Manchester City’s ground breaking Kickz project received two awards at a high profile ceremony held at Wembley Stadium last week.
At the first ever Kickz awards, the club’s project won both the Team Achievement Award and overall Club Achievement award in recognition of the scheme, which is managed by the club’s registered charity City in the Community (CITC).
Key figures from the world of football, sports and politics joined 200 young people from across the country at the awards which were hosted by BBC Sport presenter Ray Stubbs – the event opened with a performance from MC’s from the MCFC project.
MCFC were presented with the Club Achievement Award from Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker in recognition of the impact of the clubs two schemes, which have worked with over 650 young people, helping over 100 young people to gain accredited qualifications, take part in volunteering or gone onto gain employment.
Mr Coaker said: “Kickz shows that football and other sports can be a catalyst for positive change. I hope and expect people will learn from the standard set by the outstanding winners.”
Manchester City has been involved in Kickz since August 2006, running sessions for 13-18 year olds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at the Platt Lane Leisure Complex in Fallowfield. Up to 200 young people a week are given the opportunity to play football, work out in the gym, take part in MCing and DJing workshops and complete qualifications.
And in June 2007 CITC launched its second Kickz project based at the Barclays Spaces for Sport, Sporting Edge sports centre in Openshaw with funding from Connexions, Manchester.
The club also won the ‘Team Achievement’ Award for the work it has done in partnership with the Hideaway Youth project to reduce racial tension among young people in the Moss Side and Fallowfield areas of Manchester.
Alex Williams MBE, who manages CITC said: “The club are rightly proud of the Kickz project and these awards are a great way of recognising the hard work of everyone involved from the young people and staff, to partners such as Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police.”
Fallowfield Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Gilbride said: "We're proud to be involved in the Kickz project here in Fallowfield. Anti-social behaviour, youth nuisance and criminal damage can make residents life a misery and is something the police take extremely seriously.
“Thanks to Manchester City young people are able to get involved in diversionary activities instead of them hanging around on the streets and we are pleased to support them."
Manchester Labour Euro MP Arlene McCarthy who was present at the awards and has helped CITC secure additional funding for Kickz said: “It’s now official; City in the Community’s Kickz project is the best in Britain! I have seen at firsthand how hard the team work with young people in the community and they really deserved this recognition.”
For more information about Kickz at Manchester City please contact CITC on 0161 438 7711 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.