Match staged in memory of Susan

Susan Gowland

Susan Gowland

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)

A SCHEME to tackle anti-social behaviour has celebrated its second birthday with a football match in memory of one of its founders.

The Kicks project, which is run by Sunderland AFC’s official charity, the Foundation of Light, and Derwentside Homes, offers young people aged 13 to 19 the chance to take part in a range of free football-based activities at outreach centres in Consett and Stanley

Since its launch in 2012, the project has helped more than 2,000 teenagers there has been a 72 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour in and around Consett town centre. 

To mark the occasion, participants from the Derwentside Kicks programme have taken part in a special football match against members of a similar scheme in Manchester.

The game was played today at Consett AFC’s home ground, with the home team coming off second best.

It also served as a tribute to former Derwentside Homes employee and Manchester United fan Susan Gowland, who was instrumental in setting up the programme but lost her battle with cancer in 2013.

The winning team received a special commemorative trophy presented by Susan’s husband, Graham. 

Derwentside Homes’ chief executive Geraldine Kay said: “In the last two years the Kicks programme has gone from strength to strength and this game was the ideal way to honour that and pay tribute to Susan who is sadly missed.”

The Derwentside scheme is one of several being run across the North East by the Foundation of Light, which offers a range of sport and education-based programmes benefiting more than 42,000 young people and families every year.

Mark Pae, head of Outreach North Durham for the Foundation of Light said: “We’re extremely proud of what has been achieved so far and look forward to similar successes in the months and years ahead.”

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