On Sunday 25 July, bright and early, young people gathered at Hoe Valley school in Woking for what was to be the first Kick Off at 3 initiative in Surrey, led by Surrey Police and [email protected], and partners.
The reason? It was a coming together of over 90 young people between the ages of 12 and 16 who were ready to take part in a friendly football tournament, with the aim of fostering positive community relations between the Police and young people among each other.
The [email protected] initiative, originally set up in the grass roots of London, is a non-profit organisation, grown to establish youth diversion strategies to build lasting relationships between young people and their local police forces. Founders Michael Wallace and Ashley Levien set up the charity with the goal to “inspire, motivate, engage and support young people from all backgrounds through the medium of sport, music and other imaginative ideas.”
The tournament at Hoe Valley School featured Surrey Police volunteers, Local ambassadors, and partners, working together to educate vulnerable youth from criminal activity and violence.
Contributing with engagement on the day for young people was the Surrey Police Positive Action and Recruitment stalls, along with Catch 22, Fearless and the User Voice & Participation group. Notable partners at the event included luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey. The team at McLaren generously donated one of their supercars the McLaren GT for the day as a model for Surrey Police Officers to talk about safe and responsible driving, regardless of what car or vehicle you own.
Attending the event were, Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Alison Barlow, and newly elected Deputy Police and Crime commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson.
Consisting of two playing pitches, the day saw games closely contested in 6-a-side knockout format, officiated by coaches from Chelsea FC Foundation.
As a partner to the event, Chelsea FC Foundation along with four highly skilled, and enthusiastic coaches, engaged and spurred the competitive young people to showcase their sporting talents at the tournament. With extra football activities like ‘Beat the goalie’, the day was nothing short of spectacular.
Concluding with the winning teams in all two age groups, the winners were Meadow Colts for the under U13s and Mayford Lions for the U16s.
Organiser of the event and Woking Borough Commander Dave Bentley said: “This is a brilliant initiative to be partnered with [email protected] and our very own local partners to bring a day of enjoyment and education to vulnerable youth in our local communities.
“The honour of having McLaren Automotive and Chelsea FC Foundation also support our drive to build lasting relationships with our young people is a great initiative which we hope to continue foster in futures to come.
“Following the year, we previously had, this tournament has been a bundle of joy to spectate and witness the talent these young people have when an avenue is available to them, away from opportunities to be involved in negative influences such as anti-social behaviour and organised crime
“We hope this event sparks the beginning of what is to come with our partnership with [email protected], aiming to see less youth violence and crime, and an increase in mental health awareness, physical fitness and inclusion in sports across the Surrey county.
Jonathan Lord, the MP for Woking, said: “I am delighted that this event has been such a huge success and congratulate all participants and all those involved in putting the event on. I hope that this event in Woking will be the first of many. Our Surrey police do an amazing job and it is great to see them taking a leading role in this initiative.”