Eight youngsters from Oldham Athletic Community Trusts Kicks project recently had the chance to represent the club in two competitive events organised through the Premier League Kicks project.
The Premier League Kicks project is based in disadvantaged areas and supports Sport England’s aim to take sport to where people are, enabling clubs to work with young people that may have previously been difficult to engage with. Football is the primary focus but the vibrant nature of the programme has enhanced its appeal to young people by offering a multi sports element with more than 35 other sports being delivered.
The two teams that attended both events were a mixture of participants from the Community Trust's Thursday and Saturday night Kicks sessions which are held at St Martins Primary School and The Honeywell Centre in Oldham. The fixtures brought together young people from different areas of Oldham to represent Oldham Athletic together as one team.
The tournament was held at the state of the art Etihad Campus and saw Oldham Athletic face Burnley and Everton in two games. Oldham narrowly lost out in both games losing one nil on each occasion however the team’s performances and conduct on the day was of the highest order.
Squad – Callum Ashton, Terry Brenner, William Greenhalgh, Crawford Nuttall, Jaimie Dalloway, Emdadhul Islam.
At the weekend, Oldham hosted Blackpool in the opening game of the North West Kicks League. The game was played at The Honeywell Centre where two OACT Kicks sessions are also held every week. Despite the horrendous conditions, Oldham came out 18-6 winners, with every outfield member of the team getting on the scoresheet. The North West Kicks League gives participants from Kicks an opportunity to play competitive games against other clubs and gives young people a chance to travel around the country representing both the football club but also their local area.
Squad and goal scorers : Callum Ashton (GK), Terry Brenner x 3, Crawford Nuttall x 6, William Greenhalgh x 4 , Sean Edwards x 1, Ehkram Ahmed x 4.
The two fixtures also saw the official unveiling of a new Kicks partner for OACT as local flooring company Polyflor who has offered their support to the project and become an OACT Kicks partner. The support of Polyflor will help with the costs of participating in the Premier League North West Kicks League for the remainder of the year.
John Mellor, market manager at Polyflor commented: “We are delighted to support this initiative and are proud to be the new Kicks partner. It is great to hear about the young people representing their club and area in such a positive way and hopefully this type of project will help the participants raise self-esteem and confidence. We’re fully behind the Kicks project and the great work that the OACT team undertake to engage with people in all areas of Oldham.”
Martin Vose, OACT Participation Manager commented: “When you factor in transportation costs, facility hire and staffing costs it does come to a significant additional cost to participate in the Kicks League, on top of the nightly Kicks provision we deliver. Thanks to the support of Polyflor we can now continue to offer the young people that attend our Kicks session the chance to experience playing against other Kicks teams and travel around the North West representing both Oldham Athletic and their local area. Without the support of Polyflor this may not have been possible.”
Oldham Athletic Community Trusts Kicks project delivers 9 sessions per week across the borough at various facilities. The project prides itself on using local facilities for local people to use and enjoy.