Kickz Awards 2013 Reviewed
BFC Community Trust and 'What's Your Goal' work experience participant Josh Ilan visited Stamford Bridge on Tuesday for the annual Kickz awards
Edgar Davids and Mauro Vilhete attended the annual Kickz awards on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge. A group of 16 of us - which consisted of Kickz and Barnet FC Community Trust staff, Kickz participants and former Barnet midfielder Sam Cox – attended the event.
Founded in 2006, Kickz has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years. In the words of Fernando Reis (pictured), a regular attendee of Barnet’s Kickz programme, it provides young people with “something positive to do with their time.” Over 68,000 young people across the country participate in the scheme, with 7,775 volunteers from 46 professional clubs helping to make the project as successful as it is.
Lunch was followed by a tour of Stamford Bridge prior to the awards ceremony. Hosted by BBC 5Live presenter Mark Chapman, it featured a number of presentations in-between the awards, such as up-and-coming musicians and performances from Kickz graduates.
Halfway through the ceremony, I went to reception to meet two representatives from Barnet FC, who were there to present an award. The two people in question were young winger Mauro Vilhete and Head Coach Edgar Davids.
Vilhete shows the success of the Kickz project with him having come through the scheme. He started going to Kickz sessions in 2008, and after a few years, he was asked to join the Club’s Academy. He is now part of Barnet's first-team squad.
They were presenting the “Inspiring Young Person” award, with each of the 46 clubs involved having a respective winner. Vilhete read out the names of everyone who won an award while Edgar Davids posed for photos with all the winners. The award winner for Barnet FC Community Trust was Fernando Reis.
Vilhete later spoke of his time at Kickz: “I enjoyed it. We mainly played football, but we also attended workshops, which were on things like knife and gun crime.”
He and fellow Kickz graduate Sam Cox still get involved with the scheme today. “When I can, I go down. I even play with them when I can. It’s good fun”, said Vilhete.
The Awards ended at 4pm. It was the end of a great day, in which a number of people were rewarded for all their hard work and efforts.
Kickz has changed the lives of many young people in England today. The effects can be seen across the country at all the clubs. Oliver Mboge, one of the Barnet FC Community Trust's coaches, said, “It gets people on the ladder to success. I started from no qualifications and I can now inspire younger people to do what I do through Kickz.”
When I asked Mauro what effect Kickz had on his life, he said: “A big one. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be here.”