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02 February 2024

Verbruggen and Stefanovic star as Foundation feature in MOTD

Verbruggen and Stefanovic star as Foundation feature in MOTD

Albion players Bart Verbruggen and Dejana Stefanovic both starred in a Match of the Day feature about our Premier League Kicks session in Whitehawk.

As they have in recent seasons, Match of the Day once again wanted to highlight the life-changing work of the BHAFC Foundation; this time focusing on the Premier League Kicks programme, and how we work with Sussex Police to support young people.

Through PL Kicks, we are able to provide free weekly football sessions and mentorship for hundreds of children all over Sussex, many of them living in some of the county’s most deprived communities.

The MOTD cameras came to our PL Kicks session at the Manor in Whitehawk, where Bart and Dejana met young players and learned more about the programme.

The youngsters enjoyed an activity-filled afternoon; they got to take part in small-sided games as well as fun activities like football-volleyball, a hardest shot competition, and a penalty shootout.

Martin Schooley, Inclusion Lead at the Foundation, was grateful to the players for coming to visit.

“The kids all had a great time today and they loved meeting Dejana and Bart,” Martin said.

Dejana Stefanovic crouches to talk to two youngsters in BHAFC bibs.

“Premier League Kicks is a really amazing programme, which gives high-quality coaching and organised football sessions to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

“It helps young people learn new skills, make friends, become leaders, and gives them something positive to look forward to every week. It can be a real lifeline for some of the families we work with.

“So I’m really glad that Match of the Day are raising awareness of such a great initiative that the Premier League run.”

After their football session, the kids were taken inside to the hall at the Manor for some workshops ran by Sussex Police officers.

Chief Inspector Simon Yates, Force Lead at Sussex Police’s Serious Violence and Knife Crime unit, regularly visits PL Kicks sessions as a way of reaching the local community and breaking down barriers between young people and the police.

Simon brought VR headsets which show the children a short immersive film about the impact knife crime can have on someone’s life, which another officer talked with the youngsters about how best to stay out of trouble.

“Working with the police really adds a lot to the PL Kicks programme,” Martin Schooley said.

“It shows the kids that the police are on their side, that they’re just ordinary people like them. Simon and his team are great at working with the children, and I think they have a big impact on them.”

Find out more about Premier League Kicks.


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