YOUNG people in Stanley are giving bad behaviour the red card with a new Friday-night youth project.

Stanley Kicks, run by the Foundation of Light, launches this Friday night with two weekly sessions for different age groups, in a bid to offer young people a positive way to spend their free time.

Footballing hero Kevin Ball visited the project, at North Durham Academy, to show support and meet some of the school’s sporting and academic stars.

He said: “Having somewhere to go on a night for me was brilliant: I can still picture the youth club up the road where I used to live and they would give us a variety of activities to do. The Kicks programme is going to be so important to the young people of Stanley because it’ll give them an opportunity. It’s up to them to embrace it and we hope they’ll come off the streets, come and meet us, come and say hello. Personally I think it’s a fantastic programme for the young people of Stanley and the surrounding areas.”

In 2019, youth-related incidents across Stanley fell by 11 per cent – an improvement that Durham police attribute to tougher enforcement action and better diversion schemes.  

Sergeant Gary Smith, from Stanley Police, said: “Over the last 12 months, we’ve taken tough action against individuals when it needed to be taken.

“But we’ve also seen what a difference it makes when positive alternatives are provided for these kids and how well they have responded to that.

“The Kicks programme is brilliant. It gives young people something positive to do and prevents them from coming into conflict with residents and the police, which is better for everyone in the area.

“Hopefully it will be a huge success and will help with our aim of making Stanley a better and safer place for everyone.”

The project will be free to attend and paid for by a ground-breaking fund that focuses specifically on the Stanley area.

The Stanley Community Fund was put together by County Durham Community Foundation, Stanley Town Council, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Stanley Area Action Partnership and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and has already given out almost £60,000 in grants to 16 local groups. Grants from the fund can be larger amounts and for longer time spans, to make sure projects can really make an impact.

Michelle Cooper, chief executive for County Durham Community Foundation, said: “We’re really delighted to see Stanley Kicks become a reality in bringing better health and well-being to young people in our community. The Stanley Community Fund is giving us the progress we so urgently need to see – putting money to good use by giving it to local people who understand what makes a difference.

“The project is funded for two years and that’s two years when young people in Stanley have something constructive to do on Friday nights. We all know what it’s like to be bored and have no opportunity – it causes trouble – so we’re keen to offer these young people something of value that can shape their lives for the better.”

Additional information

Stanley Kicks is a project that has received funding for 2 years as part of the Stanley Community Fund project. It starts on 31st January with 2 separate sessions planned each week:

  • Session 1 for 8 – 12yrs old at North Durham Academy every Friday from 16:30 to 18:00
  • Session 2 for over 13yrs+ at North Durham Academy every Friday from 18:30 to 20:00

Kicks is a FREE programme for young people to engage in positive, constructive activities. More information on Kicks programme can be found here – https://www.premierleague.com/communities/programmes/community-programmes/pl-kicks

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