Aston Villa’s Kicks programme has inspired major league soccer club, Chicago Fire to set up a similar programme stateside. The Chicago club visited Aston Villa in February 2014 and was extremely impressed by Aston Villa’s approach of engaging young people in ‘at risk’ geographic areas in constructive activity. The Chicago delegation was particularly interested in the partnership approach of the initiative, including the work with West Midlands Police.
The programme uses the power of sport to engage youngsters in positive activities breaking down barriers between the community and police to create safer, stronger and more respectful communities. 700 youngsters benefit from the initiative in Birmingham every year. Steve Bridges, Consul General Chicago, noted “Chicago and Premier Skills are a perfect match: a sports-mad metropolis with neighbourhoods where innovative educational programmes can make a real difference.”