Kick Off@3 football event scores a success in fight against youth violence
PUBLISHED: 12:32 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 04 May 2019
Striking Places Limited
Two teams of Suffolk's footballing teens are heading to the national finals of a new tournament run by a group teaching young people about the devastation of violent crime.
Around 150 teenagers took part in Suffolk's KickOff@3, a competition backed by charities and services dedicated to supporting the county's youth at Whitton sports centre in Ipswich.
Families, friends and teachers cheered Farlingaye FC and Young Ballers to victory, with the teams now going on to the finals in London on Sunday, July 7.
The event saw a 'Circle of Silence', where everyone linked arms and held a minute's silence in memory of individuals nationally and locally who have lost their lives to knife or gun crime.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tim Passmore said: “This was a truly fantastic occasion. To see so many youngsters enjoying themselves during the tournament was a real pleasure and I was delighted to attend and financially support the event.
“I've always believed sport can be used to help young people make the right choices in life whatever the circumstances and this occasion was no exception.
“The fact that so many people and organisations were involved shows what can be achieved by working together – in spite of the gale force wind and rain.
“The 'Circle of Silence' was a poignant moment when we were all able to reflect on the devastating consequences knife crime has in society.”
Ipswich mayor Jane Riley, county council chief Nicola Beech, and ex-Town player Laura Bird, ambassador for a charity teaching people how to overcome mental health issues, also came to the tournament.
The day was supported by the Suffolk FA, Catch 22 Suffolk Positive Futures, Suffolk Constabulary, the PCC, YMCA Trinity Group, Co-op Secure Response, the Royal Air Force and district and borough councils.
Farlingaye FC, who won the 13-14 years tournament with Jack Bye, Harvey Zefi, Arthur Noble, Jonathan Shannon, Finn Bell, Josh Moore, Regan King, play together as part of the school team and Woodbridge FC.
“The team was delighted to have won the tournament, having only found out the afternoon before and getting seven players together at short notice,” they said.
“We are all so excited to go to London and represent Farlingaye FC”.
Young Ballers Football Club – a team was made up of pupils of four Ipswich high schools and five nationalities - won the 15-16 years tournament.
Michael Wallace, co-founder of Kick Off@3, said: “I was humbled by the great success of our initiative, being delivered in Ipswich for the very first time.
“It was fantastic to support the empowering work of the YMCA Trinity charity, whilst witnessing young people attend our collaborative community event from a diversity of backgrounds.
“Since Ashley Levien and I created our initiative nationally in 2017, we wish to leave a legacy in our work.
“I believe we have certainly achieved that in Ipswich, after receiving positive feedback from the community. We look forward to returning in 2020.”
The day also raised money for the YMCA Trinity Group, which delivers youth services for 9-to-18 year olds in Ipswich, including housing, health, employability programmes and volunteering.
Fiona Radnor, YMCA Trinity Group Programme Manager in the east, said: “The event was a great success. Not only was it lots of fun, it raised vital funds for YMCA Trinity Group, which will be used to help fund our youth services currently delivered in Ipswich.
“We are extremely grateful to KickOff@3 for all their support.”