CHELSEA FOUNDATION WINS TWO KICKZ AWARDS
Paulo Ferreira handed out an award at Stamford Bridge earlier this week as the stadium hosted the annual Kickz Awards.
Two participants from the Chelsea Foundation's Kickz programme were given awards for their outstanding contributions to the scheme. Ferreira handed Kane Lewis the Football Achievement Award while Carlos Husbands won the Outstanding Police Contribution Award.
Kickz began as a pilot project in London between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police in 2006, with the aim of using football to bring communities together and engage with young people. The vision was to build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young peoples' potential.
'This is a really important programme,' said the Portuguese defender. 'It gives young people the opportunity to improve their chances in the world through the power of football. It encourages these youngsters to learn life skills including responsibility and teamwork.'
The first award for the Chelsea Foundation was won by Carlos, who was given the Outstanding Police Contribution Award for his work as a PCSO in Kensington and Chelsea.
Carlos is a unique PCSO because he patrols the area where he grew up in the north of Kensington and Chelsea with the aim of building a better relationship between the police and the local community.
Carlos has been a PCSO in the area since 2009 and has since recommended numerous young people attend the Chelsea Foundation's Kickz sessions in the area. In the last three years, Carlos has referred more than 50 individuals into the programme.
During his time as a PCSO, Carlos began working with a specific group of offenders or individuals known to the Police on a Friday night in order to divert them from criminal activity. Sessions were conducted by Carlos in his own time and proved successful in reducing reoffending rates by attracting more than 20 young people a week.
Unfortunately, funding for the sessions dried up and so Carlos approached the Chelsea Foundation and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It was down to his diligence that funding was secured to complete education and accredited activity with the young people. The Chelsea Foundation, through the Kickz project, helped provide pitches, equipment and coaches. Today the session still attracts more than 20 young people aged between 14 and 18 on a weekly basis.
'Carlos' input in identifying and enticing these young people to the project has been vital in making it such a success and gives them a chance to make a positive impact within their community,' said the Chelsea Foundation's Kickz Officer Gareth Davies.
The second award won by a member of the Chelsea Foundation's Kickz programme was the Football Achievement Award, which was handed to Kane Lewis from Kensington and Chelsea.
Kane had never played formal sport before joining the Chelsea Foundation's Kickz project in 2010. He was one of the youngest participants in the programme but soon demonstrated great leadership qualities.
Since 2010, Kane has attended nearly every Kickz session in his area and has grown hugely as a footballer. He was always eager to improve his technique and skills and worked tirelessly on his ball control and was soon asked to represent Kensington and Chelsea in the London Youth Games.
It was then, during those training sessions, that Brentford Football Club spotted him and immediately signed him on a two-year scholarship.
'It's good. It gets people that are on the road normally,' said the youngster. 'It's somewhere to go and train and have fun.
'Before Kickz I'd just go out and play socially in the parks with my mates but then when my friend Rees brought me to Kickz that's when I started attending every meeting and progressing with my football. It's definitely kept me on the straight and narrow.'
Kane is still very much focused on his goal to be a professional footballer, and strives to be a role model for the other participants at Kickz. Kane can be seen showing some of the younger participants skills, or be seen discussing tactical situations with some of the older participants. His behaviour and role at Kickz has subsequently led him to be a role model at his school Chelsea academy.
'Kane has achieved so much over the last year and I can't think of anyone who deserves this award more than him,' said George Bournous, head coach for the Kensington and Chelsea Kickz programme. 'I believe that if Kane continues the way he is going then someday we'll see him on the TV making a match winning tackle.'
The Chelsea FC Foundation runs six Kickz projects across four boroughs, totalling 15 sessions a week. These boroughs are Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Wandsworth. In total, the Chelsea FC Foundation works with 450 young people per week.
The growth of Kickz has been phenomenal and today 42 Premier League and Football League clubs run a combined 112 projects across England, with 45,000 kids engaged in their local community in just one year and 85,000 personal outcomes achieved overall, including 5,500 educational qualifications.