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Cardiff City FC charity delivers education programmes online

Star player Sol Bamba helps young people look after their physical and mental wellbeing

Cardiff City FC Foundation, the official charity of Cardiff City Football Club, is delivering one of its flagship programmes online to help support teenagers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kicks is the charity’s youth outreach programme that aims to create safer communities and reduce offending by giving young people across South Wales access to free football sessions and opportunities for personal development, as well as workshops on healthy lifestyles and the dangers of violence, drugs and alcohol. The programme provides young people with a safe and trusted environment, often in areas of high need.

As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the charity has pivoted overnight to ensure it can still ‘reach’ young people in their own homes and provide an all-important support network for them. Harnessing technology to provide the Kicks programme online was the first step.

Group call with footballer Sol Bamba

The charity has designed a series of online activities that young people aged 12-19 can enjoy safely from home. These include a mentoring service, group video calls (some of which are joined by Cardiff City first-team players), interactive football and fitness challenges, as well as sessions on healthy living and community safety. Recognising that not all young people have access to devices, it has also delivered hard copy resources and now offers a telephone mentoring service.

Since the national lockdown began, Kicks online has worked with hundreds of yoing people across Cardiff and South Wales. Sol Bamba has joined teenagers from the charity’s Rumney group to talk football and share advice on how to stay positive, be active, and be the best version of themselves during a time of high anxiety for many young people.

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Cardiff City FC Foundation Coach Ben Burns said:

“For a lot of young people, Kicks is essential. It keeps young people out of trouble and gives them a safe environment where they can play football and focus their energy into something positive. We know that young people might find following government guidelines and staying at home challenging, especially if they don’t have safe spaces at home, so we’re proud to provide them with a digital platform to help them stay physically and mentally active during the lockdown.”

Cardiff City FC Foundation Director Gavin Hawkey said:

“Over recent weeks we’ve seen how, even when pitches and stadiums are empty, football can still be used as a tool to inspire and motivate young people. The feedback we’ve had also proves how vital it is that they are kept connected to vital support networks.

“It’s a privilege to have first-team players like Sol Bamba on hand to inspire young people to stay positive, maintain their physical and mental wellbeing and stay safe at this challenging time.”

Sol Bamba said:

“It’s hugely important that young people feel supported during lockdown. I’ve supported the Foundation since I came to the Club so it’s great to be involved with helping young people in the community, especially during a time like this.”

Cardiff City FC Foundation works in partnership with schools and youth groups, and is keen to share resources with other organisations who would like to partner with the charity or learn from its experiences. Any young people who want to get involved with Kicks or finding out more can get in touch at www.cardiffcityfcfoundation.org.uk/digital-kicks.

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