Friendly football tournament success in Northampton
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A friendly football tournament involving young people from Northampton and Wellingborough was played last night (September 20) as part of Northamptonshire Police’s week of action.
The tournament was organised by Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust and Premier League Kicks in partnership with the Force and both North and West Northamptonshire Councils.
Young people aged 8-18, from Blackthorn in Northampton and the Hemmingwell in Wellingborough, took part in a number of small sided friendly matches at Northampton Academy. The young people showed positive attitudes, teamwork and were able to show off their football skills with plenty of goals scored.
The tournament formed part of Northamptonshire Police’s week of action against serious violence which has focused on preventative work as well as enforcement operations.
Premier League Kicks is a national programme run via league football clubs which inspires children and young people to achieve their potential and improve their wellbeing - working together to build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Young people attend free weekly informal coaching sessions in different areas across the county as positive diversionary activity. They also take part in educational workshops aimed at raising awareness around crime such as anti-social behaviour, knife crime and gangs.
The tournament was supported by volunteers from all agencies as well as youth outreach workers from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, the Youth Offending Service, PADS and CIRV, Off the Streets and Aquarius, who all engaged with the young people around issues of gang violence, knife crime and personal safety during the refreshment breaks and downtime.
Chief Inspector James Willis who is leading Northamptonshire Police’s week of action, said: “It was great to see so many agencies and groups coming together to channel the energy of these young people into something so positive.
“Our work in tackling serious violence is not just about arresting and enforcing but to also work with people from a young age and educate them on the dangers of getting involved in violent culture and to provide pathways to better opportunities.”
Cllr David Smith, WNC’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, said: “The power of football is underrated – it brings people together; no matter what background or where they’re from – when you come on the football pitch, you pass the ball and you’re part of a team instantly.
“I am pleased that WNC has been involved in this important partnership initiative to help tackle serious violence and break down the barriers between young people and the local authorities.
“It’s fantastic to see young people engaging in something positive and I look forward to seeing more of these projects happen in our communities in the future.”
Anna Letts, Inclusion Officer and Premier League Kicks Co-ordinator for NTFC Community Trust, said: “The young people really look forward to any tournaments coming up and by mixing the two groups up, they get to meet people from different ages, backgrounds and areas.
“They love their football and turn up week in week out to improve their football and personal skills. A big thanks to trust community coaches and staff Mark Seymour, Paul Saunders and Joe Dillon who ran the football side. These staff are key in creating and maintaining positive relationships with the young people and encouraging positive behaviours.
“I would also like to thank our partners for helping fund this event as well as for their crime prevention input and helping to staff the football matches. Our participants enjoy seeing local police at their sessions and react well to their presence which helps the community in general - they know what to do to report crime and how to keep themselves safe.”