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KickOff@3 to encourage youth at tournament

SUPPORT: Colin Salmon

YOUNG FOOTBALLERS from across the UK are taking part in the KickOff@3 Daniel De-Gale Football Tournament' in London this weekend.

Twenty-two teams from across the UK will be taking part in an all-day seven-a-side football competition on Sunday, 7 July at The Warren, the Met's Sports Ground in Hayes.

This year they will be joined by actor Colin Salmon who joins a growing number of people who recognise the work being carried out by the KickOff@3 team. The team provide access to mentoring and support programmes which extend far beyond the time spent on the football pitch.

More than 200 players from London, Durham, Belfast, Suffolk, Essex, Cheshire, Bedfordshire and Wiltshire will take part.

Family, friends and senior police officers from the Constabularies and the Metropolitan Police Service will attend to support the competitors. They will also be joined by guest Premier League referee, Roger East who will referee at the event. The Kids in Crisis charity have donated funds to provide food for the players.

Other supporters include, the Met’s Black Police Association (MetBPA) along with the National Black Police Association (NBPA), Captain William Dole of the Royal Air Force, retired footballer Marcus Gayle formerly of Wimbledon, actor and broadcaster Judith Jacob, Dr Neville Lawrence and Dr Angela Herbert of the Violent Crime Prevention Board as well as senior leaders from various UK police forces.

Chief Inspector Annmarie Cowley, from Central South Basic Command Unit, said: “KickOff@3 is a fantastic initiative, bringing young people, the wider community and the police together, breaking down barriers and celebrating young people and their achievements. It is changing the narrative around the challenges our young people are facing within our communities and giving them opportunities to showcase their talents, especially in sport.

“Raising money for local charities has been an integral part of the Kickoff@3 ethos, which culminates in supporting the ACLT charity at the final. The Kickoff@3 initiative is an amazing, empowering engagement opportunity, which I am honoured and humbled to be part of."

HISTORY

The KickOff@3 Daniel De-Gale Football Tournament is named after a vibrant young man who was the first black person in the UK to receive a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. This transplant enabled Daniel De-Gale to live happily whilst blood cancer-free for several years.

Sadly, Daniel passed away at 21. His parents, Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis, founded the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to raise awareness and educate communities on the lack of donors (stem cell, blood or organ) for African and Caribbean people. They will present the winners’ cup in honour of their son at the final.

JOINING FORCES

For the past five months, officers working on boroughs across the Met and other forces assisted in facilitating the formation of local teams to take part in this programme.

This year, there were more than 1,000 youngsters taking part in KickOff@3's football tournaments, which were held in London and across the UK.

PC Michael Wallace, a youth engagement officer in Southwark and Lambeth, said: "This project is about the community and the police coming together as one, while working hand in hand to make those key differences. This has helped empower our Kickoff@3 initiative and embed our ethos of #WeBelieve. We’re delighted we are holding this specific event as this is key to bringing families together in a safe and fun environment while supporting our young people.”

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