Kickz participants

Club partners reward Kickz participants

Invest in Africa back Foundation of Light scheme.

Participants of the Foundation of Light’s Kickz programme were given the opportunity to sample the unique atmosphere of the recent Wear-Tyne derby courtesy of Sunderland AFC’s principal partner and shirt sponsor, Invest in Africa.

The 20 youngsters, who are regular attendees at the Foundation’s outreach centres in Seaburn and Chester-le-Street, include many who have experienced difficult childhoods, have histories of substance misuse or anti-social behaviour issues and have shown tremendous resolve in turning their lives around.

Other recipients of the tickets have been rewarded for facing up to new challenges in their lives, such as gaining qualifications through the Kickz programme, engaging in new projects and mentoring those in similar situations by volunteering with the Foundation of Light.

Ian Corner, Kickz North Coordinator said: “We would like to extend our thanks to Invest in Africa for giving our young people the opportunity to come to the Stadium of Light for what is a fantastic occasion.

“Many of our participants would never get the chance to attend a Sunderland game, let alone see their heroes take on Newcastle United in the Wear-Tyne derby. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a fitting reward for their commendable attitude in the wanting to change their lives for the better.”

William Pollen, Invest in Africa Programme Director said: “Like the Foundation of Light, Invest in Africa is all about generating opportunities which we hope have a positive impact on people and their communities.  It is great to witness the stories of young people who have made the most of the opportunity presented to them through the Kickz programme. We hope that they thoroughly enjoy the match and continue to support the Black Cats and the Foundation of Light programmes in the years to come.”

Invest in Africa is a pioneering not-for-profit business initiative which, through its partnership with Sunderland AFC, is aiming to use the global reach of the Barclays Premier League to show that Africa is open for business, create new business opportunities within the continent and highlight opportunities to companies, including those based in the North East.

Originally developed by the Football Foundation, Metropolitan Police and The Premier League, Kickz uses the power of football to engage with young people through a variety of activities including sports, music, arts and developmental workshops.

With sessions held across the North East the Foundation of Light’s Kickz programme has been responsible for reductions in youth anti-social behaviour of up to 80% in some areas.