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Albion in the Community (AITC) held a series of free pop-up football sessions for young people in Hastings and St Leonards as part of a programme which uses football to teach important life skills.

Coaches from AITC  were out in force encouraging young people to get active during the school holidays and promoting the charity’s regular free football sessions which take place each week at venues across the town.

Pop-up sessions were held in Linley Drive, at Tilekiln Recreation Ground,...

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Free pop-up football sessions from Albion in the Community

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Albion in the Community (AITC) held a series of free pop-up football sessions for young people in Hastings and St Leonards as part of a programme which uses football to teach important life skills.

Coaches from AITC  were out in force encouraging young people to get active during the school holidays and promoting the charity’s regular free football sessions which take place each week at venues across the town.

Pop-up sessions were held in Linley Drive, at Tilekiln Recreation Ground, Hollington United Football Club, Hastings Academy, and The Firs, with upwards of 200 young people taking part.

Research shows around 35% of school-age children in Hastings and St Leonards are active for less than 30 minutes each day outside of school, while 63% are not hitting half an hour of activity during the school day.

The pop-up events were organised by AITC as part of the Hastings Opportunity Area summer 2019 enrichment programme, and local councillors Warren Davies and Mike Turner stopped by at one of the Linley Drive sessions to meet some of the young people taking part.

Cllr Davies was certainly impressed. He said: “It’s fantastic to have organised summer activities for the kids, which are making the most of the wonderful open spaces in this part of town: safe, well-organised fun.”

The Hastings Opportunity Area enrichment programme was launched to help broaden the horizons of young people living in the town, to encourage them to be more active, and to help them develop wider skills, such as resilience, teamwork and communication.

AITC has similar ambitions for the young people attending the free weekly football sessions it runs across Sussex as part of a project called Premier League Kicks, hence the collaboration between the charity and the Hastings Opportunity Area enrichment programme.

Premier League Kicks sessions take place each week at five venues in Hastings and St Leonards and anyone aged seven to 19 is welcome. Sessions combine free football with mentoring and regular workshops covering subjects like anti-racism, road safety, and substance misuse.

The charity also arranged for young people attending pop-up sessions during the holidays to visit the American Express Community Stadium – home of Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion – for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, said: “We know that summer holidays can be a challenging time for families, particularly those who perhaps can’t afford expensive days out or holidays abroad. As a charity, we were delighted to work with the Hastings Opportunity Area summer 2019 enrichment programme to provide free activities.

“It was brilliant to see so many young people coming along to our sessions, getting active, making new friends and, most importantly, having fun.”

For more information on AITC’s weekly free football sessions in Hastings and St Leonards, email: kicks@albioninthecommunity.org.uk.