrew took time to learn more about the sessions, answered questions put to him by the youngsters, posed for photos and signed autographs while at the launch.
He commented: “It was great to see so many young people getting involved in these sessions provided by the Community Trust.
“When I was young, we didn’t have facilities like the Soccer Factory or programmes like Kicks where you could just turn up and play football for free thanks to your local professional football club.
“There was a great atmosphere, they were all enjoying themselves and I hope the lads and girls I met will continue to get involved.”
The sessions run at the following venues:
Darnhill Kick Pitch, Heywood: 7pm-8pm every Thursday
Freehold Kick Pitch: 6pm-8pm every Tuesday
Kingsway Park High School: 6pm-8pm every Friday 6pm-8pm
The Soccer Factory: 5pm-7pm every Friday
Wardle Academy: 4pm-6pm every Thursday
There’s no need to book onto any of these events. Simply go on your own or grab a couple of mates and turn up on the day.
For more information contact Keith Hicks on 07958593121.