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Spotlight On…Ashington Kicks

Ashington Kicks, supported by Arch Homes, is delivered at Hirst Welfare Centre every Friday night and one of nine Premier League Kicks programmes delivered by Newcastle United Foundation. 

Kicks aims to increase playing, coaching and officiating opportunities for young people, break down barriers between young people and the local police, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, encourage volunteering and create routes into education and employment.

Over 1100 contact hours were committed to delivery in Ashington within the first six months of the programme, with the team working with 134 participants.

As part of the programme the young people involved have taken part in tournaments, engaged in Building Bridges workshops and seven people have signed up as volunteers.  Those who have showed real commitment to the programme have also enjoyed a visit to St James’ Park to watch a Premier League match. 

Lee Scott, now a Senior Centre Supervisor at the Hirst Welfare Centre was a previous member of the Kicks coaching team on the Friday evening Kicks session and quickly identified Lewis as a potential volunteer that could progress into a sessional staff member. 

Lewis, from Ashington, has been attending the Premier League Ashington Kicks session since it launched in August 2014.  He was given the opportunity to officiate matches, select teams for competitions and to set up the session before the participants arrival.

Lewis is a great addition to the staff team and has played an instrumental part in the success of the session.  He is a fantastic role model to those regularly attending the session with his progression from participant, to volunteer, to paid member of staff demonstrates the pathway opportunities available, as well as setting a great example. 

On his Kicks experience Lewis Robson said: “Being part of the Kicks project has not only enabled me to develop as a person but also as a coach.  Interacting with all of the players has been very rewarding.  It’s great to see players develop as footballers, and individuals, as well as seeing so many people here with smiles on their faces

“It has enhanced my coaching ability as I am coaching players both younger and older than myself. It’s fantastic that the Newcastle United Foundation and Arch Homes support this project and I feel very privileged to be part of it.”

Connor Lashley, 19 from Ashington added, “I’ve been coming to Kicks for over a year now, it’s free and it’s something to do on a Friday night because there’s nothing else to do round here. I don’t smoke or drink but if I wasn’t here I’d just be sat on the XBOX at home every Friday.

“I’d encourage people to come because it’s a very good session, it’s something to do on a Friday evening and it is great to get involved in the tournaments.  We’ve never lost the in the league once!”

Rob Story, Centre Manager at Hirst Welfare commented: “The Friday night Kicks project here at the Hirst Welfare Centre has been a great success. The project has engaged with sedentary young people from the local community, many of whom are not involved with competitive football or sport and enjoy the informal setup of the Friday night session.

“Many of these individuals are at risk of getting involved in anti-social behaviour in the local area and the session helps to provide an outlet that is shown to improve fitness, wellbeing and also links in with local teams to provide a great pathway to regular competitive opportunities within football.”

For more details on Ashington Kicks email laura.wilson@nufc.co.uk

For more information on how you can get involved
Email foundation@nufc.co.uk

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