Ipswich football event unites community
Around 150 teenagers came together for a football based community event in Ipswich that aimed to encourage positive engagement whilst breaking down barriers.
Suffolk [email protected] saw teenagers compete in a football tournament to win prizes and raise funds for local charity, YMCA Trinity Group at Whitton Sports and Community Centre with girls and boys and mixed teams taking part.
Approximately 140 people aged between 13 and 16 took part, supported by family, friends, school teachers and a range of individuals from public sector and community organisations. Participants came from a range of backgrounds, with one team consisting of individuals from five different nationalities - Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Turkish and British.
The tournament for 13 and 14 year olds was won by a team from Farlingaye High School, while the 15 and 16 year old event was won by the Young Ballers Football Club – a team was made up of pupils from various schools, including Claydon, Northgate, Copleston and Stoke High School.
Both teams will now represent Suffolk at the National [email protected] competition in London on Sunday 7 July. Family members, police and community partners will travel to London with the winning teams to support them at the finals.
One of the highlights was the ‘Circle of Silence’, part of the national [email protected] initiative. Before the event started all attendees linked arms and held a minute’s silence in memory of individuals nationally and locally who have lost their lives to knife or gun crime.
Among the other representatives who attended were Dr Angela Herbert MBE, Chair of the Violent Crime Prevention Board, Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley, Chief Executive Officer for Suffolk County Council Nicola Beech, and Laura Bird, an ex ITFC footballer and current an ambassador for ‘THRIVE’ that teaches people resources to overcome mental health issues .
Inspector Becky Kidd Stanton from Ipswich police’s Neighbourhood and Partnership Team said: "Everyone involved had a great day and it was fantastic opportunity to celebrate the potential of all young people and build their confidence and raise their aspirations. One of the highlights for me was Dr Herbert commenting very positively on the collective community support at the event, saying it should be the model for all tournaments moving forward. We now look forward to hosting a similar event again next year.”
Co- founder of Kick [email protected] Michael Wallace said: "As the co-founder of [email protected] I was humbled by the great success of our initiative, being delivered in Ipswich for the very first time. It was fantastic to support the empowering work of the YMCA Trinity charity, whilst witnessing young people attend our collaborative community event from a diversity of backgrounds.
"Since Ashley Levien and I co created our initiative nationally in 2017, we wish to leave a legacy in our work. I believe we have certainly achieved that in Ipswich, after receiving positive feedback from the community. We look forward to returning in 2020.”
Fiona Radnor, YMCA Trinity Group Programme Manager for the Eastern Region, said: "The event was a great success! Not only was it lots of fun, it raised vital funds for YMCA Trinity Group, which will be used to help fund our youth services currently delivered in Ipswich. We are extremely grateful to [email protected] for all their support.”
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "This was a truly fantastic occasion. To see so many youngsters enjoying themselves during the tournament was a real pleasure and I was delighted to attend and financially support the event.
"I’ve always believed sport can be used to help young people make the right choices in life whatever the circumstances and this occasion was no exception.
"The fact that so many people and organisations were involved shows what can be achieved by working together – in spite of the gale force wind and rain!
"The circle of silence was a poignant moment when we were all able to reflect on the devastating consequences knife crime has in society.”
The event also raised awareness for YMCA Trinity Group, a charity which delivers valuable community work for young people across the east of England and that delivers youth services for 9 to 18 year olds in Ipswich, including housing, health, employability programmes, volunteering and much more.
More details about the supported charity YMCA Trinity Group can be found at: www.ymcatrinitygroup.org.uk
The full list of lead partners who organised the event were: Suffolk Constabulary; [email protected]; Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk; YMCA Trinity Group; Co-op Secure Response; Catch 22 Suffolk Positive Futures; Ipswich Borough Council; Suffolk County Council; Suffolk Football Association; Royal Air Force
Farlingaye FC team winners: Jack Bye, Harvey Zefi, Arthur Noble, Jonathan Shannon, Finn Bell, Josh Moore, Regan King The 7 play together as part of the school team and Woodbridge FC
"The team was delighted to have won the tournament, having only found out the afternoon before and getting 7 players together at short notice. We are all so excited to go to London and represent Farlingaye FC”.
Young Ballers came from a mixture of players from various teams, including Woodbridge, Ipswich Valley Rangers, Stowmarket, Claydon, Needham Market, Newmarket and Whitton United.
Some of the organisations and entertainment on the day included:
Ipswich Boxing Club
Music provided by Unit 17 nightclub DJs
Ball Launcher activity
University of Suffolk
National Citizen’s Service
One Life Suffolk
Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care
Co-op Secure Response
Emmanuel Asumadu – British Army Personal Development multi-award winner and now also a champion for the Violent Crime Prevention Board in London