Football youngsters kick crime into touch

The AITC initiative with Eastbourne youngsters SUS-140309-152603001
The AITC initiative with Eastbourne youngsters SUS-140309-152603001
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Youngsters from Eastbourne took part in a unique football tournament last week as part of an initiative to help reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

More than 150 young people joined in the Regional Summer Kicks Tournament run by Albion in the Community in partnership with Sussex Police and American Express.

The tournament, part of the wider national Premier League Kicks programme, brought together young people from projects across the county. The initiative gives young people between the ages of 13 to 19, in targeted, deprived areas of Sussex, the chance to take part in free weekly football and sport sessions and also provides access to education and training opportunities for those taking part. AITC run weekly sessions in six venues across Eastbourne.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team and American Express volunteers were joined by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Brighton and Hove Albion’s women’s players Jay Blackie, Faye Baker and Kirsty Barton to chat to the young people taking part in the games and present the winning trophies. Volunteers from American Express supported the day by organising and refereeing matches with AITC coaches.

Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, said, “The Kicks programme is all about giving young people the chance to play sport in a supportive, inclusive environment and promoting the values of respect and understanding.

“Today’s event was also the first time we have brought together young people from all of our Kicks projects across Sussex for something on this scale and it was great for them meet each other and take part in such a positive event.”

The Neighbourhood Policing Team hosted workshops and invited participants to sign a pledge to support their White Ribbon campaign, a global initiative to help reduce domestic abuse and violence.