Youth football programme aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour to launch in March

From left: Ian Lombardo, police inspector, Katie Critchley, football development manager at Cambridg

From left: Ian Lombardo, police inspector, Katie Critchley, football development manager at Cambridgeshire FA and Christopher Bryden, active communities manager for Freedom Leisure. Picture: CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE - Credit: Archant

A football programme designed to drive young people away from anti-social behaviour is launching in March.

Kickstart is a 26-week football programme supported by the Cambridgeshire Football Association, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Freedom Leisure, where participants will have the opportunity to achieve the FA junior football leaders award.

Delivered by the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation, the sessions are open to boys and girls aged 14-16-years-old and the training will be provided by a qualified FA coach.

Katie Critchley, Cambridgeshire FA football development manager, said: "We are delighted to work in partnership with Fenland police and Freedom Leisure.

"Kickstart injects a £20k investment countywide to encourage young people into sport.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in something positive and away from anti-social behaviour."

The programme will also encompass an FA qualification, coupled with a football club support package for the development of young leaders in the community.

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Participants will have the option to obtain an FA referee qualification and/or an FA Level 1 in coaching football, and once qualified, can sign up to referee matches with local grassroots clubs and coach a grassroots team.

Christopher Bryden, active communities manager for Freedom Leisure, said: "As part of our active communities plan across Fenland, this is an ideal opportunity for young people to get active whilst developing new skills that will stand them in good stead for the future."

Ian Lombardo, police inspector, said: "I'm 100 per cent behind this scheme so much so, I will be volunteering my own time to help out during the sessions as much as I can.

"I hope as many young people as possible take advantage of this opportunity to get fit, make new friends and to do something different on a Friday night."

The Kickstart team is made up of FA coach mentors, Cambridgeshire FA staff and Fenland police officers.

The first session will be held on Friday, February 28 between 8-9pm at the Neale Wade Academy in Wimblington Road, March.

All sessions and qualifications are free, and parents/carers/guardians are welcome to stay and watch.

There is no need to book in advance. For more information, email Katie Crtichley at

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