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Pro footballers will coach boys and girls from January

November 26, 2009: Bookham's youngsters are to get their chance to benefit from professional football and other coaching from next January, the Bugle can reveal.

Mole Valley Housing Association will kick off the new scheme, the Cup Final Project, on December 1 at the Bookham Youth and Community Centre at 6pm for the eight to 12 year olds and 6.45pm for the 12-16 year age group. The Bugle understands the first coaching sessions by professionals from Brighton & Hove Albion FCwill take place at Lower Road recreation ground on January 12.

The scheme is related to the Kickz programme. Launched in April 2006 by then prime minister Tony Blair, Kickz is a joint initiative between the football industry and the police, supported by the government's Respect Task Force, the Russell Commission and 'V', the youth volunteering charity. But unlike Kickz, which is open to the 12 to 16 age group, the Cup Final Project will also take in the eight to 12 age group.

Nearly 40 professional football clubs from the Premier League and Football League are delivering 110 Kickz projects in partnership with the Police and local authorities across the country. The Kickz idea is to use the power of football to ‘build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young people’s potential’, says the Football Foundation.

Three nights a week, all year round, Kickz delivers a variety of activities, including football and other sports, music, arts and developmental workshops on issues ranging from healthy lifestyles to the dangers of carrying weapons.

The foundation says Kickz projects have contributed to drops in anti-social behaviour of up to 60% and helped equip the next generation with key employable skills which they otherwise would not have had. "Kickz is so effective because it uses the power of professional football clubs’ brands and because the sessions take place in the estates themselves and at the times when there is effectively no provision for young people."

Over 90% of Kickz projects include activities on a Friday or Saturday night, whereas just 4% of local authority provision for young people takes place on a Friday or Saturday night, and less than 1% on a Saturday night.

Kickz has over 30,000 registered participants aged 12-18 living in tough areas with high rates of anti-social behaviour. Kickz has helped tackle knife crime by persuading thousands of youngsters to sign up to a campaign urge people not to carry knives.

In October the Kickz Awards took place at Wembley Stadium, where key figures in football, music and politics, such as Tottenham Hotspur’s Tom Huddlestone, music act Kid British, Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe MP and Schools Minister Vernon Coaker MP paid tribute to inspirational teenagers, professional football club coaches, police and local authority staff who have gone over and above the call of duty to make their communities safer and transform young peoples’ lives.

To find out more about Kickz, go to the Kickz questions page.

The MVHA event at the youth and community centre is free and open to all young residents but they and their parents or guardians must fill in a form and bring it on the day of coaching. The form is a 'model release' which allows photographers to take photographs of the youngsters for promotion and commercial purposes.

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