Everton In The Community's Capital Gain
Volunteers win big at Kickz awards in London.
Edgar Davids was the very special guest at the eighth annual Kickz awards at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday 2 April – with two Everton in the Community volunteers handed prizes.
Jordan Knowles and Andy Whittaker received the Inspiring Young Person and Volunteer of the Year Awards respectively.
After earlier seeing Choices Co-ordinator and Community Sports Coach, Paul West, narrowly miss out on the Inspiring Male Award, the young volunteers – who were nominated by Everton in the Community coaches – ensured the charity’s impressive streak of collecting accolades continued.
Now in its eighth year, Kickz has 46 professional clubs taking part in the initiative, collectively reaching out to over 60,000 young people from all walks of life each year.
Speaking to evertonfc.com, former Dutch international and current Barnet Head Coach Davids, whose playing staff includes Kickz graduate Mauro Vilhete, gave the initiative a ringing endorsement and stressed the importance of football and the influence it has on local communities.
“Kickz is massive in helping communities,” said the former Barcelona and Ajax star. “It is vital in developing local people, using football and other sports as a way of protecting talent, as well as putting young people on the right track in life.”
Born in Norris Green – an area of Liverpool heavily associated with crime and anti-social behaviour – Jordan attended the Everton Kickz sessions from the start and coaches quickly realised the young man had talent and aspirations of building a life away from gang culture. An individual who understands that through his footballing ability he can make a difference and be a positive role model, the Inspiring Young Person recipient admitted that, whilst honoured at being recognised for his contributions, he was somewhat star-struck by the man who made the presentation.
“I was very proud to receive the award and for it to be presented to me by Edgar Davids was a real added bonus,” said Jordan.
“I don’t fully remember him in his heyday, but you could tell when his name was mentioned what a legend of the game he really is.”
Volunteer Award winner Andy has been a Stockbridge Village Kickz participant for the past three years. A passionate Evertonian, he was quickly recognised as a good leader with the ability to listen.
Working alongside Everton staff in setting up the leadership programme run jointly between Everton, Liverpool and Oldham Kickz, the 19-year-old was hugely effective and a positive role model when delivering 'Using Sport to Tackle Youth Crime' sessions, and has now officially signed up to Everton in the Community’s volunteer programme, which will see him commit to volunteer at Kickz sessions and other community programmes around Liverpool.
An individual who has given much to Everton in the Community, Andy was quick to point out what the Club’s official charity has done for him and said: “I am and will always be grateful to Everton in the Community, the opportunities it has given me in my life have been wonderful and being recognised for this award really is the icing on the cake for me.”
Everton in the Community's social Inclusion Manager, Paul Nagle, echoed the sentiments of the two winners and was full of admiration for the jubilant pair.
“I was very proud seeing the two of them up on stage and watching them progress as individuals is the real winning feeling,” added Paul.
“The loyalty and dedication shown by both of them is second to none. The awards are a totally deserved reward for all their hard work.”
For more information about the Kickz programme, call 0151 530 5253 or visit evertonfc.com/community .