In August 2022, BAE Systems and the Kent FA joined forces to remove barriers to playing football for 16-to-18-year-olds in Medway who may not be able to commit to a club.
Together, we created new, free, weekly kickabout sessions, delivered by Anchorians FC. The sessions started on Friday, 7 October 2022, and ran for a 10-week period, which saw increasing player numbers as the weeks progressed. The young people attending were also able to enjoy hot food at the end of each session.
So, what impact did the sessions have on the players themselves?
One regular player, Antonio, said:
“I have really enjoyed everything I have done in the sessions: dribbling, passing, shooting, defending, and I particularly enjoyed practising shooting, as I got to practice scoring lots of goals. Unfortunately, I cannot commit to playing for a club regularly, so this meant I could continue playing the game in a safe environment. When the sessions come back next year, I will definitely participate in them again.”
The coach of these weekly sessions, James Harrison, Anchorians’ community manager & BAE Systems’ kickabout coach, commented:
“As a community club, the initiative has been brilliant for us. It has provided us with a platform where we can help get people into football that perhaps weren’t playing before. By doing this, we have been able to branch out to a whole different group of players, providing a platform where they can come and play, have a bit of fun and learn new skills. We feel privileged to deliver the sessions and give back to the local community with this fantastic initiative. We look forward to restarting the sessions in 2023.”
Volunteers, like Luke Dutton from BAE Systems in Rochester, helped facilitate the sessions:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and had a great time. Coaching young people with varied footballing experience made for an exciting challenge. I think everyone who attended appreciated the atmosphere we created and benefitted in some way. Ultimately, I believe the sessions are of great value to the local community, and I look forward to helping out again when they restart next year.”
Given the success of the trial, the programme will relaunch in April 2023 at Anchorians FC. If you want to register your interest or find out more, please contact Toby Elgar, Football Development Officer (Youth & Mini Soccer), at Development@KentFA.com