Swans Foundation's Premier League Kicks programme helps tackle anti-social behaviour in Blaenymaes

10th July

Swansea City AFC Foundation's Premier League Kicks project has been hailed as a "game changer" after having a positive impact in the community of Blaenymaes.

Premier League Kicks is a national programme that uses the power of football and sport to regularly engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and personal development – providing a trusted, positive influence in high-need areas.

The Foundation delivered free weekly football sessions for children aged 8 to 18 to almost 3,000 participants across south west Wales and beyond during the 2022-23 campaign year, as revealed in the Foundation’s latest impact report.

Across the Foundation’s 837 sessions, there were over 21,000 attendances, with 96 per cent of participants’ parents believing the programme had made a positive impact in their local community.

Some 83 per cent of parents agreed that attending the sessions had improved their child's mental wellbeing, while 73 per cent believed their child's behaviour had improved.

And one area that has been positively impacted by the Premier League Kicks project is Blaenymaes. The Foundation began working in Blaenymaes in the summer of 2022, with local police reporting just under 20 occurrences of anti-social behaviour a month.

“It’s great to be hearing some of the positive feedback from parents, participants and other partner organisations,” said Beth Robinson, targeted interventions manager at Swansea City Foundation.

“Whether it be young people socialising with new people, practicing some of their soft skills like teamwork and communication and having access to free food and physical activity.”

Following the introduction of Kicks to the area, the instances of anti-social behaviour decreased, falling below 10 within the first month of the project commencing, and not rising back to the previous figure at any point.

The Foundation also supported the local area through the ‘Fit and Fed’ programme - funded by Street Games - which provided a football session for young people and a free meal during school holidays.

Sam Etheridge is Pobl’s Community Development Facilitator in Blaenymaes and has supported Premier League Kicks, as well as using it as an opportunity to support the young people involved in the programme.

Etheridge believes Kicks has made a huge difference for the young participants, particularly in terms of providing wider opportunities.

“I think it’s been a real game changer for the community,” said Etheridge.

“It helps that they have the Multi Use Games Area as a space to use, not just during Kicks but at any time.

“We’ve noticed that the kids are not just coming along for the football sessions, but because they want to be part of it socially because it's their community.

“For the kids to have that link to the Swans, it’s brilliant for them, and they are given opportunities through that to go to tournaments and take part in the other provisions put on by the Foundation.

“We’ve seen behavioural changes and friendships being formed, and it gives us a chance to speak to the kids about the challenges in their lives."

Steve Evans is a local PCSO in Blaenymaes, and highlighted the importance of the relationship the Foundation has with the neighbourhood policing team.

“It’s a physical presence in the community, people just come to hang out,” said Evans. 

"They know someone from the local neighbourhood policing team will be there, and they feel they have that opportunity to just come and ask questions that they wouldn’t if they felt they were approaching the police.

“We have challenges with behaviour, but that’s what it’s there for, and we can explain why it’s not acceptable.

“It’s benefited the local community because it’s something they can see; they can see young people behaving the way they should be behaving.

“It’s reduced anti-social behaviour in the streets, so our presence has helped that to decrease.”