Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney has heaped praise onto Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s PL Kicks delivery, and in particular the positive impact it has on getting kids playing football in a safe and secure environment.
The 22-year-old defender visited St Peters C of E Primary School located on the Bellamy Road estate on Thursday [23rd January], where alongside teammate Willem Tomlinson, he saw first-hand the impact Premier League Kicks can have on youngsters who are able to play a variety of football based games in a safe environment.
The housing estate located just outside Mansfield has a long standing history with Anti-Social behaviour, within the last twelve months 144 incidents of Anti-Social behaviour being reported to the Police according to statics provided by Crime UK.
Mansfield Town Football in the Community are working with St Peters C of E Primary School as part of PL Kicks to not only provide a safe environment for youngsters to play, socialise and develop, but also educate pupils about Anti-Social behaviour – aiming to create a better and safer community.
During the two players’ visit, they took time to sign autographs, pose for photos and join in activities with youngsters, helping to boost confidence and inspire participants to follow a better path – Midfielder Tomlinson, 21, said “I think it’s important for kids to have a safe place to go to, it helps them develop and socialise with the right people.
“Football in the Community through PL Kicks are doing a really good job by giving young kids the opportunity to come here and express themselves when they might not be able to on the streets.”
As well as running after school clubs at a range of schools across the area, Mansfield Town Football in the Community offers a range of FREE sessions to youngsters, including a session open to children in School years 6, 7 and 8 on Monday’s at River Maun Recreation Centre, 5-6pm, and those in years 9, 10 and 11 at the One Call Stadium, every Friday 6-7pm.
Defender Sweeney added “The work the PL Kicks Project is doing across the community to get kids off of the street and into safe environments to play football and do different activities is really good.
“As a professional footballer, you’ve got kids who look up to you – Mansfield Town Football in the Community do a lot of great stuff across the area, the kids really enjoy it so it’s nice for them to see us [players] to come down after training and meet them, get involved and have photos etc – it’s a positive thing they’ll remember and take home”
PL Kicks Coordinator at Mansfield Town Football in the Community Amy Page added, “It was fantastic to see the kids’ faces when Ryan [Sweeney] and Willem [Tomlinson] walked in. It helps to create positive memories and a positive mentality, and has a knock on effect with their peers.
“If they know that there’s a chance to meet the players and play fun, interactive games, they’re more likely to attend rather than do something alternate like hang around the estate and fall into bad crowds.
“PL Kicks is as much about educating youngsters about the dangers of anti-social behaviour, violent crime etc and keeping them safe from it, as it is about playing football and having fun – having the players come along and help inspire them is a massive bonus.
“Kicks is a phenomenal project and one which has a huge impact on the next generation, we’re already seeing at the River Maun [Monday] session people grow socially and develop, and we’re seeing similar things happens elsewhere with volunteering and creating positive, safe places to be.”
To get information on FREE PL Kicks sessions suitable for your children, visit www.tinyurl.com/FITCKICKS to be added to our mailing list. Premier League Kicks sessions are FREE of charge and are running at a range of venues across the area.