Murray hails Kickz project

by Foundation of Light

Sir Bob praises impact of youth project in Derwentside.

Former Sunderland Chairman, Sir Bob Murray went back to his routes recently to see at first-hand the impact of a youth project in Consett, Co. Durham.

Sir Bob, who is the founder and Chair of Trustees for the Foundation of Light, the registered charity of Sunderland AFC, praised the work and success of the family learning and Kickz programme, which was launched in Consett and Stanley last year.

The aim of the programme is to provide a range of sport related activities for 13 to 19-year-olds to develop young people’s potential.

The project has achieved impressive results in the North East and expanded into Derwentside following a new partnership between Derwentside Homes and the Foundation of Light.  The aim of the partnership is to reduce anti-social behaviour, teach youngsters valuable skills and increase their confidence.

The award-winning Kickz programme was originally developed by the Football Foundation, Metropolitan Police and The Premier League and uses the power of football to engage with young people in local communities.

The Foundation has also rolled out its successful Family Learning programme in Derwentside, which offers first steps learning to parents and carers, as well as adult learning courses and qualifications.

Since it was launched in April 2012, over 1,780 youngsters have participated in the Kickz evening, holiday and daytime sessions in schools across the District.  Police have also reported that since May 2012, crime has reduced by 72% in the Consett town centre area.  Over 40 local families have engaged in Family Learning courses in Derwentside since September 2012 and of those, 27 families have fully completed the courses.

Sir Bob said: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact that the Foundation is already having in the Derwentside area.”

“One of the Foundation’s aims is to give people the opportunity to change their lives for the better and the support of organisations such as Derwentside Homes really make this possible by helping us into the heart of communities.”

“I always believe that a huge amount of credit should go to those who take part in the programmes and are willing to give new things a go. It was a real pleasure meeting some of those people today and they are a real inspiration to all of us at the Foundation of Light.”

Derwentside Homes’ chief executive Geraldine Wilcox said: “It was really generous of Sir Bob to come and visit the project and meet the youngsters and families that benefit from these activities. He is an ambassador for the North East and an inspiration to young people.

“Since it was launched, the programme has grown from strength to strength and results demonstrate that through effective partnership working, we can make a difference to the lives of people who live in our communities.

“Young people are the future so it important that we show our commitment by investing in services for them which will have a long lasting impact on a future generation.”

Kickz sessions take place weekly at Derwentside College and The Chill In in Consett and Stanley Youth Centre and St. Stephen’s Church in Stanley. For more information, please call Nichola Butler on 07931 377 714 or email