Scheme marked with memorial match

by Foundation of Light

Game organised in memory of founders.

A County Durham programme, which has helped reduce anti-social behaviour by more than 70 per cent, has celebrated its second birthday with a special football match in memory of one of its founders.

The Kicks project, run in partnership between SAFC’s official charity the Foundation of Light and Derwentside Homes, offers young people aged 13 to 19 the chance to take part in a range of free football-based activities at outreach centres in Consett and Stanley. 

Since its launch in 2012 the project has helped more than 2000 teenagers, coinciding with a 72 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour in and around Consett town centre. 

To celebrate participants from the Derwentside Kicks programme took part in a special football match against members of a similar scheme, based in Manchester.

The game, played at Consett AFC’s home ground, also served as a tribute to former Derwentside Homes employee and Manchester United fan Susan Gowland, who was instrumental in setting up the County Durham programme and lost her battle with cancer in 2013. 

Susan’s husband Graham was at the match and presented the winning team, Manchester United, will a special commemorative trophy. 

Derwentside Homes’ chief executive Geraldine Kay said: “Investing in young people is a key part of improving communities and making a real difference in the lives of those who live there.

“In the last two years the Kicks programme has gone from strength to strength and this game was the ideal way to honour that and pay tribute to Susan who is sadly missed.”

The award-winning Kicks initiative was launched nationally by the Football Foundation, Metropolitan Police and the Premier League to engage with young people through the power of football. 

The Derwentside scheme is one of several being run across the North East by the Foundation of Light, which offers a range of sport and education-based programmes benefiting more than 42,000 young people and families every year.

Mark Pae, Head of Outreach North Durham for the Foundation of Light said: “Everyone who has taken part in the Kicks programme so far has commented on how much it has not only given them an outlet but helped improve their teamwork and social skills.

“We’re extremely proud of what has been achieved so far and look forward to similar successes in the months and years ahead.”

For more information about the Kicks scheme in Derwentside please contact Mark Pae on 07931377714 or

You can also find out more about the full range of programmes on offer form the Foundation of Light at or by following SAFCFol on Twitter.