Sussex Police team up with the Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation
Main article content
Eastbourne’s youngsters have been getting their kicks from free football sessions this summer to help keep them active and occupied.
The Premier League Kicks programme, run by Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation, takes place in various locations across the county and offers a safe space for young people to engage in meaningful activity through the school holidays.
Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation is the official charity of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club. For more than 30 years they have been using the power of football to engage and inspire people to make good life choices and help to reduce inequalities in their local communities in Sussex.
They deliver award-winning educational and outreach programmes that improve people’s wellbeing, support learning, and offer inclusive opportunities for everyone to get active and play football.
Operation Safety, Sussex Police’s dedicated response to knife crime and serious violence, have part-funded the sessions in Eastbourne this summer as part of Operation Valley, the summer operation to combat knife crime. Whilst the operational activity, such as regular patrols, knife arches, and intelligence-led stop searches, is imperative in tackling criminal activity, engagement with the young community is key in diverting from criminality.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Yates, lead for knife crime and serious violence, said: “Engaging with the young people of Sussex is a huge part of our work to tackle knife crime. Joint with partners such as the Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation, we educate people from an early age about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.
“Our officers deliver a variety of activities all year round, such as school lessons and assemblies. Events like the Premier League Kicks programme are a brilliant way to reach our communities during the summer months.”
A range of Sussex Police officers, from PCSOs and Youth Engagement Officers to Assistant Chief Constable Simon Dobinson, have attended the sessions in Eastbourne, refereeing, playing goalie, and cheering from the side-lines, whilst able to chat with young people and give advice.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am pleased to work with Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation - they are a valued partner within my office.
“We know that diversionary and education activities for young people play a crucial part in the reduction of knife crime and other dangerous crimes. Running dynamic programmes like ‘Premier League Kicks’ means many young people can develop a sense of belonging, learn new skills and meet role models and mentors.
“The programme supports the ongoing operational work by Sussex Police in tackling knife crime and ultimately helps to keep Sussex safe.”
Lynsey Hermann, Head of Community Programmes at Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation added: “It’s been wonderful to see such positive engagement, with over 500 young people attending the football sessions over these past few weeks. We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Sussex Police and have already seen that these free, inclusive sessions have had a beneficial impact on the young people in our communities.”